50th Anniversary Reunion - Battle of Gettysburg
Posted 27 May 2012 - 01:58 AM
Posted 17 June 2013 - 08:50 AM
I have no idea how much interest there might be, but I figured the 100th anniversary of the 50th reunion and 75th anniversary of the 75th reunion was as good a time as any to pull together 28+ years of collecting the stuff!
If you're going to attend the show please stop by and visit!
Posted 18 June 2013 - 06:26 AM
Great idea and a good place and time for your display!
I have found that my displays very often pay off in meeting people and making contacts. I have managed to buy some very nice stuff from walk-ins who see the display and stop to talk about what they have at home or out in the car. I have also been able to talk to various veterans and relatives of vets who I would not have met otherwise. The displays are a lot of work but well worth the time and effort IMHO.
Please take some photos of your display and post them here when you are done.
Posted 19 June 2013 - 12:00 PM
Thanks for the words of encouragement Sarge.
I've never done a display, but having been a dealer for awhile now I've seen similar behavior from folks. I'm hoping my display will trigger exactly that sort of behavior so that perhaps I can at least see (and maybe even acquire) some additional pieces to the picture I'm trying to present.
As a dealer I actually got to meet a gentlemen who had attended the 1938 75th reunion as a child - age 8 - along with his older brother. He saw some pieces on my table and started talking about his experiences at the reunion. It was great because I actually learned about a flag souvenir that was fired into the air as part of the fireworks display one evening. it floated down with a little parachute. His brother boosted him up into a tree to retrieve one. Unfortunately, it had long disappeared - but at least I now know the origin of the thing if I ever happen upon one!
You're right - displays are a lot of work. I never imagined just how much! I guess it's just easier to have it all scattered around in cases and boxes - knowing the story in my head - but trying to tell that story to others through the artifacts - that's a whole different process! It's been a learning experience for me.
Will try to remember to take some pictures and post them. I'd better remember, my wife wants to see pictures of the end-result after all the nights and weekends I've put into this project! I can't wait to see it all put together myself actually - right now it's in pieces and the overall presentation is only in my head!
Posted 02 July 2013 - 06:57 AM
Well, I actually pulled it off - the display that is. Providing a picture below to prove it!
It was a whole lot of work (and sweat) to pack/unpack/set-up/pack/unpack it but I think it was worth it. I was having my doubts late yesterday after I unloaded the truck and nearly drowned in my own sweat, but after a little rest, I'm feeling better about the experience! LOL
The display was well received. I had compliments from many visitors - other folks with displays, and even other dealers, who are a hard lot to please sometimes. I received the Best Educational Display award for the show - which I guess proves I accomplished my primary objective anyway.
That picture is from the right-hand side looking across the three tables. I couldn't get a head-on shot because of the way the table rows were set-up. FYI, the left-hand 2/3's of the display is 1913/50th reunion and the right-hand 1/3 is all 1938/75th. I have other more detailed pictures of each section if anyone is interested in seeing them.
I had two questions come up over and over again.
1) Where else will you be exhibiting your collection (encouraging me to show it at other events).
2) How are you going to document this information/collection so that the knowledge you've accumulated is preserved?
On #1 I told people that in the middle of doing this show my answer was "in my basement" because I didn't even want to contemplate going through all this work again! However, with a little rest I'm feeling a little more inclined to consider other options. As people pointed out - I've done the hard work of putting it together. However that's easy for them to say - they don't have to haul and set-up this beast <g>. So far I'm being pushed to at least do the fall Gettysburg Show - which I will consider given the timing. As for others, we'll see I guess.
On #2 I didn't have a good answer except to say that I hoped one day to photograph it all and document the information I had gathered. I received a lot of encouragement to do exactly that and publish it.
Anyone have any thoughts on these questions?
Let me know if you want to wade through any other photos of the display.
Posted 02 July 2013 - 09:53 AM
This is a great display.
I would love to see some closeup shots of your display. And... here is an idea on how to document it in order to answer your second question. Start up a new thread right here and title it something like "My Gettysburg Reunion Display" or something similar. Show photos of the closeups of your display cases, descriptions, etc. Once you get the thread completed you will probably have comments and questions you can answer. After all is said and done simply print the pages of your thread and you have written documentation on your display and research.
Posted 02 July 2013 - 10:50 AM
Not a bad idea - but I'm afraid that my close-ups aren't "close-enough" to be useful for that level of documentation. The set-up just wasn't right to try to take pictures of each of the cases that are detailed enough to identify what's in them (i.e., specifically the medals and ribbons, the "smalls" in the display case, the photos in the other cases). I think I'm going to have to make the time to photograph each piece in detail once I decommission this display set-up (question #1 aside) and then put it all together in a document of some sort to produce useful documentation.
For now I think I'll just post a few pictures at a time here - with explanation - and see how that goes.
Posted 02 July 2013 - 11:14 AM
Picture #1 - center table of the display
The center of my display focused on the 1913/50th reunion. The flag is described below. The large case in the foreground contains the State medals/badges/ribbons I have acquired over the years. Except for 2 State pieces I have seen but was unable to acquire - all I know to exist (so far) are presented. For each the tag showed how many total attendees from that State - and then the number broken down by North / South. This served to show the relative rarity of each piece and also to point out to people that you wore the State badge (or at least were entitled to it) from your State of residence - not who you fought for. Visitors seemed fascinated by that information.
Along the back edge are miscellaneous pieces - including an identified Illinois State Ribbon for the 50th along with his Ladder Badge (39th Illinois) and a large NY pin-back that I had proof was at the 1913 reunion with a blown-up RPPC showing a Veteran wearing the badge.
The UCV Flag is what started me collecting items from the 50th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg . I picked this up probably 27 years ago at the Gettysburg Show. The funny thing is that I didn't buy it as a Gettysburg piece - I bought it because I collected UCV. However, once I researched the date on it - I got hooked! The flag is two-sided, machine sewn (but by hand judging by the crooked seams) measuring 46 1/2 " x 48" - a bit odd in terms of size. It also has a machine-sewn repair in the field. Along the header is stamped "UCV Gettysburg July 1913" (right top edge of the picture/flag - that's why I had it folded over like that - so you could read it). The flag itself got a lot of attention from visitors - including a couple of collectors who wanted to buy it on the spot. I politely declined of course <g>.
Posted 02 July 2013 - 11:33 AM
Picture #2 - Close-Up of some of the 1913 State medals/badges/ribbons.
I used the Sheet Music in the display to give the case a title/context - and also for the great images and colors they added to the display. I didn't want a case with just rows and rows of medals.
I own 25 State badges - and for a couple of those I have variants indicating that a given State might have produced more than one badge - or more likely that some other organization (besides the State Commission) produced its own badge. I also have what I think is the New Jersey State Badge - but since it has a GAR Post number from Newark on it - I didn't put it in this case. There are at least two other examples of State delegate badges (they were called delegates) where the main badge was re-used by say a GAR Post or in the case of New Hampshire, as a Souvenir piece.
In another case I had original pictures from the 1913 reunion showing Veterans wearing some of the State medals, including New York, Missouri, New Hampshire, Michigan, Virginia, and Maryland.
Posted 02 July 2013 - 12:07 PM
Picture #3 - right side of tables, mostly 1938/75th reunion.
There are two 1.5' x 2.0' cases across the top. The left one contains a letter written in December 1914. it's from a Confederate Veteran from Mississippi to a NY Veteran. Basically they became friends at the 50th reunion - and the Confederate sends this letter and encloses a $50 CSA note that he carried during the war - "to remember me by". How's that for reconciliation?
On the right-side case are two pennants - one from 1913 the other from 1938. I own others, and there are at least probably 4-6 others for each reunion that I have seen (but wouldn't shell-out the big-$ for) - but I thought I'd only include one example for each reunion to save space.
True story. This old gentlemen waited patiently in front of those cases for me to finish talking to some other folks Saturday. When I walk over to him he asks "do you know who made that 1938 pennant?". I tell him unfortunately not - they are unmarked. He replies "I made it.....". Okay - he had my attention. Turns out as a teen he worked for the couple that owned the NY Pennant Company, which was based in NJ. He claimed he worked there when they made these pennants and he told me about the process - what the husband did, what the wife did, etc. He's sending me a letter (so he said) with all this written down - and with pictures of the owners graves and some other pennants he has in his possession. How cool is that?
The large case is my 1938/75th medal collection. On the left side of this case were three sets of Veteran & Attendant medals (all Yankee unfortunately <g>), an example of the letter each living Veteran received (that they could locate anyway), and a photograph showing a named Veteran wearing his 1938 medal - but he's NOT on the only documented lists of the attendees. In the middle is a color reproduction of the poster that advertised the 75th reunion. I haven't yet acquired an original of that little gem. I have only encountered two in 28 years of collecting. The right side of the case contains all but two of the known other official medals given out at the reunion - The "Championship Band", the "Championship Drum Corps", the "Boy Scouts", the "Distinguished Guest", and the official "Press Badge". There is also an otherwise unknown medal for the PA National Guard that I'm 100% sure was struck from the original dies but it has a more classic Campaign medal ribbon and broach. Those guys were activated for a month to staff the Pennsylvania Commission Headquarters. I also included some souvenir medals from that reunion. It's strange, but there aren't all that many souvenir pieces for 1938 - despite the fact that there were over 200,000 people there for the dedication of the Peace Light Memorial. The only two I couldn't display - the "Usher" medal - which I've only ever seen in the official book, and the "Commissioner's" medal - of which I've seen a total of two in my life. I am of the opinion that the Usher medal was never produced. No one that I've asked, and I've asked a lot of long-time dealers in medals/badges - has ever seen one.
BTW, at the very top of this picture you see the bottom of a large framed piece. It contains two 4'5' long panoramic photographs of the 1913 reunion. What's unique about these is that an identified Veteran has annotated these in ink. framed with these are a RPPC of this identified Veteran as a 74 year old musician (playing his fiddle with his grandson) and a souvenir medal from the reunion. It's the only one of these I've ever seen that has been period annotated. Believe it or not I picked this up AT the show during set-up and added it to my display on-the-spot!
Too much information - would you rather just see the pictures with some basic titles and descriptions?
Posted 02 July 2013 - 12:12 PM
Picture #4 - Close-up of the 1938/75th medal case (part of it anyway).
Sorry about the glare.
The medal in the lower-left is the unknown National Guard active service medal.
I have the actual official letter from the Commission for Don Russell from The Chicago Daily News, that came with that Press badge (lower-right corner of the picture). FYI, the souvenir pin-back next to the press badge came in the same envelope. Apparently they sent one of those along with the official pin-back Press Badge.
The other half of this case contained Veteran and Attendant medals. I didn't include those here since we've already documented these previously in this thread.
Posted 02 July 2013 - 12:40 PM
Picture #5 - Smalls Display Case
I used this case to display small items that I didn't want handled - and/or to walk away.
Top Shelf - souvenirs, a sterling coin medal that I think was minted for the Commissioners, a small canteen, a RPPC of an identified Veteran, and a New Testament distributed at the reunion.
2nd Shelf - Signed copy of Jack Crawford's poetry - signed at the 50th reunion, original boxes for the Veteran and Attendant medals (75th), Program and piece of hard-tack sent back by a Veteran at the 50th to his General basically saying something about them feeding them the same things.
3rd Shelf - Photo postcard album and a cigar box containing the mess kit of an identified Veteran from the 50th reunion. They were allowed to keep their mess kit - according to the Commission report. This guy brought his home, put it in a shoe box - and put a typed label on it. I guess it was an important souvenir of his experiences there.
Bottom Shelf - group of NY Veteran medals, an unknown NY medal from 1913 (matches 1/2 of the regular NY Veteran medal), and a pottery plate made for the 1913 reunion.
The large book that you see in the lower-right corner of the photograph received a LOT of attention. Apparently Dr. Burge from California lived next-door to a Confederate Veteran - General Sampson Sanders Simmons, formerly of the 8th Virginia Cavalry, and courier on R.E. Lee's staff. He put together this album as a tribute to the General (UCV rank BTW). it starts with a photograph of Simmons' 1938/75th Veteran medal, followed by a large photograph of the General in uniform as he was leaving for the reunion. On that page is a letter from Dr. Burge basically explaining his friendship with the General and why he put this album together. There are I think 196 pages in the album - from programs and paper ephemera from the reunion to newspaper clippings from around the country. Dr. Burge sent letters to the Chambers of Commerce asking for newspaper clippings/etc representing their locals attendance at the reunion. Dr. Burge pasted the return letters and clippings neatly into this large album. It's funny - but General Simmons actually appears in at least 4-5 photographs that came back from around the country. Besides the significance of this tribute album to the General - I really like it because in one place I can see the reunion from all over the country in one sitting - not to mention photographs that I haven't seen in any of the official publications. FYI, this album was prepared after the reunion of course - and I suspect presented to the General before he died in 1942 at the age of 94!
Edited by SCF-Collector, 02 July 2013 - 12:48 PM.
Posted 02 July 2013 - 01:02 PM
Picture #6 - Left Side of Display (All 1913.50th)
Across the top is a panoramic photo of the 1913 Reunion Tent City.
The top left small case contains 1913 paperwork - New Jersey, New York Monument Commission, Connecticut, Massachusetts - and even one from Virginia (UCV delegate form). The tag in the lower-left corner of that case I call a "toe tag". Every Veteran was told to carry this with him during the reunion (remember, average age 72 at this point). It contains their information - along with the contact information of next-of-kin. Fortunately not many of these turned into actual toe-tags during the reunion.
The right-hand small case contains an embroidered eagle/flag piece made for the reunion. My guess would be that it's a piece of a pillow-case - but can't be sure. The colors are so vibrant - and the eagle so compelling - that it just jumps out at you. Sorry for the bad glare - I'll post a separate picture of that so you can see what I mean.
The large case contains GAR/Post, a UCV/Camp ribbon, and regimental ribbons/badges from the 50th reunion. The Veterans were certainly proud of their service - and regiments. That's all to the left of the sheet music center for the most part. Around the sheet music are souvenir pieces and other memorabilia from the 50th - including tickets to the "big tent" for the grand ceremonies held each day.
Posted 02 July 2013 - 01:07 PM
Picture #7 - Embroidered Souvenir - 1913/50th (Likely a Pillow-Case)
A side-on view - but it still gives you an idea of what the piece looks like. This picture doesn't really do it justice - but it's the best one I have right now.
BTW, since it's in the picture. The book on the right is the Official Commission Report on the 1913 Reunion. It contains a wealth of information and is just PACKED with photographs, including some very long fold-out ones. If you're interested in learning more about the reunion you can pick this book up in readable condition for $20-30. Well, you could - before the 150th started anyway. I saw one listed on eBay for $250 the other day - wow. It's not worth that much!
Posted 02 July 2013 - 01:52 PM
Posted 02 July 2013 - 08:21 PM
That is a first rate display! In fact, if your display isn't museum quality, I don't know what would be. Your time and effort are obvious and it is certainly something in which you can be proud. The comments made by those that got to see your exhibit up close are a testament to your hard work. I wish I could see everything up close. Your presentation of the material makes everything that much more interesting.
I cannot thank you enough for sharing these photos on the forum!
Posted 03 July 2013 - 06:04 AM
Simply outstanding! It is no wonder that you won an award for this display. And... getting to meet the fellow who made the pennants is just such a benefit of collectors doing displays like this. Not to mention finding something to add to the display at the show. Thanks again for your hard work and showing it to us here.
Posted 03 July 2013 - 02:03 PM
I have been a member of USMF for a year or so but this is my first post.
I had the privilege of attending the Civil War show last weekend and seeing the display first hand. Two major events in the history of Gettysburg veterans were brought to life with knowledge, passion and respect.
Well done, Mickey.
Posted 04 July 2013 - 07:29 AM
I must have read this thread three times now. Thank you so much for sharing it! The display is most likely the best quality display of a private collection that I have ever seen. It is absolutely amazing. If you have the chance in September, you should definitely show put it on display again. The pictures are great, but I'll be the experience of seeing it in person is something no one will forget.
Do you have any pictures of folks admiring your hard work?
Posted 04 July 2013 - 06:35 PM
Thanks everyone for the kind words.
Sorry Kevin, if you're thinking Chicago in September - WAY too far for me to drive and set this thing up! At this point the only follow-up event I'm considering is the fall Gettysburg Show (last weekend in October). I'm not sure if it would generate all that much interest outside Gettysburg and the 150th anniversary anyway.
FYI, a visitor to the display asked me if I would be setting up my display at the 150th Anniversary of the Gettysburg Address in November. I told him I knew nothing about that scheduled event. He replied "give me one of your cards!", thanked me, and left. I wondered afterwards if maybe he was associated with the planning of the event and if I might hear from him. That could be interesting.
Actually, I didn't take any pictures of folks viewing the display, but a dealer friend of mine came by late Sunday and did - and took a picture of me with the display. I owe him one - otherwise I wouldn't have a picture of myself with the display!
These pictures were taken less than an hour before the show closed Sunday, so the crowds had come and gone already. Saturday was very busy. At times it was tough trying to make sure I spoke with everyone and answered their questions - while trying to keep an eye on my treasures! My friend who was going to help me work the display couldn't make it - so I had to cover all 24' of the display solo. I must have been quite a site dashing from conversation to conversation!
Posted 04 July 2013 - 06:38 PM
For your amusement, the "posed" shot of me with the display.
If you think I look tired - by then I definitely was!
Posted 06 July 2013 - 06:51 AM
I meant to suggest re-displaying your collection at the next Gettysburg show, not trekking down to Illinois for the Wheaton show. Sorry for the confusion!
People visiting Gettysburg for the 150th anniversary of the battle received a rare treat if they were lucky enough to view your display as well, imagining the experience of the veterans who returned to Gettysburg 50 and 75 years later.
Posted 13 August 2013 - 06:21 PM
An exciting update to share. I've finally acquired a 1938/75th Anniversary Gettysburg Veteran medal that belonged to a confirmed Confederate Veteran!
I have been trying for years and years to add one of these to my collection. In all that time I've seen a total of two (2) confirmed Confederate Veteran medals. I've heard of others but I have only seen just those two - and I couldn't acquire either one. It's no wonder they are scarce - of the 1,845 listed attendees in the Commission's Report, only 486 of those were Confederates (1,359 Yankees).
I finally own one - thanks to the kindness of a dealer friend who happened upon a great example. There was no accompanying Attendant medal, nor a box - but neither example that I have previously seen had them either.
I know there are examples of these 1938/75th Veteran medals posted in this thread, but I thought this one deserved to be included here - to represent the "other" side. For your viewing pleasure:
James Brooks Streater was born in 1843 in Carroll County, Mississippi. He enlisted May 31, 1861 as a Private in Co. A, 30th Mississippi Infantry. He was discharged on April 26, 1865. He died April 11, 1940 (age approximately 97 if my math is correct) and is buried in Black Hawk, Mississippi.
I've only had the medal for a few days so I've only just started my research, but so far I've learned that he had his musket shot from his hands at Franklin as he was taking aim at a Yankee (spending the rest of the war in a hospital), and that he ran the General Store in Black Hawk for a very long time after the war (right up until his death in 1940).
I'll post more information if I find anything interesting. I may also be posting pics of a pair of medals that came along with this one - once I double-check and confirm that the ID to Streater is 100% correct.
Posted 13 August 2013 - 06:32 PM
Adding for confirmation, here's his entry in the official list of attendees.
Notice the spelling error - not the first one that I've seen, that's for sure.
BTW, if anyone is interested - a little history about this "official" list of attendees. This list was actually put together approximately 2-3 months before the actual reunion. That makes total sense - notice the title of the page "tent city". They had to make tent assignments/etc - and this was the list they worked from - and later published.
I know for a fact that the actual list of attendees would have been different if a roll had been kept at the actual reunion. For example, I've read about one Veteran (the name escapes me at the moment) who died just days before leaving for the reunion (his name is on the official list). In other cases (as noted earlier in this thread) named medals have been observed where the names do not appear on this "official" list. I have an example of this in the form of a photograph of a Confederate Veteran, William McKendree Evans (Virginia), wearing both his 1938 Columbia SC UCV reunion medal and a very conspicuous 1938 Gettysburg Veteran medal - yet his name is not on the list.
I have read accounts stating that the attendance was anywhere from 1800 to nearly 2000 actual Veterans, but I suppose the accurate number will never be known.
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