Preserving History for Future Generations

Front and back covers of the centennial book Madison's Treasures.

For the first time in its hundred-year history, the Madison Historical Society offers a look at an important selection of its historical artifacts through the illustrated pages of Madison's Treasures. Unveiled at the Society’s centennial gala on October 19, 2017, this full-color, hardcover volume was imagined as a visual exploration of Madison’s history and a way of preserving that history for future generations.

Its pages illuminate through images the ways Madison’s citizens lived as the land between the East and Hammonasset Rivers transformed from its Native American beginnings through the arrival of European settlers and the development of farming and shipbuilding hubs, then onward to a holiday mecca, and finally to the diversified community of today.

Major Themes & Important Figures

Organized around major themes, Madison's Treasures transports the reader from the pre-contact artifacts of its “First Peoples” to a lively pictorial examination of the lives of our immigrant forebears in “Tools of the Trade” and “Inside the Home.” Further on are stunning examples of handicrafts in “Needles and Thread,” an intriguing selection of the MHS’s “Portraits of the Past,” and a charming stop at “From the Playroom” to see childhood toys of a bygone age. “From the Armory” explores Madison’s role in the wars and turbulence of the outside world through images of some of our military heroes and the implements of the soldier’s life. On a lighter note, two sections look at the clothes we wore in “All Dressed Up” and the ways we decorated ourselves in “All that Glitters.”

Accompanying the hundreds of photographs are explanatory captions and brief biographies of important figures in Madison’s history. Readers will learn the stories of philanthropist Daniel Hand; Captain Frederick Lee, the decorated military hero who established Madison’s first academy; financier Cornelius Bushnell of USS Monitor fame; renowned poet Grace Miner Lippincott; celebrated botanical artist Clarissa Munger Badger; and playwright Constance Wilcox Pignatelli, whose Garden Plays and its troupe of actors led to the nation’s first incarnations of summer stock theater.

Contributors & Collaborators

Originally proposed by MHS Vice President Doe Boyle, the book was developed entirely by board trustees Rick Camp, Bob Gundersen, Tricia Royston, Carol Snow, and Mark Edmiston, along with Boyle. Warner Lord, a former Madison town historian, contributed the book’s foreword. Historian Don Rankin contributed its section on Native American tools. Madison's Treasures ($29.99) can be purchased at RJ Julia's, Walker Loden, and the Madison Beach Hotel, among other locations--or directly from the MHS, both at Lee’s Academy and through the Buy Now link above.

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