In 1933, the Williams College Society of Alumni and the Alumni Loyalty Fund contracted with the Wedgwood Company to produce a series of 12 commemorative plates depicting Williams College, Massachusetts scenes. This design shows "Lasell Gymnasium" on a scalloped edged dinner sized (11" inches across) porcelain plate in the red transferware "Mulberry" color, circa 1936. It is in excellent condition; no cracks or chips, with age-appropriate crazing for a 78 year old plate.
"In 1886 the Lasell family, at the cost of $50,000, furnished one of the best gymnasiums in the state. It is of the native stone and furnished with all the appliances for harmonious physical development." (A Brief College History by Rev. Eben Parsons). Factoring in 128 years of inflation, that would be $1.2 million dollars today!
The border is the same for each of the twelve plates, comprising a panorama of the mountains surrounding Williamstown, Mass. The motto of the College is also included: E Liberalitate E. Williams Armigeri, which translates roughly as " through the generosity of E. Williams, soldier."
Williams College received their Wedgwood plates from February, 1934 (blue) to June, 1936 (Mulberry color).
The order was made through a Boston company called "Jones, Mc Duffey and Stratton" and their small, round mark is printed on the reverse of the plates. The plates are also printed "Wedgwood, Etruria, England" and "Made in England". Also, factory number "8A44" and "Wedgwood" are impressed/stamped on the back of the plate. DRCC 56-2014
NOTE: I have 7 of the 12 plates from the Williams College series. Three are listed in my Ruby Lane shop; in very good to excellent condition. The remaining 4 (with some noticeable chips) will be listed online at some point: Haystack Monument (7A44), Griffin Hall (OC or G 44), West College in 1790 (6W45), and Portrait of Mark Hopkins (11A33). Please inquire if you are interested.
Bit O'History: Wedgwood has produced commemorative transferware "Queensware" formula plates for the American market for more than a century, for everything from special events to historic places, as well as sets for colleges and universities. Wedgwood issued its first set of College Plates in 1927, 12 views of Harvard University in blue. For the Williams College plates, the first 250 sets sold bore the signature of President Harry Hopkins on the reverse of each plate. Each set was originally priced to sell for $16.00 in 1934-36.
A commemorative plate is a type of dishware that celebrates an important event, person or place. All types of dishware, particularly ones made from porcelain, were originally displayed in many noble homes around Europe for their beauty and rarity. Eventually, commemorative dishware came on the scene and people starting collecting them, becoming all the rage throughout Europe and eventually the rest of the world.
Item ID: RL-4287
An Ocean of Vintage Jewels ~ Rare and Designer-signed
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