Ruby's Incredible Button Suit

In the morning I surf the web with a cup of coffee. Ann at Hill Country House  had an homage to the antiques show that is held in NYC to benefit the American Folk Art Museum.   I agree with Ann, it's one of the best museums to visit.  I loved it so much. 

The suit above was made by Ruby Ann Kittner of Clinton, Iowa somewhere between 1930 and 1940.   It is 66 inches all told.  Amazing.   Did Ruby know she was making folk art?   Why did she make this?  I wish I knew the STORY behind this creation.  But you get a little glimpse through her shy smile in the photograph with her husband.  Ruby knows that she has made something wonderful.  Her husband knows it, too.

This can be found at  Harvey Art and Antiques in the folk art section.    The original photograph of Ruby and her husband Jake wearing this suit is included with the suit.  What a great provenance! 

Ruby may not be with us in body any more, but her spirit lives on in this suit.   She shows us that what we make with our hands is sometimes more important than we know.     

What are you going to make today?


  1. That suit is amazing!! reminds me of the pearly Kings and Queens of the East End of London.

  2. Ohmygosh, Dixie! I love how you posted this! I want to go back and re-work my beginning of my post to show off the suit like you did. I love that you did some research and got Ruby's photo. May I sort of copy you if I give you credit?Doesn't it make you want to BUY the suit!!??

  3. I think that suit should be in a museum next to the button giraffe I saw at the National Gallery in Washington.

  4. I agree it's amazing, Susie. :-) I wonder if Ruby did more items like this?

  5. Snap Susie....the first thing I thought of was the Pearly Kings and Queens of London. I was born in London and my dad often talked about them and the charity's that they supported...a fine old tradition. Some of their suits were completely covered in mother of pearl buttons...must of weighed a ton to wear:)I wonder if Ruby had heard about them and made her own suit?

  6. For those of you who have never heard of the Pearly Kings and Queens of London - here's a Wikipedia link. Fascinating!

  7. Mary Ann - a good theory. Maybe she had an English cousin? Or her husband had served in England in the first world war?

  8. Crazy for the button suit. Have you seen the guy with suit, hearse and coffin in the Dawn Cusick book, The Button Craft Book? His suit weighs 16 pounds. Being a button collector makes me curious about anything concerning buttons. Peggy

  9. Hi, Peggy, I haven't seen that book. You're a button collector. Now that's interesting. Someone posted a link to a whole antique button show slideshow. I'll see if I can find it and post.


"Do not let what you cannot do
keep you from doing what you can do."

John Wooden


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