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American Decorative Arts
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Maker: James Ladd, active ca. 1818 - 1832
Honorand: Jacob Baush, American, 1781–1833

Badge of the New York Nautical Institution for Jacob Baush



3 3/4 × 3 7/8 in. (9.525 × 9.843 cm)
Josephine Setze Fund for the John Marshall Phillips Collection
The New York Nautical Institution and Shipmaster’s Society was one of the many organizations that sprang up in early nineteenth-century America to foster professionalism in various trades. It was founded in 1820 “for the promotion of maritime knowledge, and the extension and diffusion of nautical science generally, as well as for benevolent purposes.” Its initial membership was focused on the port of New York, but it apparently broadened its scope soon after its founding. This badge is dated 1821 and is engraved with the name Jacob Baush, a ship captain who sailed out of Philadelphia. The number 142 on the front of the badge is presumably Baush’s membership number. The New York Nautical Institution had significant presence at the time it was founded and is recorded as one of the societies that participated in the elaborate celebration for the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825. Given the institution’s role in cultivating the navigational sciences, it is fitting that the badge is in the form of a sextant, a navigational tool used to measure the altitude of a celestial object above the horizon.
Made in New York, New York
On view
19th century

Private collection; sold Christie's, New York, 22 January 1993, lot 52; collection of Stanley Paul Sax by 1998; sold Sotheby's, New York, Estate of Stanley Paul Sax, 16-17 January 1998, lot 93; collection of J. Wells Henderson by 2007


“Acquisitions 2009,” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2009): 129, 131, ill.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.