Photo by Dave Warner – Sally Madison (right) walks with a group performing “The Chapters of Alfred Dolge” during the 2017 Dolgeville Violet Festival Parade.

by Mike Cecconi

The Little Falls Public Library is pleased to announce an in-person reading and book signing of “The Chapters of Alfred Dolge” a collection of five three-act history plays by local author and historian Sally Madison on Saturday, May 22nd at 1 PM in the library’s Community Room. It will be a free event, open to the general public at large, with refreshments provided and copies of Ms. Madison’s book available for purchase after the presentation.

“The Chapters of Alfred Dolge” began as an outgrowth of Ms. Madison’s involvement with the yearly Dolgeville Violet Festival, as a way of teaching local history through the vibrancy of live performance, engaging learners less open to a lecture or textbook. Dividing twenty-five years in the life of local historical figure Alfred Dolge into five five-year segments, Sally ended up with five three-act plays, highlighting Dolge’s contributions and changes to his community and to the region. She hopes that the book will function not only as a learning tool, to illuminate history for residents of the area, but also as a platform for future plays about Alfred Dolge as well.

Alfred Dolge immigrated from what is now Germany in his late teens, in 1865, working in piano making and importation in New York City. In 1874, he traveled to what was then known as Brockett’s Bridge, New York in search of spruce wood resources for piano construction and ended up staying. He founded what would be later known as The Dolgeville Factory Complex, growing into felt work and mills, making shoes and piano parts, running lumber yards until he had grown the community to such an extent that the residents renamed their village Dolgeville.

Pioneering in his business practices, Dolge was known worldwide for his development of early pension plans and the earliest form of what we now know as Social Security. He was consulted with by France and Germany in regards to the founding of their social safety net, his theories and practices still a part of government and business models the world over.

Ms. Madison is a cherished regular with the Little Falls Public Library’s flash fiction writing group, wherein local writers are given a prompt word each week with which to generate a piece of writing up to five hundred words. Though through the pandemic period the group has been meeting and sharing their writing virtually instead of in-person, Sally has continued with the group, using the prompts to craft a developing short story collection “The Black Pearl Bag”. Structured similarly to the Spoon River Anthology, it’s the story of an heirloom passed down through ten generations of women, from Alexandria in 1600s Morovia, all the way to its current owner Lindsey in the present day. She plans to publish it as a collection upon final completion.

For more information on this or other upcoming events, you can visit the LF library’s website at www.lflibrary.org, check out their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/littlefallslibrary, or call 315-823-1542. The Little Falls Public Library appreciates the opportunity to share local arts and culture with the community live and in person and hopes to see you there!