Clarissa Munger Badger: Artist & Poet

Springtime, with the trees and gardens blossoming all around us, is a perfect time to remember Clarissa Munger Badger (1806-1889), the Madison artist and poet who excelled in the 19th-century world of botanical illustration. From 1859 to 1867, Clarissa’s watercolor folios, along with her original poetry, were published as color

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Ivory

Some of us will remember the scene in the 1967 film The Graduate where Dustin Hoffman’s character is taken aside while pondering his future career after graduation. He was cryptically advised to consider “one word — plastics.” One hundred years earlier, he might have received similar advice: “Ivory.” Traded for

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Swords and Sabers

The Madison Historical Society has an impressive collection of swords and sabers once proudly owned by Madison men from the 1770s to the late 1800s. They are still shiny, and some have embossed or inlaid designs on their blades. As military weapons, they illustrate the skill and artistry of their

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Summer Theater Debuts in Madison

Before texting, cellphones, television, and commercial radio nibbled into our leisure time, two young Madison women shared a dream: to start a summer theater, one of the first in New England. Combining their aspirations, they created the “Woodland Garden Plays.” A wooded path behind the Wilcox home on Island Avenue

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Detail of pewter whale oil lamp

Lighting Madison

Thomas Edison is rightfully saluted as a creative genius who brought electric lights and other modern wonders to the world. But a look through the Madison Historical Society’s examples of early lighting devices (beyond candles) is proof that ingenuity was plentiful, long before Edison invented the incandescent light bulb. The

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