Fremont County, Iowa

by Evelyn Birkby

View from the Attic ~ A Weekly Series
Fremont County Historical Society
Week of 30 June 2008

What do we know about buttons? They are fasteners that hold our clothes together and they can look pretty, so are used, sometimes, for decoration. We can buy them in fabric stores, department stores and in antique shops or find them in Grandma’s sewing basket.

But where, when and how did buttons begin? How did their use develop down through the centuries. In some eras even the men had fancy buttons decorating their shirts and coats. And I understand the first use of buttons on sleeves was to keep their wearers from wiping their noses on their sleeves.

The entire story of buttons is fascinating, and Lorraine Irvin, the Button Lady, will tell that story at the Fremont County Museum on July 6th.

Lorraine says that everyone will enjoy her story telling; men, women, and children. She will have her own great collection of buttons on display, she’ll talk about the history of buttons, how they evolved, how they were made, and the many ways in which they have been used through the centuries. She will sing songs about buttons, teach us games about buttons and see that everyone has a rip-snortin’-good time together.

The story of buttons is fascinating because everyone has them on their clothes, unless you are a member of the hook and eye religious organization, that is. Maybe Lorraine will tell us why this group does not use buttons on their clothes.

A portion of the historical museum button collection will be on display. You can bring buttons from your own collection and Lorraine will appraise their value--just like Antique Road Show! Indeed, the winner of the 2005 Antiques Roadshow Collector of the Year was Anne Blight, a champion button collector.

The history of anything as simple as buttons can be really fascinating. They are something we use every day and think little about. Once you hear Lorraine tell about buttons you will never look at your useful ones at home the same again.

The lobby where the program will be held is air-conditioned, so it will be a comfortable place to spend a July 6th afternoon. Refreshments will be served and the word is out that even the cookies will look like buttons. Big ones, of course. The museum will open at 1:00, and visitors are welcome to come and view the displays as they are now, learn about the changes being made and see the floor plans for the remodeling project. The Fremont County Historical Museum is on the east side of the square in Sidney, Iowa. It will be open every Sunday through Rodeo from 1 to 4 with special open hours during the Rodeo. After Rodeo the museum will be closed, except for genealogy research, for remodeling.

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Page updated on November 1, 2020 by Karyn Techau