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50th Anniversary Reunion - Battle of Gettysburg

Started by SCF-Collector , Jan 22 2008 01:13 PM

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#151 SCF-Collector

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 07:02 PM

To complete the documentation of this piece here in the forum, here's the top bar - which is original to the medal.

 

Front-Top-Bar-2.jpg

 

Top-Bar-Back.jpg

 

The back is clearly marked Bailey, Banks & Biddle Co., Philadelphia.

 

 



#152 bvelke

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 05:15 AM

It would appear that there were a total of at least 15 of these medals at some point - the 9 member Pennsylvania Commission, the 5 member Federal Commission, and of course the one in Bob's collection given to the Governor of Pennsylvania. I hope one day we can find some of the others that are still out there.

 

As executive secretary of the Commission, Rob. L. Roy might have had one too.

 

 

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#153 tarbridge

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 05:54 AM

rps20161203_075223.jpg

#154 tarbridge

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 05:55 AM

haines_harry_l_$GT_16Jun1938.jpg


Edited by Kevin Beyer, 11 December 2016 - 08:37 AM.


#155 bvelke

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 06:11 AM

Well, the admin fixed the link that I posted to the newspaper article but, in the meantime, deleted my original message.  Sigh.

 

I congratulated Mickey for the beautiful piece and said that I'm glad that it found its natural home in his collection.

 

The newspaper article above is from the 16 Jun 1938 issue of the Gettysburg Times.  While the congressman would certainly be wearing the badge at the event, I think that what we can see on his chest is a pocket square.  It is a shame that someone didn't shout, "Congressman, turn a little to your left!"

 

According to another newspaper publication of the same photo, it was taken at the War Department in Washington on June 10th.

 

I'll keep looking...



#156 tarbridge

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 06:24 AM

Well, the admin fixed the link that I posted to the newspaper article but, in the meantime, deleted my original message.  Sigh.
 
I congratulated Mickey for the beautiful piece and said that I'm glad that it found its natural home in his collection.
 
The newspaper article above is from the 16 Jun 1938 issue of the Gettysburg Times.  While the congressman would certainly be wearing the badge at the event, I think that what we can see on his chest is a pocket square.  It is a shame that someone didn't shout, "Congressman, turn a little to your left!"
 
According to another newspaper publication of the same photo, it was taken at the War Department in Washington on June 10th.
 
I'll keep looking...

Sorry....I did the only thing I could.

#157 Kevin Beyer

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Posted 04 December 2016 - 03:55 AM

I have been lucky enough to add the other known example of the 1938 Gettysburg Reunion Commissioner Medal - Member of the Commission - to my collection. 

 

attachicon.gifFront.jpg   attachicon.gifBack-Full-Drop.jpg

 

attachicon.gifName-Back-Closeup.jpg

 

Mickey,

 

This is the kind of thing that makes me keep collecting.  It shows that there are still treasures out there to be found.  Your Gettysburg collection is an amazing documentation of this event.  When a collector specializes in a particular area, delving into the history as you do, then shares it with the rest of the community, we all benefit.

 

Thank you for allowing us to view all of these incredible pieces from your collection.

 

Kevin



#158 SCF-Collector

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Posted 04 December 2016 - 02:17 PM

Catching up on my responses.

 

You're right Bob, Roy likely would have received a medal as well!

 

Thanks for the article/photo Robert & Bob. I had seen that one. BTW, I thumbed through the official report again last night - Haines is in a number of photos but not one of them showed the badge. I need to dig out that Signal Corps Press Album I have for 1938. There are about 80 8x10 photos in there, many not in the report, and in some cases full versions of cropped photos that are in the report. Maybe I'll get lucky.

 

Thanks for the kind words Kevin. It is all about the history - at least for me!



#159 bvelke

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Posted 09 December 2016 - 07:21 AM


I've found photographs of Representative Haines - but so far none of him wearing the medal. I'm still hoping there's one out there somewhere I'll eventually find. If anyone can point me at one it would be greatly appreciated!
 
Here ya' go, Mickey.
 
IMG_3815.JPG
 
I'll email a high-res to you when I get home tonight.
 
-Bob


#160 bvelke

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Posted 09 December 2016 - 03:53 PM

I was posting from my phone and should have said … I was in Gettysburg today so I stopped at the Adams County Historical Society to look for that photo and found it in their collection.  The Signal Corps album (volume 3) also has these two photos of Haines and his badge.

 

haines2b.jpg haines3b.jpg

 

-Bob



#161 SCF-Collector

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Posted 10 December 2016 - 01:50 PM

Wow - three pictures! Thanks Bob! I'll print to display with the medal! Very much appreciate you tracking them down for me.

 

 



#162 Brian Keith

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Posted 25 January 2017 - 08:00 PM

I really enjoyed going through this thread for the first time. I don't really collect veteran organization items, but really appreciate the passion of someone focused on a type of collection. This is the type of research that is very important in my opinion. Thanks for your passion and research. My daughter had wanted to visit Gettysburg for a number of years. After my deployment to Afghanistan, one of the things we did was to visit Gettysburg early in 2013. I personally like WW II history, but we all really enjoyed our visit to Gettysburg. The personal tour by the official tour guide was excellent! Very well worth the extra $! The Eisenhower farm was also a great tour!
I hope you do more exhibits of your collection, sharing your passion. It is a lot of work, but being able to share your passion is more than worth it I think. Yes, I've been doing US Military History Exhibits since I was in high school, I even brought original WW II rifles to show in history class! I graduated in 1978.
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#163 SARGE

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Posted 26 January 2017 - 07:29 AM

Well said Brian.  I always learn something new by reading sections and posts made by collectors who really know their subject.



#164 SCF-Collector

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Posted 30 January 2017 - 06:19 PM

Thanks for the words of encouragement gentlemen. I probably will display my collection again at some point, if for no other reason than to be able to display the pieces I've added and to share the results of additional research. The search for information (and new pieces of the puzzle) never ends.



#165 SCF-Collector

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Posted 02 February 2017 - 02:07 PM

These two pieces from my 1913 collection are rather unique. They aren't State or Regimental related, they aren't souvenirs, in fact, they aren't even Veteran related. These two pieces relate to the 71 American Red Cross Nurses that served a vital role at the 1913 reunion,  Without further ado, here are those two pieces.

 

RC-Medal-Front-Full.jpg      Lapel-Pin-Front.jpg

Both-Front.jpg

 

I've had the lapel pin for some time but never really researched it in depth. The newer of the two pieces has convinced me that the first is also Red Cross related. Whether these were worn at the reunion, or afterwards to commemorate their work in support of the Veterans and civilians there in 1913 I haven't yet proven - but they are 1913 Gettysburg reunion pieces.

 

I've done a lot of reading about the Red Cross Nurses that were at Gettysburg. I've always known they were there - seen them in pictures - but never really registered the significant role they played in the event.  It turns out the head of the Medical Services for the reunion very quickly realized he didn't have the resources he needed to see to the health and well being of all the Veterans - not to mention civilians - that they were expecting. He reached out to the American Red Cross Nursing Association and they provided 71 nurses to work during the event (all from Pennsylvania BTW).  These nurses were assigned to the two hospitals set up by the USA Medical Corps (13 at each) and the rest to the fourteen Rest Stations strategically located across the battlefield (Lee Monument, Devils' Den, etc). BTW, those 14 Rest Stations, and I didn't know this, were also staffed by 72 Boy Scouts (from Maryland) and 33 members of the Miners' First Aid Teams provided by a few Pennsylvania mining companies.

 

If you want to read more about the Red Cross Nurses at Gettysburg in 1913 I recommend you read the two articles in the Red Cross Magazine, Volume 8 (1913), There are some great pictures in there that I hadn't seen before. You've have to page through this - it's Google Books - but it's in there, the August edition.

 

More on the larger badge later. I've made some progress researching that piece.

 



#166 SCF-Collector

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Posted 02 February 2017 - 03:47 PM

The two piece Red Cross medal is interesting. The drop is actually a Red Cross Nursing Association pin, It even has the original pin on the back for wearing it. It was made by Bailey Banks & Biddle and it is numbered - 3641.

 

RC-Medal-Front-Full.jpg      RC-Medal-Back-Full.jpg

 

You can see where someone melted a clean hole in the pin to attach the top bar, which BTW is not maker marked. I've stared at this thing and examined it every way I could think of and to my eye it looks like a contemporary marriage of the two pieces - the patina is right - the wear is right.  The questions would be why was this done - and when.

 

First some background on the pin and dating it. It's definitely the first generation of the American National Red Cross Nurse pin. This style was adopted in July 1906. The first 250 were ordered in August 1906. Those were not numbered. When they ordered the next batch in July 1909 they were to be numbered starting with #768. Miss Jane Delano, who became the chairman of the National Committee on Red Cross Nursing (mentioned in my last post, arranged the nurses for Gettysburg 1913) received badge #775.  According to what I've read in this great article from the American Red Cross Website - Nurses Week, Nursing Pins Date Back to 1906 - the first pieces were likely made by Whitehead & Hoag - but in November 1908 BB&B was selling the badges so this one dates to no earlier than November 1908. FYI, there does seem to be an inconsistency in the dates in the article. If Whitehead & Hoag did do the first batch in 1906, and they didn't order the 2nd batch until July 1909 - how/why did BB&B start making badges before that second order was placed?

 

The article also indicates that by June 1920 the Red Cross had enrolled more than 36,000 nurses. I think one can credibly conclude that badge #3641 was therefore probably issued prior to the 1913 reunion. When I get time I'm hoping the Red Cross archives can help me prove that - and perhaps even identify the specific nurse.

 

BTW, it's probably worth noting that the lapel pin in the previous post was made by Whitehead and Hoag. Most likely a coincidence - but who knows. Maybe they created this piece for the reunion based on their early work with the American Red Cross?

 

I believe this piece is original and not some Frankenstein or fantasy piece. It looks right to me and I can easily see someone putting this together, even post-reunion. One of the theories I'm investigating is that the top bar of this piece is a variant of what the Red Cross called Service Bars that were introduced in 1908 according to the article. Maybe this was a Service Bar - and this is how they put it together after the reunion. The Service Bars were apparently issued after major events - like a flood or other disaster, or service in a war zone.  It's possible anyway. Maybe one day I can get access to the American Red Cross archives, or a helpful conservator there, to help me answer these questions.

 

Probably more information than you wanted or needed - but once you get started, it's hard to stop.



#167 SCF-Collector

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 06:00 PM

I think I have found another official - but previously undocumented medal - for the 1938/75th reunion. I of course wanted to post it here to get the opinion of others.

 

If you collect or study the 75th reunion you are probably already aware of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) medal issued to the 192 Scouts, 7 Assistant Scoutmasters, and 4 Scoutmasters who served in the Veteran Camps.

 

1st-BSA.jpg

 

It is documented in the official Pennsylvania Commission Report (Volume IV, 1939) on page 415.

 

1st-Medal-Text.jpg

 

A good friend of mine texted me one day from a Show. He had run across another medal that was from the 75th Reunion, but that he had never seen before. It was being sold as a "Boy Scout Troop Leader" medal for the reunion. It looked like a BSA medal, but yet it didn't. Here's what he sent me.

 

FullFront.jpg

 

It looked a lot like the BSA medal - yet it didn't. My friend thought at first it might have been a "polished" BSA medal - but closer examination revealed details that convinced us both it was originally made exactly as it appeared. I'll provide a close-up of the drop here to show you what I mean.

 

drop.jpg

 

Notice the silver-washed areas. Polishing a previously all-silvered BSA medal would not produce this look - at least not without MUCH difficulty and almost microscopic work. You can see how cleanly it was silvered in specific areas - yet left original brass in others.   The ribbon is the BSA color pattern - that's distinctive, the only one that's not blue/gray. But the cloth is slightly different, and there's no top-bar, just a broach/pin. It's clearly marked BB&B just like all the rest - and the entire medal looks to be 100% original construction - and BB&B all the way. Here's a picture of the back of the medal.

 

FullBack.jpg

 

My brain tells me there's an explanation for this - something I read - but at first I can't remember what or where. I knew I had seen references to Scoutmasters at the reunion, but didn't recall a mention of a different medal for them. And it didn't make sense to me that the Scouts would get an all-silvered medal with a top bar, and the Scoutmasters what is really a more muted version of the one we all have seen. That's when my brain started to kick-in (it was early on a Saturday morning, only one cup of coffee consumed at that point). I remembered reading something about other Scouts at the reunion. I pulled out my copy of the Commission Report and there it was!

 

There were approximately 700 other Boy Scouts at the reunion. They served in various capacities - traffic control, messengers, and aides in the 14 First Aid/Comfort Stations staffed by the Red Cross Nurses - among other roles. They were housed outside the Veteran Camps - 400+ at an abandoned CCC camp nearby, and another group in a Scout Camp along Lincoln Highway West. The ones working in the First Aid/Comfort Stations actually slept in the tents each night to guard the stations.  There were approximately 700 "auxiliary" Scouts that worked in support of the reunion. And there, on Page 416 of the Commission Report was my theory regarding this medal.

 

2nd-Medal-Text.jpg

 

A special medallion was struck "and made available" (more on those particular words later) to the ~700 Scouts who served outside the Veteran Camps as a memento of the occasion. 

 

Could this be that medal? I think so and here's why.  It's very similar to the official BSA all-silvered medal, but in a more muted form - no top bar, only partially silvered, a slightly lessor quality ribbon, and brass. It's a less expensive version of the documented BSA medal - so that fits with the description/tone in the text reference above.  At least that's my conclusion.

 

So now the obvious question - why haven't we seen this medal before? I certainly haven't in 30+ years of collecting this specific reunion. If there were 192 (or 203 if you count the Scoutmasters) of the all-silvered BSA medal - and 700 of this one - statistics tell us that we should have seen this one before. Here's my theory. Notice the words I put in quotes in the text reference above - "and made available". It doesn't say "presented to each" like the other medal - it says "made available". I wonder if that means :if requested", or even "could be purchased". Either or both reasons could account for the scarcity of this medal.

 

Anyway, that's my latest find - and my theory regarding what it is. Can I definitively prove it - no - but I think the reference on page 416 of the report certainly proves that a "medallion" existed for the other 700 Scouts and that it was "made available" to them. Add to that the fact that this medal has the same unique BSA R/W/B ribbon (only one like it at the reunion - all others Blue/Gray) and I think I'm on pretty solid ground.

 

What do you think?

 



#168 Kevin Beyer

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 03:03 AM

Just when I think that this collection can't get any more amazing, you dig up some new, heretofore, unknown information.  It boggles the mind.

 

I think that your premise is sound.  If these 700+ extra scouts had to pay for their souvenir of the event (vs. being issued one by the event), that would greatly reduce the number out there.  I am sure that BB&B would not produce 700 extra badges if they knew that there would be half(?) left over.  It might be the case that these extra scouts had to pre-order them.

 

Let's say that the badge cost between 25 and 50 cents for one of the Scouts.  The cost of going to the movies in 1938 was between 5 and 10 cents.  Seeing 5 to 10 movies, or buying a hot dog, a soda, or candy during the reunion weekend versus owning a souvenir badge makes me think that not many of them would be purchased.  From an economic standpoint, the idea of there being fewer of these than the official Scout badge is reasonable.

 

So, who ended up with this badge?  You, or your good friend?

 

Kevin



#169 bvelke

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 04:05 AM

As you say, the ribbon is slightly different but it and the pin seem to be period.  The lack of the top bar puzzles me.  Yes, that would make it less expensive but wouldn't the intricate silvering make it more so?  I wonder if it was "made available" for more than one purpose or group so they didn't want to label it BSA?

What's the source of it being called a "Troop Leader" medal?  If that label was passed down from the family (and not just made up from the seller because it is "different"), then that would have some credibility.

Does BB&B have an archivist?  I don't remember if we've looked into that but it could solve a lot of mysteries!

 

I think we should be looking for a photo.  The lack of a top bar should make it distinguishable.  I'm not sure what a Troop Leader's uniform looked like back then but I bet there are some photos. 


Edited by bvelke, 18 May 2017 - 04:11 AM.


#170 SCF-Collector

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 05:26 PM

Kevin,

 

Thanks for the post. I think your economic model could make sense. The answer is out there somewhere - I just need to find it. Maybe there's something in the archives - who knows.

 

And for the record, I did acquire the badge for my collection.

 

Bob,

 

I'm not sure how much more or less expensive the limited silvering might have cost. Is it a real silver wash - that would be more expensive I would think. As for what it took to make the badge like this - I just don't know enough about the processes of the time to answer that one.

 

I doubt it was "made available" for others since there's a specific reference to this being struck for those 700 or so Scouts, but it's a reasonable theory anyway. That would explain the lack of the BSA top-bar, and any other Scouting-specific reference. .

 

The Troop Leader designation came from the seller. There was no mention of any family provenance with the piece. I think as you suggested it was probably the seller trying to explain the difference, assuming he knew what the other BSA medal looked like.

 

You know, I've never tried to track down anything in terms of BB&B records. That's certainly something I will put on my list of things to do!

 

A photo might give us the answer. I haven't had time to look through mine. I have an album of about 25-30 BSA pictures, all 5x7. They came to me as a lot - someone's photo album maybe.  I'll have to look through those one night - maybe I'll get lucky. I think I remember seeing Scoutmasters, what this seller called Troop Leaders, in those pictures. It's worth a shot.  I'm a little skeptical that we'll find anything though. Something tells me the "made available" reference indicates these were provided after the reunion. The main BSA medals were "presented" - these were "made available" - and what that means is still to-be-determined.

 

I'll continue the hunt for information. As always, any/all help would be greatly appreciated.

 

 

 



#171 bvelke

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 06:12 PM

I contacted BB&B in your interest and in my own.  I was told that the current company does not have any historical documents from the original stores, the company having been sold several times over the years.  But she did refer me to the "Hagley Museum and Library" in Wilmington, Delaware which reportedly holds some of those original documents.  I have written to them and will let you know here what I learn.

 

I cite the name here for the record but I would ask that you give me a chance to complete my correspondence with the Hagley Museum before anyone else contacts them on this issue.  I don't want their researchers to get annoyed by getting multiple identical inquiries from different sources.  Thanks.


Edited by bvelke, 18 May 2017 - 06:15 PM.


#172 bvelke

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 06:15 PM

FYI, BB&B (originally the Bailey & Kitchen Jewelry Company) was established in 1832.  Here's a bit of their corporate history:

 

"By the late nineteenth century, BB&B had a successful insignia department which designed and manufactured medals, ribbons and honor awards for the U.S. government and military and naval academies. For nearly a century, BB&B produced the Congressional Medal of Honor, the first 40,000 Purple Hearts awarded, and class rings for West Point and Annapolis. Among the medals designed or produced by the firm’s corps of artists, die cutters, engravers and illuminators were the Distinguished Service Medal, Distinguished Service Cross and Distinguished Flying Cross. Charles Lindbergh and Admiral Richard E. Byrd received the first two Distinguished Flying Crosses in 1927. The current version of the Great Seal of the United States was designed by a BB&B artist in 1904. The Stationery Department, according to company legend, produced the invitations for the presidential inauguration of James Buchanan in 1857. President Abraham Lincoln was familiar with the company’s work after receiving a silver cup and plate personally crafted for him as a Christmas gift."



#173 bvelke

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 06:31 PM

The BB&B collection at the Hagley Museum includes in part, "Custom design ledgers, 1910-1950, containing descriptions and artwork of pins, medals, and rings for military and civilian organizations."  Sounds exciting!

 

I offered to go to Wilmington to examine the records myself if I am permitted to do so.  It is just an hour away from me.  Let me know if anyone wants to join me!  For everyone else, I'll bring back photos.




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