A Royal Wedding Cockade

On a trip to England in 2012, I brought home a lovely little cream silk cockade with the Prince of Wales feathers in the center. I had no idea what it had been used for, and thought it would be fun to do a little detective work when I got home to discover its past. When I dug into its past - what a fun discovery I made!

In my research I came across this picture showing cockades similar to mine labeled as "wedding favors" from the wedding of Princess Alexandra of Denmark to the Prince of Wales in 1863. As I dug deeper, I found that this wedding was a rather romantic story.

Both Edward and Alexandra were a mere 18 years old when they married in St. George's Chapel, Windsor. They had only met a few times, but the Prince's sister knew Alexandra and thought they would be perfect for each other.

A nervous Alexandra had gone to stay with Queen Victoria, Edward's mother a short time before the wedding. But she won Victoria's heart as she had already won the Prince's and the Queen pronounced her "a pearl."

When Alexandra arrived in England at the end of February, the English people threw a great celebration. After all, a Princess of Wales is pretty rare (there have only been 11 in history)! Eighty thousand people crowded into Gravesend and delightedly watched the nervous young Prince run up the gangway and kiss his beautiful bride-to-be.

Lord Alfred Tennyson wrote a poem in honor of the occasion. Here are the final lines:

Bride of the heir of the kings of the sea - 
O joy to the people and joy to the throne, 
Come to us, love us, and make us your own: 
For Saxon or Dane or Norman we, 
Teuton or Celt, or whatever we be, 
We are each all Dane in our welcome of thee, 
Alexandra!

The music at the couple's wedding on March 10 had been composed by Prince Albert, Edward's father. Albert had died a little over a year earlier - in fact, Victoria was still in mourning and not "officially" present for the ceremony (though she watched from above the altar). Nearly everyone there became choked up and the groom was unable to do more than nod when asked if he "would have this woman to be his wife."

The bride's dress was designed by the famous Charles Frederick Worth and was covered with British-made Honiton lace. The lace had emblems of England, Ireland and Scotland in the form of roses, shamrock and thistles. The gown was the first royal wedding dress to be photographed.

In celebration of this joyous national event, ribbons and cockades were worn by everyone. Some were more elaborate than others, but all had the distinguishing mark of the Prince of Wales feathers.

These three cockades were worn in celebration of the event. Note the cockade on the far right. Does it look familiar? In fact, look at it side-by-side with my cockade.

Looks like I've found the story behind my lovely cockade! What do you think?



If you want to read more about the courtship and wedding of Edward and Alexandra, you can see articles here and here.





Announcing - South American Cockades!

There are hundreds of cockades and their accompanying stories in North American history. There are thousands of them in European history. But did you know there are also cockade stories from South America?

I've added a "South America" page to my website and will be adding new countries as I learn the history of their cockades. Here's a few highlights to wet your appetite!

Brazil

As you may know, in the 1494 Treaty of Tordesillas, the Pope divided the "New World" between Spain and Portugal. (The rest of Europe disagreed, naturally, and pretty much ignored this treaty.) The line cut through the edge of South America, which meant that for the rest of history most of South America would be Spanish-speaking, while Brazil (over the line) would speak Portuguese.

Brazil’s national cockade draws from its Portuguese history. The traditional symbol and crest of the House of Braganza is a green dragon, representing Saint George, patron saint of Portugal. Pedro I, of the House of Braganza, was Brazil’s first emperor. His wife, Maria Leopoldina, brought the color gold from the House of Habsburg. Thus, green and gold became the national colors.

On September 7, 1822, Brazil declared its independence from Portugal and became Empire of Brazil. A military coup in 1889 established the First Brazilian Republic. In order to keep a feeling of stability to the new regime, the old colors and flag were kept with slight modifications, including the addition of the color blue. So modern Brazilian cockades are green, yellow and blue.

Argentina

There are many stories about the origin of the Argentine cockade. It's possible it was inherited from the royal house of Bourbon, which has the same color scheme.

When the country revolted against Spanish rule in the early 1800s, a definitive cockade was required to distinguish freedom fighters from Spanish royalists who wore the red cockade. Eventually the Argentine cockade was standardized as light blue, white, light blue, and codified into law in 1812.

In 1935, May 18 was established as National Cockade Day, in honor of the ladies of Buenos Aires who first wore the cockade during the 1810 May Revolution.

Chile

During Chile's period of colonization by Spain in the 1600-1700s, the red Spanish cockade was the national emblem. In 1808, Napoleon installed his brother as the king of Spain, which eventually brought about a freedom movement in Chile. The nation was proclaimed an autonomous republic under Spain's protection in 1810. In 1812, a new tricolor cockade was created of white, blue and yellow. As a struggle for power continued for the next five years, the cockade went back and forth from the Spanish red to the Chilean tricolor.

Intermittent warfare continued until 1817 when Bernardo O'Higgins and José de San Martín, hero of the Argentine War of Independence, led an army that crossed the Andes into Chile and defeated the royalists once and for all. On February 12, 1818, Chile was proclaimed an independent republic.

At this point a new tricolor cockade was created of red, white and blue. In the early 20th century, a star was added in the blue center of the cockade to match the national flag.

Peru

July 28 is Peru's Independence Day in commemoration of José de San Martín's Declaration of Independence in 1821. The first flag of the Republic of Peru was officially created by General José de San Martín,on October 21, 1820. It's main colors were red and white.

Opinions vary on the symbolism of the colors. Some say San Martín took the red from the flag of Chile and the white from the flag of Argentina, recognizing the heritage of the men of the liberation army. Others believe San Martín reached into Peru's European heritage, bringing red and white from Castile and Burgundy, and red from Spain. Red was also in the royal symbol of the Inca kings.

Simón Bolivar's administration officially decreed a version of the flag from which the modern design is taken, and also established the national red and white cockade on February 25, 1825.



Useful and Appropriate: Cockades and Bazaars

Have you ever donated money to a fund that helps our soldiers and received a "Support Our Troops" ribbon to wear? Or maybe you've participated in a raffle for a donated item, knowing the raffle money was going veterans.

The idea of buying donated items at bazaars to support the troops is not new. Hundreds of these fairs were held across America during the Civil War. The simplest affairs were basic booths of items to buy. But many bazaars combined these booths with entertainment and education as well. They became great social events where participants might go to socialized, have their fortune told, hear concerts, skate on a summertime ice rink (how up-to-date and exciting!), and more.

And yes, they could buy a cockade as well!

This photo is a booth from one of the largest of these bazaars, the Mississippi Valley Sanitary Fair in 1864.

This fascinating website gives you an interactive page to see photos and read newspaper accounts of the various displays in the fair. There were vendors for everything from books to candy to furniture to art, florals, and jewelry.

The fair lasted two weeks and proceeds - over $550,000! - benefited wounded soldiers and people displaced by the war.

Useful and Appropriate

There is a fun section in Little Women that tells a fictitious story of one of these fairs. May, one of the girls in the Little Women family, has some gentleman friends who want to support her booth by buying her items. This humorous paragraph pictures the fellows' predicament as they blew their money on feminine frills - and then had no idea what to do with them!

"The Empty Purse" by James Collinson
"To May's great delight, Mr. Laurence not only bought the vases, but pervaded the hall with one under each arm. The other gentlemen speculated with equal rashness in all sorts of frail trifles, and wandered helplessly about afterward, burdened with wax flowers, painted fans, filigree portfolios, and other useful and appropriate purchases."

This painting called "The Empty Purse" or "At the Bazaar" is set a little earlier in the 1850s, but it shows us some of the many items that would have been available. A doll, some pictures, a floral arrangement, embroidered slippers waiting to be "made up," suspenders and a hat are just a few of the "novelties" the poor lady can't purchase because she apparently spent all her money!


...And Cockades!

You may be wondering what all this has to do with cockades. Well, the answer is that two of my favorite original cockades were items that were sold at just such a bazaar!


The Relic Room in Columbia, SC has a number of items related to the Grand Bazaar held at the State House in 1865. Here's a fascinating young lady's diary entry about it:

"Jan. 18th. - Well, our great bazaar opened last night, and such a jam! I was at the State house helping to arrange the tables until four o'clock so I was thoroughly tired. There are seven booths in the House (of Representatives) South Carolina, at the Speaker's desk, is the largest, and on either side are Texas, Tennessee, Virginia, Mississippi, Louisiana and Missouri. In the Senate are North Carolina, at the Desk, Arkansas, Georgia, Alabama and Florida. The tables or booths are tastefully draped with damask and lace curtains, and elaborately decorated with evergreens. To go in there one would scarce believe it was war times. The tables are loaded with fancy articles - brought through the blockade, or manufactured by the ladies. Everything to eat can be had if one can pay the price - cakes, jellies, creams, candies - every kind of sweets abound. A small slice of cake is two dollars - a spoonful of Charlotte Russe five dollars, and other things in proportion. Some beautiful imported wax dolls, not more than twelve inches high, raffled for five hundred dollars, and one very large doll I heard was to raffle for two thousand. "Why" as Uncle John says, "one could buy a live negro baby for that." How can people afford to buy toys at such a time as this! However I suppose speculators can. A small sized cake at the Tennessee table sold for seventy-five dollars."

Sherman was on the march at that point, and the diary notes that rumor said he intended to attend the Grand Bazaar himself! (No word on whether he offered to buy anything.)

In the absence of the modern government assistance we are used to, the ladies of the 1860s stepped up to provide wartime relief themselves. These fairs and bazaars were amazing monuments to the organizational powers of women - as well as to their ability to create "useful and appropriate" items for sale!



From Insurance to Empire: Cockades of Fraternal Orders

From providing life insurance for firemen to plotting a North-South American empire, fraternal organizations had a huge impact on the Victorian era.

Fraternal orders were popular from the 1700s through the early 1900s. Freemasons are probably one of the most well-known and oldest fraternal organizations (a number of American founders were Freemasons). But there were hundreds of other orders founded as well. Some were merely for socializing and financial support of the members' families. Others had deep-laid and secret plans for empire-building.

All of them had unique rites - and cockades!

Masonic Hat Cockade

Empire Building

The Freemasons claim to be the oldest order in America, starting in Europe previous to the Revolution. Contrary to popular books and movies, the Freemason society had little to do with the Revolution itself, as rebellion against the state is against the society's principles. However, Freemasonry had a great deal to do with the establishment of the new United States, as the order's ideals of freedom and equality became founding national principles.

As the young nation grew, more fraternal societies formed - and political factions formed as well. In the Nullification Crisis of the 1830s, a couple of orders in particular were created that were destined to have major impact on America's future: the Southern Rights Club and the Order of the Lone Star. One was destined to birth the secession movement, and the other won Texas from Mexico. Both of them were precursors to the Knights of the Golden Circle, an organization with mighty aims.

A Texas member of the Knights of the Golden Circle, with cockade.
DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University.

The KGC and Secession

Before the Civil War even started, the KGC had its first Confederate victory - in Texas. Trained KGC troops under the command of Col. Ben McCulloch, forced the surrender of the federal arsenal at San Antonio in February 1861.

The Knights, comprised of local chapters called "castles,"  had originally formed in order to create a southern empire including Cuba, Central America, Mexico and the Southern United States. At the outbreak of the Civil War, they abandoned this aim and instead joined forces with the Confederate army. Their influence for secession was undoubtedly major.

A fascinating (and Union-biased) "Exposition of the KGC" published in 1861 reports the following: "All the principle castles now put on their holiday garments, and men were heard in the streets to thank God that the 'hour for Southern deliverance had come.'...No sooner had the news of the election of Lincoln been received, than every Knight in Charleston mounted a cockade on his hat and ran through the streets shouting, 'GLORY! we are free! we are independent!'"

In addition to the Southern "castles," the Knights were the primary force behind many Copperhead movements throughout the North and West. In fact, Southerners planned on the aid of these Knights to quickly win the war. The "Exposition" observed:

"At no time previous to the bombardment of Fort Sumter was it presumed that the number of men to be counted on from the North would fall below 100,000 and with these, and the assistance of Northern capitalists, Northern engineers, manufacturers, etc., together with the heavy drafts to be made on the U. S. Treasury and the U. S. Arsenals, it was confidently apprehended as nothing more than a breakfast spell to 'clean out the Abolitionists,' capture the Capital at Washington, and kick Uncle Sam into nonenity."

The KGC aims died with the Southern cause, but the KGC organization lasted until the death of its members in the early 1900s.  Besides many Confederate generals and officials, famous members of the KGC included John Wilkes Booth and Jesse James.

Insurance and Social Clubs

Fraternal organizations with benign aims existed as well. After the war, a "Golden Age of Fraternalism" occurred, continuing into the early 1900s. Some sources believe that at least 50% of the male population belonged to at least one fraternal organization during this time. The goals of the orders were as varied as the orders themselves: insurance, politics, social functions, and heritage. In general, an order's aim was to provide aid and socialization for its members.

The Grand Army of the Republic was formed for Union veterans to continue their wartime camaraderie. The United Confederate Veterans served the same purpose.

The Knights of Pythias was formed for insurance and aid purposes. The Order of the Elks (now the Elks Lodge) was originally created as a social club in New York. The Woodmen of the World was an insurance and aid organization, and continues as an insurance company to this day. In addition to these well-known orders, thousands of small and local fraternities were created for socialization and aid for firemen, coal miners, factory workers, and more.
Knights of Columbus hat with cockade


The Orders Today

The Great Depression hit the fraternities hard, many people not being able to afford extras like membership fees and insurance. Then government welfare and commercial insurance companies took the place of many fraternities devoted to aid. Some dissolved and others simply turned into insurance companies themselves.

However, military and patriotic fraternities gained members during the World Wars and many continue to this day. Orders for charity and aid still exist as well, such as the Knights of Columbus or the Fraternal Order of Police.

The legacy of the Victorian orders continues through modern times in insurance companies, unions, college fraternities, and heritage organizations. And if you look at their badges and cockades, many of them still retain the original symbolism of the fraternal orders!


Temperance Cockades 1840-1860

Prior to the 19th century, drunkards were often considered hopeless addicts. And heavy alcohol consumption was considered standard behavior by many. That began to change in the early 1800s.

America was a new nation still fighting for legitimacy in the first decade of the 1800s. But once peace was established with European nations, Americans could turn their thoughts homeward and consider improving themselves.

Many of America's reform movements began in the 19th century. Temperance was no exception. Reformers and preachers began to weigh in against the sin of drunkenness and for the first time, people began to seriously consider helping alcholics beat their addiction.

Enter the Temperance Movement.

Temperance Fraternities

One of the earliest Temperance societies was the Washingtonian Society, formed by six alcoholics who decided to meet together for mutual encouragement to avoid strong drink. Their format of regular meetings to share stories and encouragement actually foreshadowed the modern Alcoholics Anonymous program.

The Washingtonians grew and their impact was huge, becoming one of the largest movements in America. Men would lecture around the country telling their own stories about what life is like when abusing alcohol, challenging their audiences to take the abstinence pledge. By 1841 Washingtonians claimed over 200,000 members, and by 1842 they had over one million. (US total population in 1842 was only 17 million)

Their success encouraged other Temperance societies such as the Sons of Temperance (and the spin-off Daughters of Temperance). These societies required their members to sign a pledge of abstinence and they worked hard to make more converts. The clubs were also fraternal in nature, meaning that they often provided health insurance and burial costs for members, as well as care for widows (assuming the member had "stayed clean!"). Newly joined addicts who had taken the pledge to abstain were often helped to find jobs and housing. Temperance fraternities were a safety net as well as a reform movement.

Son of Temperance, holding the society's
pledge and wearing the regalia with cockade.
Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library

Spreading the Movement

The cause of Temperance quickly grew and became popular throughout the country, North to South and East to West. Even in California, Temperance groups existed in the 1840s.

Though the modern stereotype of white Southerners often makes them out to be alcohol abusers, a case can be made that the movement was even stronger in the South than the North. For instance, slave states members made up 44% of the Sons of Temperance in 1850 - but note that the Sons did not admit African Americans, and the South only represented 32% of the nation's total white population.

As the movement grew, Temperance societies began to link their abstinence idealogy to religion. Unlike the Washingtonians who purposely had no religious dogma, later societies often tied a person's spirituality to their commitment to Temperance. Further, radicals in the Temperance movement began to call for Prohibition, a complete outlawing of liquor in the country.

Not only was the "gospel" of Temperance preached, it was also written. T.S. Arthur **(editor and publisher of Arther's Home Magazine) wrote a widely read book called Ten Nights in a Barroom and What I Saw There. Other authors followed suit with books, pamphlets and cartoons illustrating the evils of alcoholism.

So what happened?

The Temperance movement's first wave withered with the advent of the Civil War. The issue of slavery became more important to reformers and Temperance was given a back seat, not to be revived until the 1870s. It would be this second wave that eventually realized the goal of complete Prohibition.

Temperance Cockades

Naturally what got me interested in this fascinating episode of history was the cockades! One of my customers suggested I research the topic of Temperance rosettes. I had no idea that my research would end up answering a question I long held about one of my own photographs! I had been puzzled by this beautiful photo of a couple in regalia. After comparing the many descriptions of Temperance cockades and collars, I've come to realize that they are most likely wearing Sons and Daughters of Temperance regalia. Mystery solved!

Many of the Temperance societies had their own regalia and almost all pre-1860 societies included cockades of some sort.  Here are some examples from various society rule books.

"The members of this Association shall furnish, at their own expense, a small white silk rosette, with a blue centre, of a fixed and uniform size..."
United Brothers of Temperance, 1847

"The regalia for a member of the National Division shall be a blue velvet collar, with a rosette of red, blue and white; gold button in the centre of rosette; two gold tassels suspended from rosette..."
Journal of the Proceedings of the National Division of the Sons of Temperance, 1844

"The Independent Order of Rechabites appeared in full regalia, preceded by an excellent band of musicians. Their regalia was a white satin collar, with a rosette of white, blue and scarlet ribbon, where it united in front."
Journal of the American Temperance Union 1840s

You'll notice a common color scheme - red, white and blue cockades. A quick look at Temperance posters from the era show many of the cockades had tassels. Though they were generally worn on a special collar, at least one poster shows a lady simply wearing the cockade on her breast.


Need A Temperance Cockade?

Naturally I couldn't fail to offer my customers cockades for such a worthy cause!

If you need a Temperance cockade, or a cockade for any other worthy cause, purchase below or contact me directly for a custom order!


Cockades in the American Revolution

The American army was founded on June 14, 1775 by order of the Continental Congress. A few weeks later, George Washington was named the first Commander in Chief of the Army. His job not only included fighting the British nation from which we were seceding. He also had to take a motley assortment of state militias, privately raised regiments, and volunteers from around the colonies and meld them into one unified fighting machine.

Washington at the Battle of Princeton, by Don Troiani.
Note Washington's staff have colored cockades showing their rank

Colors for Rank

One of Washington's first orders in the summer of 1775 after taking command, was that cockades would be worn by officers to show rank. He designated that “the field officers may have red or pink colored cockades in their hats, the captains yellow or buff, and the subalterns green.” This easy and cheap method of identifying officers (instead of buying new uniforms for everyone) saved the Colonies' lean budgets.

King George III, by Sir William Beechey.
Note the black cockade on his hat

Black Cockades

America became an independent nation when we seceded from Great Britain on July 4, 1776. Before that, we were a colony of Great Britain. The cockade of King George of the House of Hanover was black. Thus the national British cockade was also black.

Even though America was at war with Great Britain, they still felt an affinity for their mother nation. After all, many of them were born there and still had relatives there. In fact, when George Washington's army was camped at Valley Forge during the winter of 1777-1778, the officers were still officially toasting King George. It was natural that an American military cockade would be the Hanoverian color black. So, after the brief period of using colored cockades for rank, the army reverted to wearing black.

George Washington, by John Trumbull.
Note the black and white cockade on his hat

Black and White Cockades

America needed allies in the war with Great Britain, then the reigning power of the seas. The United States signed the Treaty of Alliance with France on February 6, 1778 and French troops entered the American War for Independence. At first their participation was mostly on the seas, but by 1779 they were landing troops on American soil.

The national cockade of France was white. In 1780, as a symbol of the two nations’ alliance, General George Washington established that the American military cockade would be an Alliance Cockade – black with a white center. French troops likewise wore an Alliance Cockade of white with a black center.

This painting by John Trumbull shows the French troops (left) and the American troops (right) at the surrender of Lord Cornwallis - all wearing the Alliance Cockades.

The Surrender of Lord Cornwallis, by John Trumbull

A black and white Southern cockade from the Civil War.
American Civil War Museum.

Symbol of Attachment

The black and white cockade became an emblem of the American War for Independence for many years after the war ended. Even during the Civil War eighty years later, the occasional black and white cockade was worn as a reminder of America's first War for Independence.

A Philadelphia newspaper said on July 4, 1798, “It has been repeatedly recommended, that our citizens wear in their hats on the day of Independence, the American Cockade, (which is a Rose, composed of black ribbon, with a white button, or fastening) and that the Ladies should add to the attraction of their dress...this symbol of their attachment to the government.”

Mourning Cockades

Votes For Women: Suffragette Badges

On August 18, 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment became part of the U.S. Constitution. It declares: "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex."


Controversy and Division 

The movement that would create this amendment had its roots 80 years earlier. In the 1840s, the American women's rights movement began and the first women's rights convention was held in Seneca Falls in 1848. The most controversial resolution of the convention was that supporting women's suffrage. In the end, only 1/3 of the attendees signed the resolution supporting women's suffrage, in spite of the fact that people such as Frederick Douglas argued in favor of it. But as time went on, the issue became a solid plank of the women's rights movement. Two national women's suffrage organizations were eventually established in 1869. One was led by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the other by Lucy Stone. There was violent rivalry between the groups for decades.

Unity and Militancy

Eventually in 1890 the two groups joined forces under the leadership of Susan B. Anthony.

For many years, the women's suffrage movement worked through the political and court systems. But progress was slow. In 1916 the National Woman's Party was formed, a militant group that engaged in picketing, chaining themselves to the White House fence, and hunger strikes to gain attention for their cause. These methods proved effective, and the Nineteenth Amendment was passed just four years later, in 1920.

American Women's Suffragette Badges. NWHM.
Suffragette Badges

The British militant group, the Women's Social and Political Union, formed in 1908. One of the actions of the WSPU was to have a permanent affect on women's jewelry and accessories: They purposely chose a noticeable, attractive color scheme for the women's suffrage cause.

A brilliant tricolor theme was chosen for the WSPU activities. Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence, co-editor of the weekly newspaper Votes for Women, wrote in 1908:

Rosette belt. Museum of London.
Purple as everyone knows is the royal colour. It stands for the royal blood that flows in the veins of every suffragette, the instinct of freedom and dignity…white stands for purity in private and public life…green is the colour of hope and the emblem of spring.

The colours enable us to make that appeal to the eye which is so irresistible. The result of our processions is that this movement becomes identified in the mind of the onlooker with colour, gay sound, movement, and beauty.

American and British suffragette badges shared the penchant for purple, but where British ladies paired it with green, American ladies added brilliant yellow. Both color schemes fulfilled their purpose: they were noticeable!


Suffragette Cockades

Many suffragette badges were simply metal lapel pins, but some were beautiful ribbon badges. I offer both American and British suffragette badges in my shop.



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