Part of the American History & Genealogy Project

Mrs. Donald McLean


"Mrs. Donald McLean, member and vice-president of the New York State Commission to the Jamestown Exposition, and president-general of the Daughters of the American Revolution, was born in Prospect Hall, Frederick, Maryland; and is the daughter of Judge and Mrs. John Ritchie. Her father was judge of the Court of Appeals of Maryland, and served in the National Congress before his elevation to the bench.

"Mrs. McLean's grandfather was Judge William P. Maulsby, and her grandmother, Emily Nelson (for whom Mrs. McLean is named), was the daughter of General Roger Nelson, who was at college, a boy of sixteen, when the Declaration of Independence was signed. He ran away from the university and joined the Revolutionary forces. He was commissioned lieutenant, and afterwards brevetted brigadier-general for conspicuous bravery on the field of battle. Later in life he served in the National Congress, and afterwards was placed upon the bench of his native state.

"Further back in Mrs. McLean's ancestry were Judges Lynn and Beattie, two of the twelve judges known as 'The Twelve Immortals,' who first signed a protest against the British Stamp Act, eleven years before the first battle of the Revolution. Lieutenant James Lackland was also an ancestor, as was one of the earlier deputy governors of Maryland, Governor Burgess.

"Mrs. McLean was educated at the Frederick Female Seminary, now known as the Woman's College. She graduated at the age of fourteen, receiving a diploma. She continued the study of history, the languages, and music until her marriage and, indeed, has pursued the former ever since. In 1883 she married Mr. Donald McLean, a lawyer of standing in New York, who has had various distinctions in office conferred upon him by the President of the United States and the Mayor of the City of New York. Mrs. McLean is the mother of three children.

"From the time of her marriage and removal from Maryland to New York, Mrs. McLean has been interested in social, professional and educational circles of that city. On learning of the formation of the Daughters of the American Revolution, her interest was immediately aroused, and she became a charter member of the society, and also of the New York City Chapter of that organization, being elected to its regency. A scholar-ship in perpetuity has been founded in Barnard College by the New York City Chapter, and named the *Mrs. Donald McLean Scholarship.' Mrs. McLean held the office of regent for ten years, until her election, in April, 1905, to the presidency-general of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

"The president-general has served as an active commissioner from New York to the Cotton States International Exposition, in 1895, and as an honorary commissioner to the South Carolina Exposition. She made public addresses at both above-named expositions; also at the Tennessee Exposition, and at the Pan-American Exposition, in 1901, at Buffalo, and at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, in 1903-04, at St. Louis, representing the varied interests of women, education, and the Daughters of the American Revolution. Mrs. McLean was an active commissioner and vice-president of the commission from New York to the Jamestown Exposition. In the president-general's administration a memorial building has been erected by the D. A. R. on Jamestown Island in Virginia, which building is a replica of the old Malvern Hall, and will remain as a permanent "rest house," upon the island.

"Mrs. McLean has traveled several hundred thousand miles throughout the states, visiting innumerable cities and towns, making addresses upon patriotic subjects, not only in furthering the work of the Daughters of the American Revolution, but in participation in civic and national patriotic celebrations. She is deeply interested in the work of patriotic education, both for immigrants and Southern mountaineers, as well as in keeping alive a patriotic spirit in all classes of American citizens, and is widely and internationally known as a speaker in patriotic and educational gatherings, and in her interest in the movement for peace by arbitration.''

The foregoing sketch of Mrs. Donald McLean was taken from the report of the Jamestown Exposition Commission of the state of New York. Mrs. McLean was the only woman upon that distinguished commission, and this report gives indubitable evidence of the high esteem in which she was held by the commission, and their appreciation of her keen perceptions, rare intelligence, sound judgment, and wonderful executive ability.

It has been the editor's valued privilege to have known Mrs. McLean since the beginning of the twentieth century, and she takes pleasure in adding that among the thousands of gifted women she has met during these years Mrs. McLean is second to none in largeness of heart, brilliancy of mind, quickness of perception, eloquence of speech, marvelous executive ability, genial disposition, sturdiness of purpose, and charming personality. As president-general of the Daughters of the American Revolution she lifted the society out of the chaos into which contentious rivals had dragged it, and placed it in the line of progression and achievement. She made the dream of Continental Hall a possible reality by her skillful financial management No other woman has received greater honors or worn them more gracefully than has Mrs. Donald McLean, who is among the most faithful of wives, tenderest of mothers, loyal of daughters, truest of patriots, most generous and loyal of friends.

Women of America

Source: The Part Taken by Women in American History, By Mrs. John A. Logan, Published by The Perry-Nalle Publishing Company, Wilmington, Delaware, 1912.


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