Mary C. C. Dorris, a founder and early leader of the Ladies' Hermitage Association, was born in Nashville on January 28, 1850, to Emily Donelson Martin and George Washington Currey. She graduated from Ward Seminary in 1867 and three years later married Duncan Robertson Dorris, city editor of the Nashville American.
At the request of Colonel Andrew and Amy Jackson, Dorris assumed much of the responsibility for the creation of the Ladies' Hermitage Association. In 1887 Dorris launched a letter-writing campaign to the Nashville American, enlisted the support of legislators, and organized charter members of the association. On February 19, 1889, the legislature chartered the Ladies' Hermitage Association and conveyed the mansion, twenty-five acres of land, and the tombs of President Andrew and Rachel Jackson to the association.
Dorris served as association secretary from 1889 to 1904 and 1909 to 1924; she was regent from 1905 to 1909. During her term President Theodore Roosevelt visited the Hermitage, and the association acquired the Jackson portrait known as the Healy portrait. In 1915 Dorris outlined her experiences with early preservation efforts at the site in Preservation of the Hermitage. Dorris served the association until her death on April 18, 1924.
In addition to her work with the association, Dorris was a founder of the Hero of New Orleans Chapter of the Daughters of 1812 and state regent of the Daughters of 1812. She founded the Cumberland Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, and was regent of the chapter.