Found treasure

Mark Smith, executive director of the Mary M. B. Wakefield Charitable Trust, looks through a book in a room of the Wakefield estate where the John James Audubon folios were found.

For 300 years, successive generations of interrelated people made their home on the roughly 25-acre property now known as the Mary M.B. Wakefield Estate and Arboretum.

An impressive collection of trash and treasures built up as each of the 10 generations acquired things like books, paintings, and furniture, and no one seemed inclined to throw anything away.

So it was that a stack of valuable booklets were tied together with a piece of twine and left on a bottom shelf of a bookcase. Like a hidden treasure, they awaited discovery for decades.

The booklets, a near complete set of priceless folios by John James Audubon, were found several years ago and will soon make their public debut through ArtWeek Milton.

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