Summer hoopla: the century-old edition


One hundred years ago, on a Saturday in June, the folks from two little New England churches got together at the lake to celebrate their annual summer picnic.

And in the games and general merriment before the picnic hampers were unpacked, one athletic senior citizen won bragging rights and a nifty silver-stamped white silk-satin ribbon for his skill at throwing a base ball.


A “base ball” is what you youngsters would call a “baseball.” That stamped-brass scrolly bit is fab, isn’t it?

I would have liked to have been there, just to admire the Edwardian dresses worn by the ladies. And the hats!

“Union” Church is probably a Congregational church, and that’s a very common name for one in New England. “Plymouth” Church is probably named after the town.

But . . . which town?

There’s a Plymouth, Massachusetts. (You’ve heard of that one. The Mayflower, Squanto, Thanksgiving, etc.)

Plymouth, Maine.

Plymouth, Connecticut.

Plymouth, New Hampshire.

Plymouth, Vermont.

Bet you there’s a Plymouth, New York, too, but I didn’t look it up.

“Lake Park” doesn’t help any. Such a nondescript name is likely to have changed over the years.

I’m going to go with New Hampshire, since I picked up this badge at that epic southern New Hampshire estate sale Janeray and I pillaged back in April. Plymouth NH is sandwiched right between the White Mountains and the Lakes District, and it’s a pretty little town.

The back of the ribbon still has the maker’s paper label.


Wouldn’t you like to know what other “regalia” they made? And that typography is just divine.

Four years before this ribbon was awarded, on the Fourth of July in 1910, there were some special guests at the celebration held by the city of Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

They're made of a plasticky material with a linen texture.

They’re made of a plastick-y material with a linen texture (celluloid?), and they look brand-new!

After 287 years of ship-building and commerce, there were plenty of sons and daughters to return to Portsmouth! The city seal has been updated just a bit since that century-old version.

Here’s the reverse, showing the pinback.


That trademark is SO tiny I had to get a loupe to read it! It says, “The Whitehead & Hoag Co., Newark N.J.” and “Union Label, Allied Printing Trades Council, Newark N.J.” Same trademark as the silk ribbon.

Somewhere in the city archives, there are sure to be photographs of that celebration: the streets lined with red, white, and blue bunting, and the honored guests on the dais dressed to the nines in layers of clothing in the July heat. And more hats!

Sigh for a whole world that is gone.

Happy Fourth!





One Comment on “Summer hoopla: the century-old edition”

  1. Super cool find and love the picnic ribbons. I have found similar styles and crafted with them. Happy Fourth!