October 27, 2017 – “Research Roadblocks”

Hello, everyone!

It may be the end of the week, but it did not end quietly though. Researching these medals is turning out to be much harder than anticipated (and could be costly). Nevertheless, it is a task that has to be done because eventually a finding aid will be created from scratch regarding this collection. Hopefully, enough research can be done in regards to the medals to warrant them to be useful research item. Enough of those thoughts, though.  To regale on today’s events, it turned out to be one of those cases where it seemed like a task was completed, but for it to only to come right back and it is a problem needing to be solved.

After signing in, Ms. Rubin presented a printed version of the O’Shaughnessy finding aid and with directions to correct some of the mistakes that were overlooked on Tuesday. It did not take long and Ms. Rubin was given a review of the corrections. She gave her thanks and went back to her office. Hopefully, this is the last time that this happens and is not a reoccurring event. With those minor details fixed, it was time to resume my examinations of the United Daughters of the Confederacy medals.

It was in the middle of my examination of the World War Two Cross of Military Service that Tuesday’s session ended, so it was only a matter of picking up where it was left off at. Eventually, the World War Two, Korean War, and Vietnam War Crosses of Military Service and the Twenty-Fourth Annual United Confederate Veterans Reunion medal were examined. After typing the notes of my examinations, it was time to dig a little deeper.

There were three companies that were involved in the making of the respective medals from what was engraved in the back of the medals. The first was Charles W. Crankshaw, who was a reputable jeweler in Atlanta, Georgia in the late nineteenth century that the United Daughters of the Confederacy had hired to produce the Southern Cross of Honor in 1899. They ordered 12,500 medals from Crankshaw and the first one were presented on April 26, 1900 to Captain Alexander Erwin. I came to learn through research that Crankshaw had subcontracted the work to Schwaab Stamp & Seal Company (who are still around: http://www.schwaab.com/) and they were the ones who struck the first medals.

However, in 1904, the deal between Schwaab and the United Daughters of the Confederacy ran a foul when they appropriated the Southern Cross of Honor into the 1902-1903 reunion badges. So, they were fired and the Daughters hired the Whitehead & Hoag Company from Newark, New Jersey in 1904. The Southern Cross of Honor that is in the Special Collections is from the 1900-1904 Crankshaw era. Whitehead & Hoag would also make other medals including the Twenty-Fourth Annual United Confederate Veterans Reunion medal. The medal was given to veterans that attended the reunion in Jacksonville, Florida in 1914. The other medals in the collection are the Cross of Military Service from different conflicts.

The Crosses of Military Service were produced by another company, Medallic Art Company from New York (also still in existence: http://www.medallic.com/), and while the Spanish-American War and Philippine Insurrection variants looked similar to the Southern Cross of Honor, the World War One to the present versions have a completely different design. But, this where I hit a roadblock in my research.

While the Southern Cross and the Reunion medal did not have numbers to indicate when and to whom they were awarded (though the Daughters have a ledger on the records of the Southern Cross), the Crosses of Military Service do. The numbers conceivably be used to track down those that the crosses were awarded but it would be costly to consult the Daughters’ records. I reported my findings to Mr. Ogreten and he went over the options available for me to use, including ArchiveGrid (https://beta.worldcat.org/archivegrid/). Before proceeding forward, it was closing time.

That is all what transcribed today at the archives. There is a sincere hope that somehow this roadblock can be overcome, but in the end the research’s results is what will have to do. In any case, there is still the weekly review to look forward to. Expect that shortly to be posted, but if that does not strike any interest then enjoy the rest of the weekend and come back here Monday. Bye!


Author: 57r3l574d

I am currently a Graduate Student at the University of Central Florida and simultaneously employed by the university library's Special Collections and University Archives as a Other Personnel Service (OPS) Student. Expected to graduate in 2019 with a History MA - Public History Track.

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