Thank you for continuing this journey with as the semester is coming to a close, but my work as a volunteer endures. Perhaps the blog should be renamed “The Archive of a Volunteer” at this point? Not sure if there is an option to do so, though. In any case, there have also been some setbacks in my research as the interlibrary loan system will not be processing requests until the beginning of the new year. Hopefully, the requests I made will be renewed for next year, but if not then they will just have to be filled out again. Fortunately, there have been some major developments in the research towards the World War I Medals and with these developments, coding the finding aid can began.
After the success last week in finding the legislative history of the New York World War Service Medal from The Journal of the Assembly of the State of New York and The Journal of the Senate of the State of New York, I was determined to search for more information. I tried contacting the New York State Awards Program Principal Awards Clerk, George Encarnacion, but the email provided was deemed invalid and the message not sent. Undeterred, I began searching for more information such as the designer of the medal.
During this time, Mr. Ogreten reported plans to reach out to the donor regarding the photograph of the recipient of the medals. The plan is to see if the Special Collections can acquire the photograph. If not, then perhaps borrow it for a hi-res scan of it for future use (to use in posters, for example). Also, a name for the collection had been tossed around during the meeting Mr. Ogreten had with the Head of the Department, David Benjamin. There is still of a few edits towards that end, but it seems what I had in mind is on the right track. The official name will be announced in due time, though.
As for research, a discovery was made. The Pritzker Military Museum & Library from Chicago, Illinois has an entry on their website regarding the medal they have in their collection (https://www.pritzkermilitary.org/explore/museum/digital-collection/view/oclc/861758363). In the publisher section of the entry, the names of “Dieges and Clust” were listed. After digging for some information, a more clear picture was present. Charles J. Dieges was an interesting fellow: Dieges formed a jewelry company with Pennsylvania native Prosper Clust in 1898 named “Dieges & Clust,” competed in Men’s Tug-Of-War at the 1904 Olympics, and was a member of the New York National Guard following World War I and the Military Athletic League. The fact Dieges & Clust were chosen to produce the medal made sense in relation to Dieges’ military background. The final piece of confirmation of this crucial information came from the medal itself.
Looking at the medal that is pictured on the website, there is a peculiar difference on the back of the medal. On the right side of the wreath, there is a small pendant right below the “K” in “New York.” Engraved in that pendant are the letters “D & C,” which stand for Dieges & Clust. After making this discovery that was hidden in plain sight, I donned a pair of white gloves and retrieved the medal collection to examine the New York World War Service Medal. Sure enough, the letters were in the pendant on that medal, too. I excitedly told Mr. Ogreten of my discovery and he seemed pleased with the development.
While any additional information degrading the medals would be welcome, I am confident to begin coding of the finding aid next week. However, there will be a lunch that will be hosted by the staff to celebrate the end of the semester and I intend to attend the lunch as a perfect way to celebrate the occasion. With all the information relayed about today’s events completed, this entry will be concluded. Until next week, stay safe and enjoy the weekend.