Acquisition No.: 2018-19
Title: Display Case; Bertha and Ambrose Myers Collection.
Item History:

Most grandma’s of the 19th and 20th Centuries kept a jar of buttons for replacements and for newly sewn clothing. Bertha Myers, wife of Ambrose (Brookie) Myers of Bonneauville was an exception. She had dozens of jars of buttons; and jars of button size knickknacks, souvenirs and mementos. This display case represents the contents of a Nescafe coffee glass jar from the 1970’s. The contents are a curious and eclectic mix. Bertha was neither a hoarder nor an obsessive-compulsive. She just cherished collections of neatly ordered items that were interesting. Some house wall spaces displayed items floor to ceiling, with just enough space between each item to make it stand individual and interesting.

I found this grouping interesting enough to preserve each individual item in one display case. The focal point of the grouping is four Nazi German pins with Swastikas. Many young men and women of Bonneauville fought in WWII (Ref. Cat. No. 2001-02). Bertha’s brother-in-law, (Ambrose’s brother Simon C. Myers) died at a general store in Bonneauville, from complications of gas attacks in WWI. ( Ref. "Bonneauville History and Lore", 2nd ed., page 275.)Two or three of Bertha's sons-in-law served during WWII. Still, the origin of the Nazi pins in her collection is unclear.

L. to R. from the top are:

German WWI Iron Cross with Swastika.

German WWII 1939 Iron Cross Spange.

German Cap Eagle with Swastika.

German Wound Badge, Black, With Swastika. (For one or two combat wounds.)

During the mid-19th Century Ambrose and Bertha Myers were members of St. Joseph’s Beneficial Society in Bonneauville. The Great Depression had taken a toll on local citizenry. The group’s mission was primarily to support members of the area suffering financial hardship. A membership pin is here contained. (An identical pin can be found at Cat. No. 2009-07).

There are several tokens. One from; “The Great Hagerstown Interstate Fair and Horse Show” of 1912. Hanover and McSherrystown Bus Company tokens and others are also represented.

Ambrose was a charter member of the Bonneauville Fire Company and it was on his (earlier his father Cletus Myers’) farm, that the first fire station was constructed around 1924( 19 E. Hanover St.). As Ambrose aged, serving as a fire policeman was his contribution to fire emergencies. His “Charter Member, Adams County Fire Police” pin is included here.

Two USMC emblem pins were likely those of Bertha and Ambrose’s youngest child, Howard Myers, who served in the Corps around the time of the Korean War. Two “OPA Red Point” war ration tokens would have been used during the WWII rationing period. See Cat. No. 2018-05 for Myers WWII Ration booklets.

About 50 percent of this collection is coat buttons. Most of them are from military uniforms that span about a century. There are religious oriented buttons, a “Union Pacific” one, and several others.

An unused Catholic War Veterans badge shares space with foreign coins and pins.

Photograph: Image  Image