The Badges Collection is comprised of approximately 1,000 objects. This collection includes various types of ribbons, badges, and pins, depicting a broad variety of events and affiliations. The most prominent categories of badges are fire department badges (worn at events, not worn as part of the uniform) and political badges.
The collection includes excellent examples of ornate badges that often include a central medal with ribbons, photos, names depicted on metal charms, and metal tassels; amongst these are Tammany Sachem badges, and fire badges with hanging charms such as lanterns and buckets. Additionally, there are political buttons and pins, intramural sports association ribbons, literary society ribbons, badges worn at opening ceremonies such as that for the Brooklyn Bridge and Croton Aqueduct, and funerary ribbons worn for Presidents Lincoln and Grant. While the collection is strongest in the mid-late 1800’s and early 20th century, it contains more contemporary content, including a small selection of “counter-culture” pins from the 1960’s protesting the war, and political buttons dating up through the late 20th century. This collection provides a glimpse into allegiances of New Yorkers, highlighting the city’s strong history of social and political consciousness.