Object Record

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Catalog Number 01.C.43
Object Name Button
Title Uniform Buttons
Artist Unknown
Date 19th c.
Description Buttons in Economy Mailing Bag with 3 cent postage stamp. Label of bag: "Uncle Elisha's buttons / Mrs. Walter Cope Saunderstown RI" Three of 11 are slightly different in design but all have general motif of eagle on anchor. Reverse of three: "Bro & Allien HNY (on reverse)" along perimeter. Reverse of four: "W. H. Horstmann & Sons PHI" along perimeter. Reverse of three: "Robinsons Extra" along perimeter. Reverse of final button has stars along perimeter and "ILT."
Label These buttons are from the military uniform of Elisha Kent Kane, 19th-century physician and Arctic explorer. His two expeditions to the Arctic to locate missing British explorer Sir John Franklin and his crew made him a celebrated American hero. After he died in Havana, at the age of 37, thousands gathered to watch his funeral procession from New Orleans to Philadelphia before he lay in state in Independence Hall. All these buttons contain a typical naval representation of an eagle and anchor, and are of a type sold by William H. Horstmann & Sons, a Philadelphia manufacturer of military clothing and regalia. Horstmann later merged with Henry Allien, a New York buttonmaker, the source of some of these buttons.
Dimensions Dia-0.563 inches
Credit line American Philosophical Society. Gift of Mrs. Walter Cope, 1970.
Search Terms 19th century
nineteenth century