Named in honor of an alumna who returned to Madeira as a longtime teacher in and chair of the History Department and also held the positions of Alumnae Association vice president, college counselor, academic dean, and headmistress, the Kathleen Galvin Johnson ’53 Archives was established to collect, preserve, and make available materials that reflect the life of the School since its founding in 1906. The archives collection includes manuscripts, letters, memoranda, diaries, logbooks, printed materials, photographs, video and audio recordings, memorabilia, and artifacts having a common source in the corporate identity of The Madeira School.

Using the Archives

Advance appointments are requested. Many of the documents in the archives have access restrictions and permission to use them must be obtained from the Office of the Head of School. The Archives does not loan materials and reserves the right to restrict the amount of material copied for any patron. 

Individuals requesting copies of documents or photographs from the Archives will be charged for the cost of producing the copy. The Madeira School reserves all rights relating to the publishing or distribution of copies of items from the Archives collection.


  • Monday-Friday 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. (during the school year)
  • Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. (during the summer)

Holidays and school vacations may affect hours. Appointments are required so please call or email in advance to ensure that we have the appropriate resources available for your research.


The records of The Madeira School cover the period from 1906 to the present. The collection consists of 12 subgroups:

  • Records of the Board of Directors
  • Records of the Office of the Head
  • Records of the business office
  • Records of the administrative offices (includes Alumnae and Development Office Records)
  • Records of the academic departments
  • Records of student life and activities
  • Photographic and audiovisual collections
  • Oral History Project
  • Memorabilia
  • Artifacts
  • Creative works
  • Historical background

In addition, the Archives contains one special collection, received in 1996 as a gift from Lucy Madeira Wing’s nephew, John Jay Madeira: the Civil War letters of Nicholas Madera, Lucy Madeira Wing’s father. Many of these letters date from the period during which Nicholas was incarcerated in the Confederate Libbey Prison in Richmond, Virginia.

Oral History Project

The Madeira Oral History Project is an ongoing program of the Kathleen Galvin Johnson ’53 Archives. Nearly 100 alumnae, teachers, and staff have contributed their remembrances of their Madeira experiences. The interviews, full of anecdotes, memories and opinions, dramatically enhance our understanding of the school’s fascinating history from its earliest days at Dupont Circle, through the relocation to the Greenway campus in 1931, to the present.

Topics covered in the interviews run the gamut of Madeira interests: the curriculum; the academic day; sports and the riding program; the uniforms; the food; boarding and day student relationships; rule breaking and discipline; social life; favorite teachers; life lessons learned. Woven through all the narratives are first-hand, revelatory accounts of the personality, philosophy, and influence of the school’s founder, Lucy Madeira Wing. 

Although we have concentrated on the pre-1960 period, our ultimate goal is to create a broadly based resource covering all periods in the school’s history. The project is happy to hear of anyone who would like to share and record his or her recollections.