The Frederick Lee Lectures

Now in their thirteenth year, the Frederick Lee Lectures are a three-part series of history presentations that attract hundreds of lifetime learners each year. Recent themes have focused on the summer community in Madison, our historic homes and farms, shipbuilding, important women figures, and local stories of war, crime, and punishment. This year the lectures will focus on immigrant stories and the notion of becoming American.

The Society is humbled by the support the Lectures receive from the community. The Madison Foundation and Connecticut Humanities have provided generous financial support. We also thank the Town of Madison for its longtime provision of Memorial Town Hall and the First Congregational Church for Hubley Hall, the new home of the lectures. The MHS remains grateful to be part of a town that values history and supports local civic organizations.

2020 Lectures

Madison’s Immigrants: Stories of Becoming American

Duo Dickinson Madison architect and author

January 12 (snow date January 19) 
4 pm
The Riveting Tale of the Protestant Outcasts Who Settled New England and Built Strong Communities of Faith, Industry, and Innovation
Presenter: Duo Dickinson, local architect and author, opens the series with a presentation on religion and the founding of the American Republic.  With characteristic wit and scholarship, Dickinson asserts that New England was settled by “radical rejectionists and hard zealots.” His talk will focus on the Puritans who fled Europe seeking religious freedom and founded communities centered around the meetinghouse and the village green. He will conclude with the establishment of Madison’s First Congregational Church, its place of prominence on the town green, and its major architectural elements. This talk will reveal the intensity of the brutal confrontation between the Old World and the world on these shores.

February 9 (snow date February 16)
4 pm
Migration of Germans to Madison
Presenter: Fred Raudat
Madison native, professor, and history enthusiast Fred Raudat will chronicle the nineteenth- and early twentieth-century migration of Germans to Madison when the Lectures continue in February. As a German-American with deep roots in Madison, Raudat will explore how these immigrants assimilated into their adopted community while preserving their cultural heritage through the establishment of the Lutheran church, social clubs, and strong ethnic neighborhoods. Comprising the largest immigrant group to reach America’s shores, the Germans in America became known as the “silent majority.” Raudat’s presentation will feature photos and artifacts documenting the lives and contributions of Madison’s first non-English-speaking immigrant group.

March 8 (snow date March 15) 
4 pm
Immigrant Merchants at the Turn of the Century
Presenter: Roxanne Coady
Roxanne Coady, owner of R. J. Julia Booksellers, will deliver the final lecture. Her presentation will focus on the immigrant merchants who owned and operated thriving Main Street businessesfrom the Monroe Building, anchored now by Walker Loden, to the sycamore tree beneath which the Schmeddlings ran a successful bakery for several years. Coady will bring to life the personal stories of the British, Czech, German, Irish, Italian, and Russian men and women who embraced Yankee principles of thrift and ingenuity and built successful lives in Madison.

Important Visitor Information

Admission Fee: $5 adults; $4 MHS members; $2 students and children ages 10 and older
Location: Hubley Hall at the Franklin A. Bower Church House  
The First Congregational Church of Madison
On the historic Madison Green (26 Meetinghouse Lane)

All programs are recommended for adults and children 10 and older.

Note: In the event of inclement weather, each program will be delayed until the immediately following Sunday. 

For more information, call 203.245.4567

 

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