Limited Edition Silver Buckle Press Posters – Grab a piece of UW-Madison History with posters from the one and only Silver Buckle Press. Three designs available. Limited quantities.
In the early years of the University there was a great deal of class rivalry, especially between the freshman and sophomore classes. Canes were a fashionable item in the 1890s and were usually prohibited from freshmen. There were many “traditions” about what freshmen could and couldn’t do, e.g. from the 1904 alumni magazine:
I. No freshman shall smoke a pipe or be seen to carry a pipe when on the street or outdoors within the city of Madison.
2. No freshman shall carry a cane or walking stick at any time, unless such cane or stick is necessary because of injuries making it impossible for him to walk without the aid of such cane or stick.
3. No freshman shall wear any derby or stiff hat whatever during the year until May 1, save only upon ‘prom’ night.
4. No freshman or sophomore shall under any circumstances whatever sit upon the fence in front of the gym. This rule applies to all freshmen and sophomores without exception.
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The original collection was put together by Robert Shaftoe (1921-1972). Shaftoe was an art director at the Ford Motor Company, and a hobby printer. He named his press “Silver Buckle” after the nursery rhyme, Bobby Shaftoe. It begins “Bobby Shaftoe’s gone to sea, silver buckles on his knee.”
In 1973 the Silver Buckle Press was purchased from Robert Shaftoe’s estate by the University of Wisconsin libraries, upon the urging of Professor Walter Hamady (now retired) of the University of Wisconsin–Madison Art Department.
When the Silver Buckle Press came to UW-Madison, it was set up by the libraries as a working museum. The museum part of that description refers to the preservation of the Press’s distinguished holdings of type and printing equipment; the working designation describes its role in preserving the practice of printing through use of the equipment for publications and demonstrations.