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Miss Duncan MacDonald


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 Scottish-Americans.

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 Scottish Games.

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 another.

With best wishes to all,

Miss Duncan MacDonald Trustee
The Caledonian Foundation USA, Inc. September 2012

Miss Duncan MacDonald Executive Vice President and Treasurer

Brief Biography

Miss MacDonald has an important background in the communications field and in the area of Scottish-American relations.

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 Beans."

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 Conservation Society.

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 of Sarasota..

Additional information 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

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