Can a spoon teach American history? Growing up, the dinner hour was family time, but also a moment to learn about our forefathers. We set our table with these silver-plated Presidents Commemorative Spoon Collection and they were an endless source of fascination for my brothers and me.
The collection includes 34 spoons each depicting one of the Presidents of the United States – from George Washington to John F. Kennedy. Grover Cleveland was elected to two separate terms, but was only designed one spoon in the collection.
We believe our maternal grandmother Hilda began collecting the spoons for us, and at some point purchased the whole set. They were offered through newspaper advertisements at some time during JFK’s presidency, and we all competed to use the spoon of the current president to eat our SpaghettiOs. It’s amazing how an eating utensil conferred a sort of inside-the-beltway status.
There is a portrait of each president at the tip of the spoon, and the bowl of the spoon contains a significant event or location connected to that president. The George Washington spoon includes an etching of his estate on the Potomac, Mount Vernon.
The Abraham Lincoln spoon depicts an excerpt from the Gettysburg Address.
The back of each spoon handle is labeled for the manufacturer, WM Rogers, and IS for the parent company, International Silver.
I’m certain the spoons helped inspire a deep interest in American history and the leaders of our country. Over time, I’ve visited Mount Vernon, Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, and we frequently visited Teddy Roosevelt’s “Summer White House,” Sagamore Hill on Long Island. I’m hoping to visit the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum during a visit to Springfield, Illinois later this year.
Incidentally, with a little research, I learned that while we refer to the third Monday in February as “President’s Day” it is legally dubbed “Washington’s Birthday” by the Federal Government. But, traditionally, the day honors George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and all who have held the office of President of the United States.
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