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United Daughters of the Confederacy Medal Collection

Identifier: SC-015

Scope and Contents

United Daughters of the Confederacy Medal Collection, Circa 1899-1968, consists of a set of bronze medals donated by the Jefferson Davis Chapter No. 2173 of the United Daughters of the Confederacy that include the Southern Cross of Honor, five Crosses of Military Service from World War I to the Vietnam War, and a badge from the Twenty-Fourth Annual Convention of the United Confederate Veterans.


  • Created: 1899-1968


Conditions Governing Access

The entire collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

Biographical or Historical Information

Mrs. Mary Ann Lamar Erwin, the wife of Confederate Captain Alexander S. Erwin, was inspired by the July 20-23, 1898 Confederate Reunion at Atlanta, Georgia to honor Confederate veterans for their service. Mrs. Erwin and Mrs. Sarah E. Gabbett are credited with designing the Southern Cross of Honor. Charles W. Crankshaw of Atlanta, Georgia was chosen as the manufacturer. Crankshaw was a reputable jeweler in the Atlanta region, but he subcontracted Schwaab Stamp & Seal Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin to meet the order of 12,500 medals. The crosses that bore Crankshaw's name were actually struck by Schwaab. The medal was presented at the Sixth United Daughters of the Confederacy Convention in 1899. The first cross was bestowed to Captain Alexander S. Erwin on April 26, 1900. Later, the United Daughters of the Confederacy fired the Schwaab Stamp & Seal Company for striking the 1902-1903 convention badges that appropriated much of the Cross of Honor design without authorization. In 1904, the Daughters hired The Whitehead & Hoag Company of Newark, New Jersey to produce the medal. In all, 78,761 were produced from 1900 to 1959. The medal in the collection is one from the Crankshaw-Schwaab era (1900-1903), but it may be among the first medals because it has a pinback. It was a feature among the first medals struck.

The badge that commemorates the Twenty-Fourth Annual Reunion of United Confederate Veterans was presented to those who attended the event that took place between May 6-8, 1914 at Jacksonville, Florida. It was produced by the The Whitehead & Hoag Company of Newark, New Jersey.

In 1918, World War I began and the United Daughters of the Confederacy entered into War Relief work. It was asked of each chapter keep records of all those of Confederate lineage who had enlisted in WWI as in hopes of one day honoring their service. During the Twenty-Fifth Annual Meeting that was held between April 1-5, 1919 in Louisville, Kentucky, Mary B. Poppenheim, the President-General of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, suggested a committee be created. Its purpose would be to explore the "practicability" of awarding veterans of the American Expeditionary Forces that were descendants of Confederates "a suitable medal" that was comparable to the Southern Cross of Honor. The suggestion was given to her by Major Wallace Streater, an officer in the A.E.F. of Confederate descent. The Convention adopted the resolution and the motion was carried.

The Committee on Insignia for Confederate Descendants of the World War was created at the Twenty Fifth Convention and Mrs. W.B. Scarborough became the head of the committee. They would make their first report at a convention at Tampa, Florida on November 15, 1919. At the Twenty-Seventh Annual Meeting that was held from November 8-12, 1921 at St. Louis, Missouri, the Committee was tasked to find an artist for the medal. At the Twenty-Eighth Annual Meeting that was held from November 14-18, 1922 at Birmingham, Alabama, the Committee reported that they had taken the recommendation from the Numismatic Society of New York to select Chester Beach to design the medal and the Convention approved the motion. The Committee was authorized to order of 5,000 medals. The Medallic Art Company in New York was chosen to produce the orders.

Thursday afternoon, November 22, 1923, a cross marked by a circle as its number, was placed on the tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington, and that same evening the first two were presented to Major General Robert Lee Bullard and to Major Wallace Streater.

During Thirty-Third Annual Convention that took place in Richmond, Virginia from November 16-20, 1926, Ms. Mary Lou Gordon White of Tennessee suggested veterans of the Spanish-American War have an award similar to the Cross of Military Service with similar guidelines. At the Thirty-Fourth Annual Convention held in Charleston, South Carolina from November 15 to 19, 1927, the idea was formally approved by the Executive Committee. At the Thirty-Fifth Annual Convention held from November 20-24, 1928 at Houston, Texas, a committee was approved to prepare the rules of bestowal and recommend a design of the medal.

Mrs. Julia N. Streater, wife of Major Wallace Streater, was the chairman of the committee and submitted a report at the Thirty-Sixth Annual Convention that was held from November 19-23, 1929 at Biloxi, Mississippi. Mrs. Streater's report stated they had consulted Major A. H. Dondero of the U.S. Army Officers Reserve Corps on the design of the medal and estimated that there were 5,000 to 6,000 eligible veterans. The Committee report also suggested that veterans of the "Cuban Pacification" and the "Philippine Insurrection" be accommodated for their service. After a small debate on whether to include the "Cuban Pacification" and "Philippine Insurrection" for the same decoration or not, the report and its recommendation were adopted, seconded, and carried by the Convention.

At the Thirty-Seventh Annual Convention that was held from November 18-22, 1930 at Asheville, North Carolina, The Committee submitted a report that advised separate medals be created for the Philippine Insurrection and/or the Cuban Pacification veterans after consultations with experts. The Convention adopted these recommendations and 200 Philippine Insurrection Crosses of Military Service were ordered. The Medallic Art Company produced the crosses. The very first recipient was Major J. Russell Ingram of Florida at the Thirty-Eighth Annual Convention at Jacksonville, Florida in November 17-21, 1931.

At the Forty-Ninth Annual Convention held at St. Louis, Missouri from November 4-6, 1942, President-General Eloise W. Wright recommended a committee be created for the purpose creating a medal for veterans of the Second World War who were descendants of Confederates. Mrs. McFarland of Texas moved the recommendation for adoption, seconded by Mrs. Merchant, and the recommendation was carried. During the Fiftieth Annual Convention that took place from November 18-21, 1943 at Columbus, Ohio, the Chairman of the Committee for Securing a Military Cross for World War No. 2, Mrs. Katherine Robinson Everett, reported she had contacted Chester A. Beach regarding the design of the medal and Clyde C. Trees, the president of Medallic Art Company, regarding the production of the medal. Mrs. Merchant motioned for the recommendation of Mr. Beach's design, the Medallic Art Company produce the medal, and obtaining permission by the U.S. Government to produce the medal as the allocation of metals were for the war effort. After an argument between members at the convention regarding the medal, Mrs. Woodbury moved the decision be made at a future date and Mrs. Merchant withdrew her recommendation. Mrs. Schuyler seconded Mrs. Woodbury's motion and it was carried.

During the Fifty-First Annual Convention that took place from November 21-24, 1944 at Nashville, Tennessee, President-General Mary Hadley Woodard reported the past difficulties to unable to produce Crosses of Military Service due to restrictions on the use of metals by the Federal government because of the allocation of metals to be used for the war effort. Mrs. Woodard was confident with the war's end "imminent," restrictions would be lifted. Mrs. Everett, Chairman of the Committee on Cross of Military Service - World War No. 2, reported six design choices for the cross and the recommendation of Chester A. Beach as well as sculptor Roger Noble Burnham to use the Medallic Art Company to produce the cross. It was decided that the Committee and the Executive Board choose the design.

During the Fifty-Second Annual Convention that took place from November 21-23, 1945 at Houston, Texas, President-General Woodard reported with regulations lifted on metals on July 1, 1945, negotiations with the Medallic Art Company began with order of 5,000 medals. However, the company reported back with there would be delay due to the need for materials to produce the medals. A sketch of the final design of the cross was available for viewing at the convention. During the Fifty-Third Annual Convention that took place from November 18-23, 1946 at Jackson, Mississippi, Mrs. Cecil Brawley Long, Custodian of Crosses of Honor and Service, reported distribution of the crosses had begun and Lieutenant Commander Spencer Downs Wright was the first recipient.

During the Fifty-Eighth Annual Convention that took place November 7-9, 1951, in Asheville, North Carolina, Recorder-General of Crosses of Honor and Service Liza Ellen Carpenter recommended the Medallic Art Company be authorized to set aside bronze for 3,000 Korean War Crosses of Military Service. At the Fifty-Ninth Annual Convention that took place November 9-13, 1952 in Biloxi, Mississippi, this recommendation was changed from 3,000 to 1,000 and be ordered in lots of 250 twice a year. This extended the final payment to two years from the first shipment. The recommendation was seconded and adopted. At the Sixtieth Annual Convention that took place November 8-12, 1953 in Washington, D.C., the first cross was given to Captain James Cornelius Ruddell, Jr., and was awarded posthumously.

The Vietnam Cross was presented for the first time in 1968 at the Annual Convention in Richmond, Virginia. The first three crosses were presented to General William C. Westmoreland, Lieutenant Colonel John L. Heiss, III, and to Major James Ewell Brown Stuart, IV.


1.25 Linear Feet (1 Box)


The collection contains six bronze medals and one badge from the United Daughters of the Confederacy. The medals were created to honor either Confederate veterans for their service in the Confederate Armed Forces or their descendants who served in the United States military during the Philippine Insurrection (1899-1902), World War I (1917-1918), World War II (1941-1945), the Korean War (1950-1953), and the Vietnam War (1955-1975). The badge commemorates the Twenty-Fourth Annual United Confederate Veterans Reunion in 1914 and was given those in attendance.

Arrangement Note

The collection is arranged in the same way it was originally displayed in the shadow box.

Method of Acquisition

Jefferson Davis Chapter No. 2173 of the United Daughters of the Confederacy donated these materials to the University of Central Florida Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives in 1988 (CFM1988_01).

Processing Information

The set of medals were donated by the United Daughters of the Confederacy Jefferson Davis Chapter No. 2173 by President Mrs. Gwen Hadden, and Mrs. Robert E. Drake, the Recorder of Crosses, to the University of Central Florida Associate Dean of Library Development, Dr. W. Rex Brown, and the University of Central Florida Director of Libraries, Anne Marie Allison, during a presentation ceremony that took place May 24, 1988 at the University of Central Florida Library Special Collections Room. The medals were placed in a shadow box that included incscriptions of the medals. In 2017, Book Conservator Christopher Saclolo removed the medals from the shadow box and the medals were transferred to a more archival appropriate box. The finding aid was created by Steven Trelstad in 2017.
United Daughters of the Confederacy Medal Collection
Steven Craig Trelstad
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the UCF Special Collections Repository

Special Collections & University Archives
University of Central Florida Libraries
P.O. Box 162666
Orlando Florida 32816-2666 US
(407) 823-2576