Dear Clan Family,
Here are a few thoughts
regarding the announcement that I was named as one of the recipients of
the 2012 Wallace Award of The American-Scottish Foundation. First, let
me congratulate the two other recipients: Sir Ian Wood of Aberdeen,
Scotland; and Alan Bain, President Emeritus of The American-Scottish
Foundation. The awards will be presented at a Gala Dinner on November
9th at the University Club in New York City. I cannot be present, and am
most appreciative that Robert McWilliam of Milwaukee, a trustee of the
Clan Donald Foundation, will accept the award on my behalf.
It was quite a surprise,
of course, and prompted me to think about my early involvement with
“Matters Scottish.” In retrospect, I realize it all began with Clan
Donald. Many of our readers will remember the late William Naylor
MacDonald IE of Pelham New York, better known as Bill MacDonald, editor
of The Pibroch, the official publication of the St. Andrew's Society of
the State of New York.
When I made the
acquaintance of Bill, I was a broadcaster on Radio Station WQXR of The
New York Times and happily employed in presenting a daily interview
program. One day I received a phone call from a “Mr. McDonald,” inviting
me to lunch, explaining that he was in public relations and thought I
would like to interview one of his clients. At our luncheon, Bill spent
about 10 minutes telling me about his interesting client and the rest of
the hour was devoted to Clan Donald and other Scottish interests.
I was polite but had
absolutely no interest in all his “Scots” talk. Little did I realize my
fate was sealed, perhaps for life. The next step was Bill's suggestion
that I might volunteer to assist Lady Malcolm Douglas-Hamilton,
President of The American-Scottish Foundation in her various projects
relating to Scotland. This turned out to be a very pleasant experience,
and certainly one in which I learned a great deal about Scotland and
I notice in my personal
file a press release that I prepared for Lady Hamilton. It is dated
November 6, 1974, and announces that the Fourth Annual Scottish Ball
will be held at the Hotel Plaza in New York City, and a highlight of the
event would be the attendance of prominent guests, two of which were
Lord MacDonald, High Chief of Clan Donald, and Lady Claire MacDonald.
Need I say more? I was thrilled to meet the Chief of our Clan and have
the opportunity to become better acquainted in the years that followed.
It should be mentioned
here that Lady Hamilton had planned to invite her distinguished guests
to stay in New York for the day of the ball, and I reminded her this was
quite a strain and it would be better to have them as guests for the
entire week. She readily agreed and the publicity that followed carried
the heading: Scotland Week - November 10-17, 1974, Little did we realize
that history was being made.
But this was just my
first encounter with the World of Scots. Nestor MacDonald was a trustee
of The American-Scottish Foundation and, having noticed that I was of
some 19 assistance to Lady Hamilton, suggested that I might take a
salaried position with Scottish Heritage, Inc. (now known as Scottish
Heritage USA). This turned out to be a marvelous experience and I made
many new friends in the Scottish community and attended my first
When Scottish Heritage,
USA decided to move its office from New York City to North Carolina, it
was not possible for me to leave the city. However, in the meantime, the
late Lord Bute, a trustee of Scottish Heritage, had recommended that one
of SHUSA's projects, the support of Scottish Opera in Glasgow, should
have its own organization. This became the American Friends of Scottish
Opera. At one time I was president of the organization and continue
today as a trustee of The Caledonian Foundation USA, which is the major
supporter of Scottish Opera in the United States.
It was at about this time
that I became acquainted with Ellice McDonald, who arranged for numerous
Scottish organizations to receive financial support under the guidance
of John Milner, whose friends in the Scottish community are beyond
counting. His wisdom and guidance have been a major contributor to the
success of many organizations.
I will be forever in debt
to Clan Donald for introducing me to the World of Scots and the many
volunteers who treasure our heritage and traditions and reach out to one
With best wishes to all,
Miss Duncan MacDonald
The Caledonian Foundation USA, Inc. September 2012
Miss Duncan MacDonald
Executive Vice President and Treasurer
THE CALEDONIAN FOUNDATION USA, INC.
Miss MacDonald has an
important background in the communications field and in the area of
Daily interview program
on WQXR/The New York Times. (She was described by The New Yorker as "the
sibyl of WQXR")
Daily interview program
on WRKO/Boston and 36 New England stations..
Television producer and
director. DuMont TV and NBC-TV
Produced over 3000 hours
of programming, including camera director of tv's first soap opera, "A
Woman to Remember."
House Beautiful: Monthly
column, "Scene from Here." Communications liaison and exec. asst, to the
editor-in-chief Yankee magazine: Monthly column for 15 years as well as
annual food column for The Old Farmer's Almanac. Co-authored New England
cookbook with Almanac publisher Robb Sagendorph. "Rain, Hail & Baked
The Martha's Vineyard
Times (weekly newspaper): Features editor.
National Friends of
Public Broadcasting: Executive Director and founding trustee.
Administered 3-year grant
from Carnegie Corporation of New York.
President of New York
Chapter of American Women in Radio & TV, Inc.
Selected recordings and
writings are in the Duncan MacDonald Collection at the University of
Wyoming 20th Century Archives of American Journalism.
Miss MacDonald is a life
member of The Clan Donald Society USA; is a former officer of Scottish
Heritage USA; former board member of the American-Scottish Foundation..
She has served as president of The Caledonian Foundation USA and is now
Executive Vice President and Treasurer. Miss MacDonald is a Fellow of
the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, based in Edinburgh, and is a
Patron of The St. Andrew Pilgrim Foundation in Fife, Scotland. In 2001
she received from the Council of Scottish Clans & Associations (COSCA)
the Herbert and Ethel MacNeal Award for Distinguished Service. Miss
MacDonald was instrumental in the creation of Tartan Day as a national
day of observance and is the recipient of the National Tartan Day Award
for 2006, presented by The Scottish Coalition USA.
In New York City, Miss
MacDonald has served on the national boards of American Youth Hostels,
the National Council of Women, and was founder-president of the
Committee for the Americas. She has been recognized by the Organization
of American States (OAS) with a Citation from the Secretary General..
She was presented an award by Danny Kaye on behalf of UNICEF.
On Martha's Vineyard,
where she now resides, she has served on the board of the Scottish
Society of Martha's Vineyard, of which she is a co-founder, also Sail
Martha's Vineyard, of which she is a founding trustee. She has also
served on the boards of the MY Literacy Group and the Vineyard
In Sarasota, Florida, she
is a member of the Florida branch of Broadcast Pioneers, the Sarasota
Opera Guild, the Caledonian Club of Florida West, and Scottish Heritage
may be found in "Who's Who in the Overseas Press Club," "Who's Who in
the East," and "Who's Who of American Women."
Miss Duncan MacDonald-PO
Box 1242-Martha's Vineyard-Edgartown MA 02539