Madison, Charles Allan

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Charles Allan Madison (1895-1985) was a publishing executive and author of several books on labor, liberal and progressive leaders, publishing history and Jewish topics. Born in Kiev, he emigrated to the United States in 1906 and graduated from Harvard University in 1922. He first worked with the American Book Company (1922-1924) and then moved to Henry Holt and Company where he remained for the next 38 years.

From the guide to the Charles A. Madison Manuscripts, 1966-1968, (Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries)

Charles Allan Madison (1895-1985), was a publishing executive and author of several books on labor, liberal and progressive leaders, and on publishing history and Jewish topics. He was born April 16, l895, in Kiev, Russia, the son of David (a tailor) and Bessie (Burakovsky) Madison. He emigrated to the United States with his family in 1906 and settled in Detroit Michigan where they joined his sister who had arrived a year previous with her husband and his parents. Madison was educated in the Detroit public schools. He attended the University of Michigan by working his way through and received his BA degree in 1921. A year of graduate study at Harvard University earned him an MA in comparative literature in 1922. He then moved to New York City to begin his long career as an editor, first with American Book Company 1922-1924, and then with Henry Holt and Company. He remained with Holt for 38 years and retired in 1962. He married Edith Hellman, an artist on July 1, l924, and they had one child, a daughter Jepitha "Jeppy" (Mrs Leonard Yarensky).

Madison began writing verse at the age of eighteen and continued to write and publish even while working as an editor. He contributed many literary and historical essays, and book reviews to various publications on a regular basis: Poet Lore ; American Scholar ; The Nation ; Saturday Review ; Yale Review ; Chicago Jewish Forum and others. In 1934 he was invited to attend Yaddo a colony for writers and artists in Saratoga Springs, New York. It was possibly here he met and developed a lasting friendship with the authors James T. Farrell and Evelyn Scott.

His early interest was in Yiddish literature and he published several articles on the subject. But by the 1940's his interests turned to the liberal movement in America. His first book, Critics and Crusaders: A Century of American Protest (Henry Holt, 1947) received favorable notices. Portions or chapters of the book had actually been first published as historical articles in various journals. The format of the book was basically a series of 21 selected short biographies of abolitionists, utopians, anarchists, dissident economists, militant liberals, socialists and "intransigent New Dealers." This book was followed by two more works on similar subjects: American Labor Leaders (Harper, 1950), and Leaders and Liberals in 20th Century America (Ungar, 1961).

After his retirement in 1962 as editor at Holt Publishing, Madison wrote four books about the history of publishing and/or on Jewish topics. They were: Yiddish Literature (Ungar, 1968), Eminent American Jews (Ungar, 1971), Irving to Irving : Author-Publisher Relations (Bowker, 1974), and Jewish publishing in America : the impact of Jewish writing on American culture (Sanhedrin, 1976). He also wrote two autobiographical manuscripts. Madison died February 2nd, 1985 two months short of his 90th birthday.


1921: First article published in Poet Lore. 1922-24: First job: assistant editor with American Book Co.; published several articles on Judaic subjects in Poet Lore, The Nation, etc. 1924: Marries Edith Hellman, artist. Becomes editor at Henry Holt Publishing. Important advancement. 1933: Invited to attend Yaddo in summer. Meets James T. Farrell and Evelyn Scott (Metcalf). 1940-46: Published several articles which are later to be chapters in his first book. 1947: First book published: Critics and Crusaders: a Century of American ProtestHolt. 1949: Several articles published on labor leaders 1950: Book published: American Labor LeadersHarpers. 1954-57: Articles in The Nation : American liberal, radicals. 1959: 2nd edition : Critics and Crusaders. Ungar. 1961: Book: Leaders ans Liberals in 20th Century America, Ungar. 1962: Retires as editor of College and Textbook Divison at Holt Publishing. Book: 2nd edition: American Labor Leaders. 1963: Articles on book publishing. 1966: Books: Book Publishing in AmericaMcGraw ;The Owl Among the Colophons Holt 1968: Book: Yiddish Literaure: Its Scope and Major Writers, Ungar 1970: Book: Eminent American Jews. Ungar. 1974: Book: Irving to Irving: Author-Publisher Relations, Bowker. 1976: Last book published: Jewish Publishing in America: The Impact of Jewish Writing on American Culture, Sanhedrin.

From the guide to the Charles Allan Madison Papers, 1918-1935, (Tamiment Library / Wagner Archives)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Hugo LaFayette Black Papers, 1883-1976, (bulk 1926-1971) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Villard, Oswald Garrison, 1872-1949. Papers, 1872-1949 Houghton Library
creatorOf Charles A. Madison Manuscripts, 1966-1968 Syracuse University. Library. Special Collections Research Center
creatorOf Guide to the Charles Allan Madison Papers, 1918-1935 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Black, Hugo LaFayette, 1886-1971 person
associatedWith Dewey, John, 1859-1952 person
associatedWith Dubinsky, David, 1892-1982 person
associatedWith Farrell, James T. (James Thomas), 1904-1979 person
associatedWith Fast, Howard, 1914-2003 person
associatedWith Goldman, Mendl, b. 1902 person
associatedWith Haessler, Carl, 1888-1972 person
associatedWith Henry Holt and Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Ickes, Harold L. (Harold LeClair), 1874-1952 person
associatedWith La Follette, Robert M. (Robert Marion), 1895-1953 person
associatedWith Lewisohn, Ludwig, 1882-1955 person
associatedWith Lowenthal, Marvin, 1890-1969 person
associatedWith Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962 person
associatedWith Scott, Evelyn, 1893-1963 person
associatedWith Thomas, Norman, 1884-1968 person
associatedWith Thompson, Fred, 1900-1987 person
associatedWith Untermeyer, Louis, 1895-1977 person
correspondedWith Villard, Oswald Garrison, 1872-1949 person
associatedWith Wallace, Henry A. (Henry Agard), 1888-1965 person
associatedWith Yaddo (Artist's colony). corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Publishing, printing and book arts
American literature




Ark ID: w62s5v4d

SNAC ID: 16018132