This collection contains 153 items related to Ward Napier Madison, a native of Montclair, New Jersey, who participated in a missionary trip to Asia from September 1931-August 1932. The bulk of the material consists of letters, meeting minutes, and other documents about the Laymen's Foreign Missionary Inquiry Commission of Appraisal, which visited Sri Lanka, India, China, and Japan.
The first item is Madison's typed 7-page account of his initiation into the Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity at Yale University in December 1923. Madison also compiled a typed diary during his trip to Europe in the spring of 1927. In May 1931, he applied for the position of secretary for the Laymen's Foreign Missionary Inquiry Commission of Appraisal's upcoming visit to Asia. Typed letters between the association's members, Madison, and others pertain to Madison's credentials and his health. Madison was accepted, and the bulk of the collection is made up of letters, meeting minutes, and cables about the group's travels. Madison retained copies of other members' correspondence, in which they described their experiences in Sri Lanka, India, China, and Japan. The commission periodically cabled Madison's mother, Louise N. Madison, about their progress, and Ward Madison wrote manuscript letters to his mother and to his grandfather, Charles F. Napier. Madison described missionary work, religion, and Asian politics, particularly the strained relationship between China and Japan. Madison wrote some of his letters on the backs of printed hotel menus, and he sent one photographic postcard with a picture of a hotel swimming pool in Colombo, Sri Lanka. After Madison's return to the United States in 1932, he corresponded with his grandfather about everyday life.