Notes from the Director of The Metro Show

Lafayette's George Washington button

Caroline Kerrigan Lerch - Friday, December 09, 2011

Each booth at The Metro Show will offer an array of works – both beautiful and interesting (or both) and some with a fascinating history. Steven S. Powers (Booth #111) will offer a rare and extraordinary object:  Lafayette’s lost again/found again commemorative George Washington button. Here’s how the story goes:

When General Lafayette, hero of the American Revolution and dear friend of George Washington, returned to the US in 1824-25 he visited the then 24 states of the Union and received a hero's welcome. The manufacturers, Leavenworth, Haydon & Scovill of Waterbury, CT, fashioned a set of buttons made from a single nugget of North Carolina gold with the image of George Washington in the center (the general’s old friend and fellow American Revolution commander) - they were displayed in New York City and then presented to Lafayette in 1825. Many years after Lafayette's death, the buttons were assumed lost to history, when in the late 1880's an English maid, Margaret Thornton found eleven of them amongst the general’s effects in the attic of Lafayette's family manor, La Grange. Ms. Thornton was given one for her find and for dutiful service. The other ten were again lost to history until the 1950's when they were rediscovered and put on display in the Lafayette Museum. The Thornton button remained quietly in the family until the late 1960s when the story of Ms. Thornton and her discovery of the historic buttons came to light. The button herein is the Thornton button and remains the only one known in private hands.

This will be the first time the 'Washington' Lafayette Presentation Gold Button will be shown in the United States, since the buttons were first displayed in New York City 187 years ago (just a couple of miles from the Metropolitan Pavilion)!

Post has no comments.
Post a Comment

Captcha Image

Trackback Link
Post has no trackbacks.