Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Button Suit of Ruby Ann Kittner, c.1935


Mrs. Ruby Ann Kittner and her husband Jake lived in Clinton, Iowa during the 1930s and 1940s. It looks as if Ruby was a button collector and seamstress, and poor Mr. Kittner was her display model. What a sweetie she must have been! This suit of clothes was in our personal collection for several years, and I must say, it was probably one of the most memorable and unique folk art pieces I have ever had the privilege to own. It was THE thing people commented on the most. The suit was too small for me to ever try on, but I will tell you, it was extremely heavy. It is very rare to find a folk art object of such quality with photo documentation like this. The story goes that this was first found in a thrift store in Iowa about 10 years ago. It changed hands twice before I acquired it.

Recently, this incredible button suit was exhibited at The John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, WI. I no longer own this, it is now in another private collection.

An AM repost from 12/22/2008.

8 comments:

Linda said...

You OWNED this suit?!!
My dream has always been to buy a little black dress and COVER IT with charms--I mean, sew on charms like you used to get in gumball machines. Hundreds, thousands.

John Foster said...

I want to see you in that dress so get working on it! By the time you finish you'll be 90 and will have shrunk so plan for that.

Yep, we owned it for several years. When I first saw it, I called my wife AGAIN, said "I HAD to have it." She said "Go for it." Three or four years later, I sold it— back to the guy I bought it from. It is a powerful object. One of the most amazing things I have ever seen.

Dixie Sargent Redmond said...

I so love this suit and Ruby is amazing.

Dixie Sargent Redmond said...

P. S. Would it be possible to use the image of Ruby and husband on my blog and link to this site giving you credit?

Thanks,
Dixie

Hill Country House Girl said...

I am so excited to find your blog.I just posted about the American Antiques Show and gave this button suit as an example of the incredible folk art to be there, crediting Harvey Antiques. Dixie emailed this morning and told me she had posted about the suit and linked to me. Now, may I, too, link to you with the history? LOVE IT! thanks so much for posting this.

Design in the Woods said...

Amazing suit! What a sweet and understanding husband she had!

Skybridge Studios said...

That area along the Mississippi is so rich in button history... so many button factories were located there. Thanks for sharing the photo and the story about the Kittners.

Iduehe Udom said...

This a very interesting topic that is gainful for both males and females. I can Imagine myself being involved in this, When this topic was discussed in Faculty of Arts, University of Nigeria Nsukka http://edu.unn.edu.ng, it was said that it is possible but rare. It is worth millions of thanks that you've brought this to our door step.... I'm grateful.

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