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The Stamford Historical Society

Margaret BowenPresents the Virginia T. Davis, Stamford Historical Society
Distinguished Service Award to

Margaret Bowen


20 June 2005
Address by Ron Marcus, Librarian

Good evening. It is a pleasure for me to present this year's Virginia T. Davis, Stamford Historical Society, Distinguished Service Award to one of our most outstanding volunteers. This tribute is given in memory of a remarkable person, whose devotion to the City of Stamford through this organization was summarized in a 23 March 1983 Advocate Editorial. "[Virginia] believed that a community's sense of its own history gave it a solidity and depth that it otherwise would not have. She was right in thinking so."

Since 1988 we have presented this honor to a total of eighteen individuals who truly exemplify the spirit of volunteerism. This organization as well as countless others could not continue to exist without such selfless dedication. In reviewing these names as a means of formulating standards in preparation for the selection of this years' recipient, it became apparent that due to the recent extraordinary endeavors of one individual, we might have to depart from our usual selection procedure.

Our recipient came to Stamford in 1963 with her husband and within a short period joined the Society. She became associated with Virginia Davis's Old House Survey Committee, researching land and probate records then located in the Old Town Hall. This culminated in the Bicentennial project of plaqueing Stamford houses constructed prior to the end of the American Revolution. Living on Trinity Pass Road, just off High Ridge Road, led her to researching the various home industries such as shoe and basket making and particularly the large basket trade which was prevalent in the area from mid nineteenth into the early twentieth centuries.

She has served on or chaired numerous committees including Membership, House Tours, Director Search, Nominating, Old House Survey, Hospitality, Bus Tours, Collections and a host of others. Her expertise and input was sought and freely given to numerous other tasks facing the Society throughout the past forty two years.

In 1988 she became the first recipient of the Virginia T. Davis, Stamford Historical Society, Distinguished Service Award based on her noteworthy record. Normally another worthy individual would have been selected for 2005. However, a singular event during the past year has caused us to once again consider her name. We are of course referring to our current exhibit: Portrait of a Family: Stamford through the Legacy of the Davenports. Never before has the Society embarked upon a show of such depth and scope, covering a time span of over three centuries. Many individuals participated in the preparation and marketing of this remarkable exhibit and continue to do so, contributing unprecedented numbers of hours. It was our award recipient who not only initially suggested the idea and extent of this extraordinary show, but guided all of us through the various trials and tribulations that do occur when undertaking such a large task. Despite all, her high standards of excellence prevailed, making it one of the landmark events in the long history of this organization.

It is with immeasurable esteem and gratitude that I now present, once again, the Virginia T. Davis, Stamford Historical Society, Distinguished Service Award to Margaret A. Bowen.

November 2005: Margaret Bowen Receives “Distinguished Advocate for Heritage” Award
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