Competitions for Spring 2018

In Memoriam

Alexandria L. “Tessie” Vitomski

Alexandria L. “Tessie” Vitomski, 94, passed July 22, 2010 at the Compassionate Care Hospice, Wilmington, Delaware.  Her funeral service was held at the Clayton & McGirr Funeral  Home, Freehold Township, with interment at the Old Tennent Cemetery, Manalapan.

She was born in 1916 in New York City.  Prior to her move to Delaware, Tessie lived in Elizabeth and Englishtown, later becoming a 30-year resident of The Villages in Howell Township.

Button and Quilting Hobbies:  Tessie was a long-time button dealer, who collected buttons for more than 40 years.  She was a member of the Jersey Shore Button Club and New Jersey State Button Society.

Additionally, she was an avid quilter and member of the Molly Pitcher Stitchers (MPS) in Freehold, whose mission is to educate members and quests about quilting, as well as supply quilts to local charities, including “premie” quilts to hospitals, pillowcases to aid children with cancer, and quilt dresses for dolls and Teddy bears given to the Salvation Army.  The MPS meet monthly at the Neff Chapel at Old Tennent Cemetery.   Mrs. Vitomski was predeceased by her husband, Frank, and a sister, Helen Beksi.

She is survived by three daughters, Alexandria Vitomski of San Anselmo, California,  Patricia Vistein of Belmar, NJ, and Virginia Sachs of Wilmington, Delaware; six grandchildren, Jon and Anton Ennik, Nancy Martter, Paula Reese, Brian and Gregory Sachs, six great grandchildren, and two brothers: John Lowsky of Charlottesville, Virginia, and George Lowsky of Sarasota, Florida.

Memorial contributions can be made to the Compassionate Care Hospice, 5610 Kirkwood Highway, Wilmington, DE 19808. (Reference:

 

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In Memoriam

In Memoriam: Alvia Disbrow Martin

Alvia Disbrow Martin, 85, of Cheesequake passed September 3, 2009 at the Bayshore Community Hospital with her family by her side.

  Buttons:  Alvia Martin served as president of the New Jersey State Button Society (NJSBS) from 1983 – 85, and president of the Jersey Shore Button Club.  She was a NJSBS life member, and member of the National Button Society.

Button Collection being auctioned:   Her button collection will be sold at auction on June 12 and 13, 2010 in Batavia, NY, by MBA Page Button Auctions.

Work Background:  Born in Keyport, a small New Jersey shore town, Alvia was a graduate of Keyport High School and the school of nursing at Jersey City Medical Center, from which she graduated with honors as registered nurse (RN). In World War II, she served in The Public Health Nurse Corps, during which time she met her future husband, Ebner Roger Martin, at a USO Dance in Perry Point, MD.  In 1948, they moved to Old Bridge.  Mr. Martin passed away in 2003 at the age of 82. He was a Navy veteran and a retired NJ State Trooper.

Mrs. Martin worked at three medical facilities:  Riverview Hospital in Red Bank, when it was located in a Victorian house; Marlboro Mental Hospital, and the VA Hospital in Menlo Park.  She was also a member of The Harvard University Nurses’ Health Study, which was begun in 1976 to investigate potential long-term consequences of the use of oral contraceptives.  The study soon expanded “to include diet and nutrition in recognition of their roles in the development of chronic diseases.  The research continues today with over 116,000 women enrolled in the study,” according to the Health Study Internet Website.

Mrs. Martin is survived by her daughter, Susan Martin Maffei of Inwood, NY; two sons who live in Cheesequake:  Roger Foster Martin and Gary Alan Martin and his wife Stacy; six grandchildren and three great grandchildren, and a predeceased son, James Clifton Martin of Manahawkin.

Alvia Disbrow Martin, 85, of Cheesequake passed September 3, 2009 at the Bayshore Community Hospital with her family by her side.

  Buttons:  Alvia Martin served as president of the New Jersey State Button Society (NJSBS) from 1983 – 85, and president of the Jersey Shore Button Club.  She was a NJSBS life member, and member of the National Button Society.

Button Collection being auctioned:   Her button collection will be sold at auction on June 12 and 13, 2010 in Batavia, NY, by MBA Page Button Auctions.

Work Background:  Born in Keyport, a small New Jersey shore town, Alvia was a graduate of Keyport High School and the school of nursing at Jersey City Medical Center, from which she graduated with honors as registered nurse (RN). In World War II, she served in The Public Health Nurse Corps, during which time she met her future husband, Ebner Roger Martin, at a USO Dance in Perry Point, MD.  In 1948, they moved to Old Bridge.  Mr. Martin passed away in 2003 at the age of 82. He was a Navy veteran and a retired NJ State Trooper.

Mrs. Martin worked at three medical facilities:  Riverview Hospital in Red Bank, when it was located in a Victorian house; Marlboro Mental Hospital, and the VA Hospital in Menlo Park.

She was also a member of The Harvard University Nurses’ Health Study, which was begun in 1976 to investigate potential long-term consequences of the use of oral contraceptives.  The study soon expanded “to include diet and nutrition in recognition of their roles in the development of chronic diseases.  The research continues today with over 116,000 women enrolled in the study,” according to the Health Study Internet Website.

Mrs. Martin is survived by her daughter, Susan Martin Maffei of Inwood, NY; two sons who live in Cheesequake:  Roger Foster Martin and Gary Alan Martin and his wife Stacy; six grandchildren and three great grandchildren, and a predeceased son, James Clifton Martin of Manahawkin.

Jersey Shore Button Club members, mid 1980’s. Left to Right: Ann Wilson, Tessi Vitomski, Annette Titmus, Vivian Baird, Marilyn Jost and Alvia Martin.

    Volunteer work:  Mrs. Martin’s great passion was local history. For 41 years she served as  curator of The Thomas Warne Historical Museum & Library, run by the Madison Township Historical Society (MTHS).  She resigned from this position in 2006.  An expert on local pottery, she authored a book in 1979 about Old Bridge Township, entitled “At the Headwaters of the Cheesequake Creek.”  Later, she co-authored with Michael Launay, MTHS vice president, a second book about Old Bridge Township, entitled “Old Bridge.”

    Thomas Warne Historical Museum & Library:  Thomas Warne was one of the 24 original proprietors of  “East Jersey” in the Raritan Bay area.  In 1682, he and his father purchased 1000 acres of land between the Cheesequake and Matawan creeks.  This acreage, originally called Madison Township, is today’s Old Bridge Township.    In 1820, a one-room schoolhouse, the Cedar Grove School, was built on two acres of the Warne property, to educate first through eight-grade students.  When a new school was constructed 65 years later, the one-room schoolhouse was moved to an adjoining farm.  Today, the Cedar Grove School building is home to The Thomas Warne Historical Museum & Library, run by the Madison Township Historical Society.

Located at 4216 Route 516 (Old Bridge Matawan Road), Matawan, NJ 07747, the museum contains contains many original schoolhouse elements–desks, slate blackboards and a  pot-bellied stove used for heating–in addition to old maps, early photographs and genealogy data.  Further acquisitions include a 1912 movie, a wax cylinder gramophone, various pottery and beach artifacts as well as Native American artifacts.  Local tours can be arranged by telephoning (732) 566 – 2108.

From the Star Ledger

 “When you’re hooked on buttons, it takes keen eye and dedication”
By Lois Maples 

The Sunday Newark Star Ledger, January 1, 1989

During the 19th century there was the romantic notion that if a young girl strung 1,000 buttons onto a string, the next eligible young man to make his appearance would be her husband.

These strings of buttons were called “charm strings.”   Alvia Martin of Old Bridge Township already had a husband when she began her charming string, but she has the string and hundreds upon hundreds more buttons than the number required for the string.

In her 15 years of serious button collecting, Martin has assembled buttons of all descriptions, ages, and materials.

“Button collecting involves a little bit of everything–history, archeology, art, metallurgy, ceramics, textiles and crafts,” she said.  “I have a little bit of everything in my collection, although many people specialize.”

Over 400 categories of collecting are defined by the National Button Society which also regulates the size and types of the “trays” and “cards” upon which they must be displayed at the society’s annual shows and conventions. They are categorized by names such as “butterflies,” “heads of famous people,” “Confederate military buttons,” or by material (such as glass or steel) or by size.

“I like everything.” Martin said.

She is a past president of the New Jersey State Society and also of her local group, the Jersey Shore Button Club, both affiliated with the National Button Society.  She is also curator of the Thomas  Warren (Warne) Historical Museum and Library of Old Bridge Township, and often lectures to clubs and groups about buttons.

She maintains that button collecting is a relatively inexpensive hobby made all the more popular because the collection takes up very little room.  Trays of buttons can be displayed on the wall or stowed away in large boxes.  They don’t easily break and usually don’t easily deteriorate.

Her collection includes military buttons and commemorative buttons,glass buttons and steel buttons.  There are diminutive glass shoe buttons and decorative Limoges buttons from France,  Satsuma buttons from Japan, wooden buttons from Russia and “Bethlehem pearl” buttons from Israel.  There are buttons from the pre-revolutionary war era and buttons made by contemporary craftsmen.

There are buttons with secret compartments called “smuggler’s buttons” which Martin says have been around for centuries.  Soldiers in the Civil War carried gold coins in them in order to buy favors should they be captures.  World War I soldiers carried diamonds and precious gems, spies carried poison, and World War II fliers carried compasses in case they were shot down.

“I suspect they are used even today in the smuggling of cocaine,”Martin said.

Gold and silver buttons were quite common among the wealthy she said, and were often passed own along in wills.  She noticed that Philip Ringo, for whom the New Jersey town of Ringoes was named,made mention in his will of “the gold and silver buttons being now attached to my britches.”

New Jersey was one of the button-making centers during the 19th century when there were over 40 button manufacturers in the state, the majority located in Newark making pearl buttons.  William Crompton of Burlington was one of the state’s earliest button makers, specializing in military buttons in the early 1800s.

Martin  recalled that the Goodyear Company (Novelty Rubber Company, using the Goodyear patent) in the New Brunswick area once made hard rubber buttons and that the old January Button Company, also in New Brunswick, was eventually taken over by Johnson & Johnson.

She explained that regardless of predictions, the zipper has never been able to replace the buttons.

Shows

A Button Show for Children and Adults

Ariana Brandes with Elena Ibenez

Children and the buttons they love will be the theme for the New Jersey State Button Society Show and Competition on Saturday, September 8.  At 11 a.m. Susan Infosino leads a free hands-on program for children, “Kids & Buttons: Collecting That’s Beyond Fun,” as part of the New Jersey State Button Society (NJSBS) Show and Competition. At 2 p.m. Jane Albanowski and Sara Mulford will present a program for adults, “A Fun Collectible for Children and Adults – Realistics Through the Years.” 

To learn about the competitions for fall and spring, click here.

Open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., the button show is at the Union Fire Company fire hall, 1396 River Road (Route 29), Titusville, NJ 08560, and there is plenty of free parking. Admission is $2 for adults, free for children and teens to age 17. For information, contact Cynthia Bartlett at 732-356-4132 or buttonsinnewjersey@gmail.com

The “Kids and Buttons” program is for ages four and beyond. “While providing children with a large assortment of buttons to select from and assemble on a beginner collector card, I will share — with the accompanying adults — activities that promote learning and social skills,” says Infosino. Known as “Susie Buttons,” the Hunterdon County resident is a wife, mom, and early childhood educator by day, devoted button collector/crafter when time allows. Christine Gudrian, a Forked River resident who owns Christine’s Collectibles in Smithville, will supply some of the buttons for this program.

Realistic buttons are shaped like the animals or objects they represent. When the Depression opened, women were still sewing their clothes and buttons were an obvious part of clothing apparel,” says Albanowski. “However, as the lean years continued and the country entered into WWII, women began to work in factories. There was far less time to sew clothes at home. Buttons aimed for children now took on a new form: realistic–to appeal to as toys when little else was available.”

Members of the NJSBS share an interest in studying, collecting, and preserving clothing buttons, both old and new. The show attracts antique enthusiasts, quilters, crafters, re-enactors, and those seeking special buttons to wear. Says Infosino: “Thanks to buttons I have met the nicest people and experienced innumerable hours of creative escape!”

For the spring show, members enter judged competitions. Competitions in the fall are judged by popular vote and are more relaxed. One challenge involves illustrating a poem from Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses. Another award calls for finding picture buttons that illustrate the letter “C. To learn about the competitions for fall and spring, click here.

The Union Fire Company & Rescue Squad building is located at the intersection of Route 29 and Park Lake Avenue in Titusville, opposite the Delaware River and D&R Canal State Park (with easy access to the canal park), a half mile north of Washington Crossing State Park in Hopewell Township, and some five miles south of Lambertville and New Hope, PA

In Memoriam

In Memoriam: Anne W. Flood

                                 1914-2013

Anne Flood, author of the 50-Year Index to National Button Society Bulletins Volumes 1 to 49 (1942) to 50 (1991) and the Index to National Button Society Bulletins, Volume 51 (1992) – Volume 60 (2001), died peacefully on September 29, 2013.

Anne Flood, nee Walker, was born in Painted Post, New York. Anne was a graduate of the New Jersey State Normal School. She received a Bachelor of Science Degree and Master’s Degree in Elementary Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.

At the end of World War II, Anne joined the American Red Cross, with assignments in Japan and the Philippines. She spent three years teaching English in Venezuela where she met John Allen Flood whom she married in 1950. Anne was a teacher in New Jersey for 34 years. At age 94 she was still teaching English to foreign sudents at the YMCA. She was past president of the Professional Educators Organization (P.E.O.) Group in New Jersey. Anne loved to play Scrabble and bridge. She was the historian and choir member of the United Methodist Church in Summit.

In 2010, at the age of almost 96, Anne moved to Vermont to be closer to her family, the loves of her life, which included her daughter, four grandchildren, six great-grandsons, and many nieces and nephews. She is also survived by her sister, Margaret Dickerson, and a stepdaughter-in-law, Sheila Flood.

Anne joined the National Button Society in 1956 and became a Life Member in 1966. She was a Life member of the New Jersey Button Society and its president from 1975-77, a member of the Central Jersey Buttoniers and a cherished member of Button Friends of New Jersey. She kept in touch after her move to Vermont. Anne enjoyed changing her 16 trays on the den wall every few months, and her knowledge of buttons was vast. Button friends were still calling her for assistance. She kept records to perfection, and always had something for the caller.