Walpole Society gorget

Object Number: 
Silver, rayon
Overall: 3 3/4 x 4 3/4 x 1/4 in. ( 9.5 x 12.1 x 0.6 cm ) Silver Weight with ribbon: 1 oz (troy) 18 dwt (59 g)
engraved: in the center: "WALPOLE/ SOCIETY/ MCMIX" in roman letters engraved: on the back: "HOLLIS FRENCH/ 1910/ RUSSELL H. KETTELL/ 1937/ IRVING S. OLDS/ 1952" in roman letters stamped: on the back: "SHREVE CRUMP & LOW CO./ STERLING"
Cast silver gorget; slightly domed, crescent-shaped body with a raised rim and a wheel turned, geometric border along the rim; engraved in the center, "WALPOLE/ SOCIETY/ MCMIX" in roman letters around an oil lamp on two books; two holes punched in the upper corners; red rayon ribbon with a metal hook tied to one end, strung through the holes; engraved on the back, "HOLLIS FRENCH/ 1910/ RUSSELL H. KETTELL/ 1937/ IRVING S. OLDS/ 1952" in roman letters; makers' marks stamped on the back.
Gallery Label: 
Badges identifying members of an organization or society typically take the form of a two-sided medal pinned to the lapel or worn around the neck. When the Walpole Society met in 1931 to choose an insignia, however, it rejected a standard medal as commonplace and impractical, given its tendency to turn over and display the reverse rather than the obverse. Instead, the specially appointed committee settled upon a gorget, a piece of armor originally designed to protect the neck from sword thrusts and other attacks. Three distinguished members of the Walpole Society wore this gorget. The founding member and first owner was Hollis French (1868-1940), by trade an engineer and innovator in the field of interior lighting, and by avocation a collector and scholar of American furniture and silver. The second owner was Russell Hawes Kettell (1890-1958), a teacher of fine arts at the Middlesex School in Massachusetts. The third and final Walpolean to don the gorget was Irving Sands Olds (1887-1963), a trustee of the New-York Historical Society and its president from 1962 to his death in 1963.
Credit Line: 
Bequest of Irving S. Olds
Hollis French (1868-1940); to Russell Hawes Kettell (1890-1958); to Irving Sands Olds (1887-1963), the donor.
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.
Creative: Tronvig Group