The Society of the Cincinnati is a charitable corporation organized under the laws of the District of Columbia to promote popular understanding and appreciation of the American Revolution and its legacy. The corporation is governed by a board of directors with thirty-five members—six officers and twenty-nine directors. Between meetings of the board of directors, the corporation is governed by an executive committee, consisting of the six officers, executive director, and solicitor. The officers serve for three-year terms. The directors serve until replaced. The executive director and solicitor are appointed officials. The Society of the Cincinnati, Inc., is governed under bylaws adopted by its board of directors. The Society of the Cincinnati was incorporated in 1937 and was granted exemption from taxation by a special act of the U.S. Congress. The corporation is a 501(c)(3) charity. All donations to the Society of the Cincinnati, Inc., are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.
The Society of the Cincinnati was founded in 1783 by retiring officers of the Continental Army who subscribed to the Institution of the Society of the Cincinnati. Having secured the independence of the United States in a war lasting more than eight years, they created the Society of the Cincinnati to perpetuate the memory of the American Revolution and the accomplishments of the Revolutionary generation. The founders elected George Washington, the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army, as the first president general of the Society of the Cincinnati. Until the twentieth century, the Society of the Cincinnati was governed by its six officers, with major governing decisions approved by general meetings of the Society held every three years. To make major governing decisions between these Triennial meetings, the Society established a twenty-eight-member standing committee, to meet twice each year, in 1890. Triennial meetings and meetings of the standing committee, largely ceremonial in nature, link the modern Society of the Cincinnati to its historical origins. The Society is the oldest private patriotic organization in the United States.
The American Revolution Institute of the Society of the Cincinnati, Inc., is a division of the Society of the Cincinnati, Inc., authorized and governed by the board of directors in 2012 and launched in 2014. The American Revolution Institute carries out the work of perpetuating the memory of the American Revolution in the twenty-first century, presenting historical programs and publications, supporting advanced research, and preserving artifacts, art, manuscripts, and printed materials vital to understanding the constructive achievements of the Revolutionary generation. This educational work is overseen by a board of governors with as many as fifteen members—patriotic men and women who serve terms of three to six years. The board of governors advises the board of directors on the governance of the American Revolution Institute and the executive director on the management of the American Revolution Institute and its programs. Donations to the American Revolution Institute of the Society of the Cincinnati, Inc., are dedicated to its mission and are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.
The officers of the Society of the Cincinnati, in order of seniority, are the president general, vice president general, secretary general, treasurer general, assistant secretary general, and assistant treasurer general. These traditional titles have been in use since 1783, when George Washington was elected the first president general of the Society. Since 1937 these officers have held corresponding positions in the governance of the corporation.
Frank Keech Turner, Jr., of Baltimore, Maryland, has served as the fortieth president general since 2022. As president general, he is president of the corporation. In that capacity he presides over the executive committee and serves as chairman of the board of directors. He appoints committee chairmen and vice chairmen, committee members, and a variety of officials, including the corporate solicitor and counselors, and coordinates the management of the Society’s affairs with the executive director. Mr. Turner served as vice president general from 2019 to 2022, treasurer general from 2016 to 2019, and assistant treasurer general from 2013 to 2016.
Vice President General
Joel Thomas Daves IV of Mobile, Alabama, has served as vice president general since 2022. In that capacity he is vice president of the corporation and presides over the executive committee and board of directors in the absence of the president. The vice president is an ex officio member of the board of governors of the American Revolution Institute of the Society of the Cincinnati, Inc. Mr. Daves served as secretary general from 2019 to 2022 and assistant secretary general from 2016 to 2019.
Francis Ellerbe Grimball, of Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, has served as secretary general since 2022. As secretary general, he has responsibility for the Society’s correspondence and records and organizes meetings on behalf of the president general. Mr. Grimball served as treasurer general from 2019 to 2022. Prior to that he served as chairman of the Building and Grounds Committee and chairman of the Development Committee.
William Postell Raiford, Ph.D., of Hockessin, Delaware, has served as treasurer general since 2022. As treasurer general, he is the chief financial official of the corporation, has responsibility for the security and management of the funds of the Society, and oversees receipts and expenditures, accounting, investment, and development activities. Dr. Raiford served as assistant secretary general from 2019 to 2022. He previously served as chairman of the Building and Grounds Committee from 2016 to 2019.
Assistant Secretary General
Cordell Lee Bragg III, M.D., of Thomasville, Georgia, has served as assistant secretary general since 2022. In that capacity he serves as editor-in-chief of the Society’s twice-yearly journal, Cincinnati Fourteen, and works with the secretary general and the executive director to coordinate the Society’s print and electronic communications. Dr. Bragg previously served as chairman of the Education Committee from 2019 to 2022 and chairman of the History Committee from 2016 to 2019.
Assistant Treasurer General
John McConville Shannon of Wadmalaw Island, South Carolina, has served as assistant treasurer general since 2022. In that capacity he serves as co-chairman of the Annual Giving Committee and as chairman of the Pensions and Benefits Committee. Mr. Shannon also currently serves as president of the Society of the Cincinnati in the State of New Jersey.
The directors of the Society of the Cincinnati, Inc., meet as the board of directors of the corporation. Directors of the corporation serve simultaneously as members and alternate members of the standing committee of the Society of the Cincinnati, the historic governing body, now chiefly ceremonial, created in 1890.
Francis Gorham Brigham III, Newtonville, Massachusetts
Richard Fairlie Brinkley, Dunedin, Florida
Jean-François, comte de Caffarelli, Paris, France
William Pfingst Carrell II, Louisville, Kentucky
Loÿs, marquis de Colbert Cannet, Neuilly-sur-Seine, France
Thomas Edward Crocker, Jr., Washington, D.C.
Robert Campbell Farmer, Richmond, Virginia
Edward Paul Gibson, Charleston, South Carolina
Douglas Sinclair Hamilton, Westerville, Ohio
Thomas Heyward Motte Hamilton, Charleston, South Carolina
John Christopher Harvey, New York, New York
Stephen Benjamin Jeffries, Boston, Massachusetts
Bryan Scott Johnson, Greenville, South Carolina
David Peter Kollock, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania
Frank Mauran IV, Providence, Rhode Island
Herbert Jaques Motley, Jr., Boston, Massachusetts
Christopher Mark Nichols, Prospect, Connecticut
Ferdinand Henry Onnen III, Washington, D.C.
James Keith Peoples, Washington, D.C.
Michael Paul Pillsbury, Ph.D., Washington, D.C.
Richard Renz Raiford, Haymarket, Virginia
Walter Gurnee Dyer Reed, Newport, Rhode Island
Kenneth Duane Roach, Windsor, Connecticut
William Lowe Sheftall III, Thomasville, Georgia
Gregory J. Sproat, Jeffersonville, Pennsylvania
John Mark Stephenson, Albany, Georgia
Mark Crosby Ward, Devon, Pennsylvania
Mark Calhoun Williams, Bethesda, Maryland
Other Key Officials
William Polk Skinner of Washington, D.C., has served as solicitor to the Society of the Cincinnati since 2010. In that capacity he is the senior legal counsel to the corporation and advises the executive director, executive committee, and board of directors on legal matters. The solicitor is a non-voting member of the executive committee.
F. Anderson Morse, of Arlington, Virginia, has served as executive director since 2022. In that capacity he directs the work of the corporation, including the American Revolution Institute of the Society of the Cincinnati, Inc. He proposes the annual budget to the board of directors, manages the staff, and is responsible to the president general, executive committee, and board of directors for the conduct of the Society’s programs. The executive director is a non-voting member of the executive committee.