As the headquarters of the Society of the Cincinnati for more than seventy years, Anderson House has forged its own place in the life of the institution. On May 16, 1938—155 years after the Society's founding and a year after Larz Anderson's death—Isabel Anderson formally donated Anderson House and much of its furnishings to the Society. The deed of gift recorded the initial purpose of the gift of Anderson House "as the National Headquarters of the Society of the Cincinnati, or as a public museum." The house became both for the Society, and opened to the public for the first time as a museum in December 1939. The Society's research library followed in 1973, established on the lower level of the building.
Even before the gift, the Society had a prominent place at Anderson House in its architecture and decorations. As Larz Anderson wrote in 1932: "I felt that our house might be an especially suitable place for a gathering of the Cincinnati (of which I am so proud to be a member) because there had been introduced into its architecture so many features that commemorated the famous Society." The Society's Eagle insignia appears in the stone pediment at the top of the building's façade, in the murals in the Choir Stall Room and Great Stair Hall, and in the center of the Ballroom ceiling. And the Society's founding and citizen-soldier ideal are celebrated in the murals in the Key Room, which Larz Anderson named the "Apotheosis of the Spirit of the Cincinnati." Read More<
After lending the house to the U.S. Navy during World War II, the Society settled in to its headquarters building, which began to witness significant events in the Society's modern history. The Society held its first general meeting at Anderson House in 1947 and has gathered at the mansion for its biannual meetings in the years since. In 1952, the great British statesman Sir Winston Churchill received his Society Eagle as a hereditary member with an address at Anderson House attended by Vice President Alben Barkley and Chief Justice Frederick Moore Vinson, among other American and British officials and members of the Society of the Cincinnati. Thirty years later, President Ronald Reagan accepted his honorary membership in the Society while standing in the same spot in the Anderson House Ballroom. Read Less<