Mary Surratt


John Wilkes Booth
Mary Surratt's signature John Wilkes Booth's signature

Purpose and Activities of the Surratt Society

Founded in 1975, the Surratt Society is a volunteer organization dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of historic Surratt House. The Society encourages on-going research into the role that this historic site played in the drama surrounding the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the way of life in mid-19th century Southern Maryland.

The activities in which the Society engages in order to achieve this purpose are many. Revenue from the Society’s popular John Wilkes Booth Escape Route Tours is contributed toward preserving the site. The history of the House and times is provided by volunteer docents who conduct tours and by exhibits, tours and field trips, and special events. (See the Calendar of Events for specific dates.) Scholarly exchanges and the latest news are published in the Surratt Courier. Historians and experts of the assassination, the era, and the Civil War address Society members at various gatherings. The Society maintains a research library of topical materials for the use of its members and historical researchers.

Membership and Dues

The nearly 1,500-member Surratt Society invites you to join! There are three types of memberships. General memberships are available for $10 dues per year ($5.00 for a second member residing at the same address). Docent and Hosts/Hostesses members are those persons who accept the responsibilities of being volunteer docents or hosts/hostesses. A one-time membership fee of $5 is levied. For those who wish to support the Society on a continuing basis, life memberships are available for a one-time contribution of $125 ($75 for a second member at the same address). All dues and donations are tax deductible. All members are entitled to vote and hold office in the Society.

To join the Society, download and send the attached Membership Application pdf icon to SURRATT HOUSE MUSEUM, 9118 Brandywine Road, Clinton MD 20735. Don’t hesitate to call for additional information: 301-868-1121.

Docents and Hosts/Hostesses

Croquet Game photo spacer Docents are costumed volunteers who give guided tours of the Surratt House Museum. Docents must be at least 18 years old and must acquire an authentic costume of the 1850-60s period (other docents and Society experts on 19th century clothing help with this task). Docents are trained in the art of giving tours, and in the history of the House and family, its furnishings and life in the Victorian era.

Hosts/Hostesses are volunteers who greet people at the Visitors’ center, sell tour tickets, manage gift shop sales, and provide information about the House and its history. Costumes are not required.

Volunteers are expected to serve at least once a month. Volunteers enjoy special appreciation functions, awards for hours worked, and a 15% discount at the gift shop. Volunteering is a wonderful way to learn more and to share your expertise. To volunteer, contact SURRATT HOUSE MUSEUM, 9118 Brandywine Road, Clinton MD 20735. The phone number is 301-868-1121.

Thomas S. Gwynn, Jr., Memorial History Award

The Thomas S. Gwynn, Jr., Memorial History Award is presented to a Prince George’s County Public School student who has achieved high academic standards in the study of history. The award was created to honor Mr. Gwynn., a lifelong resident of Prince George’s County, a teacher and administrator in the school system, and an assistant superintendent of schools for the county during the mid-1900s. Mr. Gwynn was also a founder of the Prince George’s Community College and the Chairman of The Committee for the Restoration of the Mary E. Surratt House, which saved the historic structure and worked with M-NCPPC to restore the facility as a historic house museum. The site opened to the public in 1976.

The recipient of the $250 cash award is selected by the Social Studies Department of the Prince George’s County Public Schools from nominations submitted by teachers in the Public School System. The 2012 winner of this award is Ms. Constance Flake, a senior at Bowie High School. Ms. Flake hopes to continue her studies in the field of Hawaiian and Asian Pacific History.

Congratulations to Ms. Constance Flake!

Michael E. Patten Memorial History Award

The 2012 Michael E. Patten Memorial History Award was awarded to co-winners Seth Henry and Mikal Walcott of Reservoir High School Howard County. This annual $500 cash award is given at the Maryland State National History Day ceremonies: $250 shared by the co-winners and $250 given to the school. The award is based on the best use of primary source materials in preparing the project. to a student who has the best use of prinary sources in preparing his/her project. The co-winners’ projectt was entitled At the Heart of the Haitian revolution: How Slaves Abolished a World Order.

This award (started in 2010) is presented annually by the Surratt Society through the generosity of Life Member Gene Thomas of Wisconsin, in remembrance of Michael Patten who was murdered in 2001. Michael was the son of Frank and Margery Patten, and the brother of Andrew Patten and Mary Patten Kauffman. Margery was the long-time museum’s administrative aide; Andy was the museum’s weekend manager for several years; and Mary is a former president of the Surratt Society.

Congratulations to Seth Henry and Mikal Walcott!

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