St. Cecilia

Brass MSBS Button from 1946

Heron in Flight







NEWSLETTER - Volume 2 Issue 4 - April 2006

A Letter from the Editor

Our March meeting was held at Ruth Leipold's house in Sanford.

Those attending were: Clayton and Dotty Locke, Mary and John Markley, Susan Brown, Evelyn Waterhouse, Jackie Neuts, Nia Cacciato, June Mitchell, Doris Brown (we were all happy to have you with us again!), Ruth Leipold, and Em Bently.

John Markley brought in a wonderful collection of Jacques Israel paperweights that he bought on ebay. The collection included correspondence that Israel held with a Miss Minor from California over a period of three years before his death. It is an astonishing, exciting, and informative collection, with Israel's early paperweights mounted on metal bases (and not as sophisticated as his later paperweights), the sulphides he worked on with "Minerva of CA," and his famous ribbon twists. There is also a face under glass similar to the three dimensional paperweights he made during his "mask" period in the 1940s.

The correspondence in this collection is as interesting and wonderful as the paperweights. Typed on an old typewriter, sentences and words run into each other with no spaces or regard for spelling; but more fun is what he had to say. By 1969 the letters were quite personal with Israel describing anecdotes from his life, and later, sadly, the illnesses that beset him before his death.

His last letters to Miss Minor, a month before he died late in 1967, were signed Jay Eye, an interesting play on the letters of his name. I have included several pictures from John's collection in the newsletter. Two are of Jacques Israel working with glass; the other is a copy of one of the letters he wrote to Miss Minor. For more information about this collection, talk to John Markley.

The button pictures above are from The Big Book of Buttons.

Egyptian Buttons

At the risk of being repetitive, I am including the following article on Egyptian buttons. Ruth Harju passed this information out at club a few months ago but not everyone may have seen it. I am doing only a brief synopsis of her original information sheet.


Egyptian buttons provide us with an endless source of pleasure with the rich variety of subjects, historical and cultural impressions. Following is information on four Egyptian topics.


Scarabeous was held sacred by ancient Egyptians as a symbol of immortality. Models were carved from steatite, schist, agate, serpentine, carnelian, alabaster, etc. They were worn as amulets, used as seals, ornaments, and buttons. Scarabs are often glass buttons with markings for the beetles' heads, thorax, and wing sheath.

Egyptian Cats

Egyptians tamed the African wild caffre cats. They were imported to Italy by Phoenicians before the Christian era and are the ancestors of our cats today. The Egyptians deified their cats and many were mummified and found in tombs and cat cemeteries. A popular Egyptian cat button is depicted below.

The Sphinx

The idea of the sphinx is believed to have been created by Cheops about 3700 BC. Some believe the head of the sphinx is a likeness of Cheops. The body, a symbol of royal dignity, expresses power and wisdom.

According to beliefs of various countries, the Sphinx is always depicted as a strange combination of human and animal features, such as the head of a human, the bust of a woman, the paws of a lion, the body of a dog, and the tail of a dragon.

The Sphinx lends itself to decorative arts and has appeared on many buttons.


Born in 1354 BC, Nefertiti was married at age 15 to the Pharaoh Akhenaton (age 16), making her queen of Egypt. She is said to be the most beautiful woman who ever lived and appears on many objects of art, including buttons.