Madeline in the Children’s Library
Gift of Sally Strachan, May 2023
Longtime Athenæum member Sally Strachan purchased this Madeline doll in 2002 while visiting her family in Charleston, South Carolina. As a child, Sally grew up disliking her red hair and developed a fondness for the red-headed character of Madeline and the charming stories by Ludwig Bemelmans. She brought Madeline back to Providence to live in the front window of her distinctive lightning-splitter house at 27 Halsey Street.
Over the years, Madeline acquired an extensive wardrobe and was dressed accordingly by season: a swimsuit in the summer, a white faux-fur jacket in the winter, and a witch’s costume at Halloween. It became a tradition for young children to stop by the house to visit Madeline at Halloween, sign her guestbook, and leave with treats.
When Sally moved away from Providence in spring of 2023, it was her wish that Madeline would remain in the neighborhood. She knew the perfect home would be in the Sayles Gorham Children’s Library at the Providence Athenæum, where new and old friends can visit Madeline for years to come.
Madeline will be on view throughout the year, where you will find her appropriately attired for each season.