USS “Birmingham” Punch Service

The custom of honoring newly christened ships of the U.S. Navy with elaborate silver services began in the late 1880s. This so-called “presentation silver” was not purchased by the Navy, but donated by citizens of the states and cities for which the ships were named. The cruiser USS Birmingham was launched on May 29, 1907. […]

Punch Bowl

This elaborate punch service, decorated with sinuous grapevines, bears the monogram of Olive Leeper Nelson (1871-1950) of Birmingham. In the late 1870s, influenced by Japanese decorative arts, American silver manufacturers began using naturalistic motifs in their designs. Indeed, a factory record book for Gorham from about 1877 notes that the “Japanese style” grape “has a beautiful […]