At first I did some research through books and the internet, but eventually I was invited to a real live meeting of a real live button club. Woo Hoo! Of course, I went.
The particular meeting I attended was with the Western North Carolina Button Club. It started with our hostess wowing us with her collection of 19th-Century Mandarin hat buttons, but I was also quite impressed by many other buttons the members passed around--the Victorian button nails used to hang pictures, the mourning buttons made of hair, the smugglers' buttons . . . and many more I can't remember.
|Mandarin hat buttons|
I also learned about the state and national competitions the club members had entered over the years and just how serious real collectors are about the historic, material and artistic aspects of buttons.
|Competition card of buttons depicting couples in various styles and materials|
If by chance you haven't been to a button club meeting but you've always wondered what one might be like, you can read more about my experience here, but I recommend going to a meeting yourself! If you're looking for a group, the National Button Society has a listing of local clubs . . . and there's always Google.
And to all the readers out there already in clubs . . . thanks for preserving these "little works of art and history." I'm not capable of organizing the sock drawer, so I take my hat off to you!