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Watson "Woman's Benefit Association" Sterling Silver Souvenir Spoon

Watson "Woman's Benefit Association" Sterling Silver Souvenir Spoon
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This 5 5/8" long, .8 T. oz., spoon speaks to the history of women's social and economic empowerment in the United States.

Made by Watson, whose "crown, W, lion" emblem, "Sterling," and "W&H Co.," appear on the backside, it commemorates the "Woman's Benefit Association."

Information about this organization, now the "Woman's Life Assurance Society," founded in Port Huron, Michigan in 1891 by Bina M. West when she was merely 24 years old, is readily available on the internet and makes for an engaging read.

The roots of this organization were visionary and decidedly progressive, with a related sense of stridency clearly reflected in the imagery on this piece.

The main subject features a female figure in protective stance, with sword in hand and clutching a young girl against her. She evokes a sense of Columbia or Athena and conveys a sense of great strength and resolve.

She is surrounded by a leafy arch and draped flag, all above an orb. This symbolism is more typically reserved for male figures such as the emperor Caesar or founding father George Washington, and would seem to claim commensurate authority to this woman's organization at a time when, i.e. the early 1900s, such assertions were audacious.

The central part of the handle is open and contains the conjoined letters "WBA."

Well-crafted and never monogrammed or inscribed, this remains in immaculate condition, showing neither wear nor damage, and having a bright finish.

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