Mary Lockwood was born in Hanover, Chautauqua County, New York, on October 24, 1831. She moved to Washington, DC, in about 1878. Mrs. Lockwood’s residence was Washington’s elegant and imposing Strathmore Arms, and it was there on October 11, 1890, the formal organization of the NSDAR took place.
Mrs. Lockwood was the NSDAR’s first historian and the Society, inspired by Mrs. Lockwood’s commitment to historic preservation, resolved on October 18, 1890, to “provide a place for the collection of historical relics which will accumulate…and for historical portraits, pictures, etc. This may first be in rooms, and later in the erection of a fire-proof building.” She held many other national offices as well and served as editor of the DAR Magazine from 1894 to 1900.
Mrs. Lockwood was also a prolific author and wrote many noteworthy books. Her last book, The Historic Homes of Washington, was dedicated to her older brother to whom she became close after her mother’s death when Mrs. Lockwood was only four years old. She was an avid promoter of the work of women’s clubs and was both the founder of the famous Travel Club and for a time president of the Women’s Press Club. She also held the position of Lady Manager at Large at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893.
An acquaintance noted that “she is friendly to all progressive movements, especially so in the progress of women.” Mary Lockwood died in Plymouth, Massachusetts, on November 9, 1922, and is buried in Rock Creek Cemetery in Washington, DC. She is not only the last surviving Founder but also the only Founder buried in Washington.
For more information about the Founders, visit the Four Founders Online Exhibition.