Madeline Matz (1936-2021)

In Memoriam Madeline Matz
By Richard Abel

I believe I first met Madeline Matz either in the Motion Picture and Sound Recording Division at the Library of Congress or during the Giornate del cinema muto in Pordenone, Italy. Whichever, she became an invaluable source of research materials—films, trade press articles, and documents—when I was writing Americanizing the Movies and “Movie-Mad” Audiences, 1910-1914 (2006). During that time, her expertise led me to ask her to contribute several entries for the edition of Encyclopedia of Early Cinema (2005). Of course, I was but one of many, many cinema scholars whom she served as an informal research assistant over the years.

Once we began meeting at the Giornate del cinema muto, I always tried to arrange a lunch or dinner with Madeline, sometimes with other friends or colleagues. I also introduced her to my late wife Barbara during one of her few visits to Pordenone, and they immediately took to one another. Besides her enviable wealth of information, Madeline was incredibly generous, so open to my sometimes less than astute questions, and so charming whenever we sat and talked. I very much missed her presence during the last few years in Pordenone.