“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Springfield in Sangamon County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)

Curran's Jewelry Shop

Curran's Jewelry Shop Marker image. Click for full size.
By Beverly Pfingsten, June 16, 2011
1. Curran's Jewelry Shop Marker
The Gregarious General Isaac B. Curran was a prominent citizen in Lincoln's Springfield. His store here on the south side of the square was a popular gathering place for Lincoln's political opponents. Curran arrived as a young silversmith from Ithaca, New York in 1840. He worked at Chatterton's for several years (where he supposedly engraved Mary's wedding ring), before setting up his own shop in competition with his former employers. Curran was only married a year when his young bride died. he did not remarry for twenty-five years, living much of that time in rooms above his store. He associated with Stephen Douglas and became his point man here at home whenever the famous Senator attended Congress. One Democratic governor appointed Curran Quartermaster General; another made him chief of staff. He lost his appointment as a federal pension official when Douglas had a falling out with President James Buchanan. Lincoln appointed Curran to a wartime diplomatic post in Germany.

Photo and Ad
(Above) The enterprising Curran once attracted curious customers by displaying a Japanese coin in his store.
(Below) An 1857 store advertisement.

Hair braiding became an important art in making certain jewelry items in Lincoln's era. Elaborate hair wreaths were hung on walls to memorialize loved ones. Brooches and funeral jewelry made from the hair of the deceased became common aspects of Victorian mourning customs. In 1860 Curran hired a Miss Summers---a "celebrated hair braider"---to work in his store. "Hitherto persons requiring such work have been compelled to send the hair to New York," Curran noted "Now it can be done here at a great saving of cost." Miss Summers boasted of 280 patterns embracing breast-pins, earrings, bracelets, fob-chains, watch guards, and finger rings. Curran promised that his "good taste, aided by that of the artiste, will insure the most graceful and fashionable work."
Marker series. This marker is included in the Looking for Lincoln marker series.
Location. 39° 48.033′ N, 89° 38.93′ W. Marker is in Springfield, Illinois, in Sangamon County. Marker is on E. Adams Street. Click for map. Between 5th and 6th Streets. Marker is in this post office area: Springfield IL 62701, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Lincoln's Dentist (here, next to this marker); Soldiers of the War of 1812 (a few steps from this marker); Soldiers of the American Revolution (a few steps from this marker); 1859-1911 (a few steps from this marker); Departure Point of The Donner Party (a few steps from this marker); President - Elect Abraham Lincoln (a few steps from this marker); Abraham Lincoln - Eighth Judicial District (a few steps from this marker); Streetscape 1859 (within shouting distance of this marker). Click for a list of all markers in Springfield.
Categories. Industry & Commerce

Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 325 times since then and 58 times this year. Photo   1. submitted on , by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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