Victorian Sterling Ketcham McDougall Thimble, Size 9
Most Ketcham & McDougall thimbles are in the hands of collectors these days. This thimble comes to us from the estate of Ms. Mary Marta Votaw. The thimble originally belonged to her mother who was a seamstress. Mary was daughter to Marta and Wallace Votaw; born in Marshall, Texas on October 23, 1916. She and her siblings grew up in Dallas, Texas. Mary was excited to be one of the first women to start a career in the CIA and help the war effort. She took her Civil Service entrance exam as soon as her parents allowed. She headed to Washington, where she was one of the first five women to receive national security clearance and was sent abroad. She lived in Italy, France, Spain and spent time in Israel working on assignments. She spent her whole career working for the Pentagon before retiring in 1971. She then moved to Austin, Texas to be near her sister and brother-in-law, Diana and Wendell Larson. Her second career was volunteering for Seton Hospital and traveling the world. Ms. Votaw never married or had children, but enjoyed her nieces and nephews in her later years. On November 18, 2010, Ms. Votaw passed in Austin, Texas.
The thimble is in working order, but does show some wear (please view photos.) There is an area that has been rubbed down a bit and a small crack to one edge. It is also out of round, but NO major breaks, cracks or dents (priced accordingly.) It is an unmarked piece but has a readily used Ketcham & McDougal band design. It is one of there early items from the mid to late 1800's.
Established in 1832, they were referred to as 'The Thimble House' because their business was pretty much limited in the specialty of that sewing necessity; producing nearly two-thirds of all the marked American thimbles. They then expanded to retractable pencil jewelry and and functional silver items. They opened a manufacturing location in East Orange, New Jersey in 1939 and eventually closed in 2003.
* Solid Sterling Silver (tested)
* Maker Ketcham & McDougall
* Size 9
* 3/4" inch tall
* 3.04 grams
* c. 1840's-1890's