Boston National Cat Show Medal(1878)

ArtifactSilver Award Medal, engraved
DateJanuary, 1878
ConnectionBoston National Cat Show - 1878 (USA)
CollectionThe Harrison Weir Collection
DescriptionAn engraved Silver Medal (approx 1.5 inches diameter)
Brief HistoryAwarded at the Boston Cat Show, in January 1878 to 'Ben Butler'
AcquisitionPurchased by John Smithson, for The Harrison Weir Collection, 2019.

Boston National Cat Club medal, awarded to Ben Butler, 1878
Courtesy of The Harrison Weir Inc.

The Boston Cat Shows were among the earliest in the United States which catered exclusively for cats of any and every breed. They were usually held over multiple days, to allow and cater for considerable public interaction.

The shows often featured rare and unusual breeds and/or varieties, many with unique physical traits. As early as 1878-1883, hairless cats, tailless cats, cats with folded ears, cats with extra toes, cats with three legs, etc, cats imported from other nations, and other curiosities were being found and exhibited competitively for awards.

At this specific show, which was held in the Music Hall, Boston, over six days starting Monday January 21st, 1878, the featured medal was awarded with Honourable Mention in the class for "Curiosities of Any Variety". The recipient, whose name appears on the obverse side, was a 'Cross-Eyed Cat' named 'Ben Butler'.

A copy of the show catalogue exists in the Boston Public Library, in which are listed the names of the cats in the class and their owners. In this case, we can find 'Ben Butler' listed in this class, along with the owner's details, which are given as "F.M. Babcock, 7 Water Street, Boston".

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