This is a collar stud. A man used a collar stud (also known as a collar button) to secure the ends of a detachable collar to each other and to his shirt. The flat, “button” part of the collar stud, in this case made of white mother-of-pearl, lies inside the shirt and collar, against one’s neck. The round end of the collar stud pushes through the layers of shirt and collar and protrudes to the exterior.
This pair of monogrammed 14k gold cufflinks, and the collar button above, belonged to James Love. James was born in 1886 and wore these jewelry pieces in the early 1900s. He farmed the homeplace his grandfather established in 1830 in Quercus Grove, a community in Hamel Township, Madison County, Illinois. James and his sisters also created a showpiece garden of native flowers.
Cufflinks came in several different styles. When James Love wore the cufflinks above, he would thread the curved arm through the cuff buttonholes so that the monogrammed face would appear on the side of the cuff facing the public. The plainer, lozenge-shaped backing would be on the side of the cuff that faced him.
The bullet-shaped toggle backings on the cufflinks shown below swivel to make them easier to thread through the cuff buttonholes.
Two-piece, snap-style cufflinks provided identical decorative faces on both side of the cuff. Unfortunately one could easily lose half of a cufflink, rendering the remaining half useless. That’s probably what happened to the purple guilloché enamel cufflink below right.
Chain-style cufflinks also had two decorative faces. The chain connecting the faces prevented losing one of the faces, but they were trickier to use.
Tuxedo shirt studs
Arthur Robert Rich (known as Robert) wore the chain-style cufflinks above with a set of matching shirt studs, shown below. The jewelry ensemble accented his tuxedo.
In the Victorian Era, men and women both adhered to strict fashion codes. Propriety dictated specific attire for each time of day and type of activity. The tuxedo, also known as the English dinner jacket, started out as semi-formal wear. Invented in the 1880s, it was named after Tuxedo Park, a summer resort in New York. A man could wear a tuxedo for evening parties or dinner at a friend’s house, as long as women were not present. Otherwise, he needed to wear a full dress coat with tails. The tuxedo didn’t become acceptable formal evening attire until the 1910s.
Robert was born in 1909, just when the tuxedo became a wardrobe staple for men. Robert started out as a tester at the Shell Oil refinery in Wood River, Illinois, working his way up to foreman by the late 1960s. His wife donated two sets of matching tuxedo studs and chain-style cufflinks (including the set shown here) to the Madison County Historical Society in 1988.
Today most men don’t own a tuxedo. Many men only wear a tuxedo once in their life – at their wedding – and choose to rent the tuxedo and its accompanying jewelry. But in the past, when men wore tuxedos fairly frequently to evening dinners and parties, it made sense to own your own.
A tie clip keeps the bottom length of tie hidden under the top part. It also attaches the tie to one’s shirt so that the tie doesn’t hang down when the wearer bends over. Basically a tie clip keeps one’s tie neat and tidy. In the photographs below, the wearer on the left has successfully implemented his tie clip. The wearer on the right demonstrates an example of ineffective tie clip use.
Sources consulted for this article include Wood River (Illinois) and Edwardsville (Illinois) city directories, United States census records, and the following additional sources:
Gernsheim, Alison. Victorian and Edwardian Fashion: A Photographic Survey. New York: Dover Publications, 1981. Available at the Madison County Archival Library.
Maclochlainn, Jason. The Victorian Tailor: An Introduction to Period Tailoring. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 2011. Available at the Madison County Archival Library.
Moorhead, Katharine. History of Quercus Grove Community. Manuscript. May 27, 1973. Madison County Historical Society.
Rosinos, J.G.E. Show Garden in the Country. Manuscript. Circa 1959. Madison County Historical Society.
Walkup, Fairfax Proudfit. Dressing the Part: A History of Costume for the Theatre. Rev. ed. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1950. Available at the Madison County Archival Library.
Weinstein, Robert A., and Larry Booth. Collection, Use, and Care of Historical Photographs. Nashville: American Association for State and Local History, 1978. Available at the Madison County Archival Library.