Big finds for my collection this weekend. Coe Crawford, Mitchell for Capital Ribbons

My time was largely about getting signs from point A to point B this weekend, but managed to make a big find for my collection.

Since my work chores were done mid-morning, my wife and I meandered back from the West river region of the state, and stopped in a couple of antique shops on the way back.  We hit one ship where as you walked in, stuff was piled high with no real organization, and my wife immediately voiced “here we go,” knowing that this was my kind of shop.  While I was pawing through a box of comic books, my wife pointed out a frame of ribbons hanging on the wall.. and it was clear I’d hit the jackpot.

Not only were there three Mitchell for capital silk ribbons, there were three Ribbons which appear to be for Coe Crawford, Attorney General, US Senator, and our 6th Governor.  All of the ribbons appear to be from the 1903-1904 era, a time when Crawford would have likely ran for Governor in the primary, only to lose to Samuel Elrod, before his next run for the office where he was successful.    Someone had sewn them together into a decoration, where it appears to have stayed since that era, as some of the backing fabric was incredibly brittle, but it protected the ribbons which are all still very supple and in great shape. And in good enough shape to survive being separated, as I picked them apart thread by thread.

I could have lived without them being trimmed up to be equal length, but they would often be trimmed up by the wearer. I suspect someone might have put this together for a rally, and snipped it up for their design.. and then it went into an attic or elsewhere, where it eventually found itself into my hands. Often, silk campaign ribbons found themselves being sewn into a quilt after the campaign was over, and people were looking for fabric scraps, as in this quilt which is held by the Smithsonian..

That’s 432 silk ribbons stitched together and backed with plain white linen. According to the Smithsonian and family tradition, “the Lanes acquired—or were left with—an overstock of ribbons for Mrs. Lane to assemble the quilt.”

My piece was not so well conserved, up against fiberboard in the frame I bought it in. The backing fabric would fall apart in a person’s hands, so I was lucky enough that the wall hanging was easily dismantled, allowing the extraction of some great ribbons, including one of the better Capital fight ribbons I’ve come across:

Always happy to come across another great item showing the richness of our State’s history.

2 thoughts on “Big finds for my collection this weekend. Coe Crawford, Mitchell for Capital Ribbons”

  1. These are wonderful.

    Do you have them framed or how do you preserve all these pieces?

    1. I have them in riker frames away from direct light. I try to keep them from being sealed up too tightly, as I always try to add to them here and there.
      South Dakota Campaign ribbons

      In fact, I have a minor Pierre ribbon and great Huron ribbon I hope to do some horse trading for in the next several weeks.

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