Membership medal

Object Number: 
1880.13
Date: 
1789
Medium: 
Silver, cotton
Dimensions: 
Overall: 1 1/2 × 1 in., 1.3 dwt (3.8 × 2.5 cm, 2 g)
Marks: 
bright cut: center of shield: "WP" engraved: obverse: "Calliopean/ Society/ 19" engraved: reverse: "Friendship and Improvement"
Description: 
Silver oval cut work membership medal of the Calliopean Society with a shield in the center; on the obverse are the bright cut intials, "WP" in the center of the shield and "Calliopean/ Society/ 19" engraved in script around the oval; on reverse is a crossed key and quill in the shield and the inscription "Friendship and Improvement" around the edge; loop at top captures a red cotton twill ribbon.
Gallery Label: 
The Calliopean Society, one of New York City's earliest and most enduring literary clubs, was formed in November 1788 "for the express purpose of improving Education." In September 1789, the Society passed a resolution that members should wear an identifying medal. William Paulding, Jr. (1770-1854), a young law student, joined the Calliopean Society on September 1, 1789, and immediately became one of its most active members. He was elected to the United States House of Representatives, served as a brigadier general in the state militia during the War of 1812, and presided as mayor of New York (1824-1825 and 1826-1829). Paulding's Calliopean Society medal is the only example known to survive.
Credit Line: 
Gift of Frederick de Peyster
Provenance: 
William Paulding, Jr. (1770-1854); descent unknown; donated by Frederic De Peyster (1796-1882) in 1880.
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.
Creative: Tronvig Group