UNCG staff recently asked the vintage tableware experts at Replacements, Ltd. to help them learn more about a commemorative plate that features a luxurious period depiction of campus architecture.
“We still have a few of (those) plates in stock,” said marketing and media relations manager Keith Winkler. A limited number are even available for purchase on their site. Their curating team receives 9,000 requests monthly to identify unique and older patterns.
Journalist Jim Scholsser in a 2003 News & Record article reported on the Woman’s College commemorative pieces, with Foust Building in the center and five other notable campus buildings inset around the perimeter. Produced by Adams China, they were sold at The Corner on Tate Street between 1955 and 1970. He interviewed UNCG professor emerita Kate Barrett, who’d collected 44 dinner and 12 salad plates for the University.
“Prior to the 19th century, plates were primarily used as a utensil for holding and serving food,” says Steve Hyatt, curator at Replacements, Ltd. “It was not until the mid to late 1930s that collectible commemorative plates became popular in the United States.”
UNCG’s Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives has samples of several varieties of commemorative plates from the Woman’s College era. In addition to the Adams China pieces, there are plates that feature the Alumni House produced by English earthenware makers Wedgwood circa 1940.