Curran's Jewelry Shop

Curran's Jewelry Shop (HMWV6)

Location: Springfield, IL 62701 Sangamon County
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Country: United States of America
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N 39° 48.033', W 89° 38.93'

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The Gregarious General Isaac B. Curran was a prominent citizen in Lincoln's Springfield. His store here on the south side of the square was a popular gathering place for Lincoln's political opponents. Curran arrived as a young silversmith from Ithaca, New York in 1840. He worked at Chatterton's for several years (where he supposedly engraved Mary's wedding ring), before setting up his own shop in competition with his former employers. Curran was only married a year when his young bride died. he did not remarry for twenty-five years, living much of that time in rooms above his store. He associated with Stephen Douglas and became his point man here at home whenever the famous Senator attended Congress. One Democratic governor appointed Curran Quartermaster General; another made him chief of staff. He lost his appointment as a federal pension official when Douglas had a falling out with President James Buchanan. Lincoln appointed Curran to a wartime diplomatic post in Germany.

Photo and Ad
(Above) The enterprising Curran once attracted curious customers by displaying a Japanese coin in his store.
(Below) An 1857 store advertisement.

Hair braiding became an important art in making certain jewelry items in Lincoln's era. Elaborate hair wreaths were hung on walls to memorialize loved ones. Brooches and funeral jewelry made from the hair of the deceased became common aspects of Victorian mourning customs. In 1860 Curran hired a Miss Summers—-a "celebrated hair braider"—-to work in his store. "Hitherto persons requiring such work have been compelled to send the hair to New York," Curran noted "Now it can be done here at a great saving of cost." Miss Summers boasted of 280 patterns embracing breast-pins, earrings, bracelets, fob-chains, watch guards, and finger rings. Curran promised that his "good taste, aided by that of the artiste, will insure the most graceful and fashionable work."

HM NumberHMWV6
Series This marker is part of the Illinois: Looking for Lincoln series
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Friday, September 12th, 2014 at 11:00am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16S E 273225 N 4408977
Decimal Degrees39.80055000, -89.64883333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 48.033', W 89° 38.93'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 48' 1.98" N, 89° 38' 55.80" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)217
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 1-99 E Adams St, Springfield IL 62701, US
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