For the Media/Press
Now celebrating over 80 years as a society, with membership on four continents, the National Button Society (NBS) is actively represented by state and local button clubs in 39 of the 50 states and 16 countries.
NBS members engage in a fascinating journey of discovery, involving history, art, and fashion, that encompass centuries of clothing button usage, as well as related items such as buckles. With a passion for studying, displaying, and trading buttons, members may create art or jewelry using clothing buttons without harming them.
NBS promotes educational research and exhibitions, publishing and dissemination of information about buttons, and related items, and the preservation of their aesthetic and historical significance - all for current enjoyment and for future generations.
History of Button Collecting
Button collecting was first recognized as an organized hobby through the founding of the National Button Society in 1938 after a collector's appearance on the radio show, "Hobby Lobby". The region show sparked a real interest in this unusual hobby, which just about anyone could afford during those lean years, and it sparked a national search of attics, basements and sewing rooms for buttons.
The first Button Show, was held in Chicago in 1939. Many state and local button clubs were established during the 1940s, and many of those clubs sponsored their own button shows, a tradition that continues today with buttons shows held throughout the United States, Canada and Europe.
FAQs for a collector
Q: What do you look for in a button?
A: The historical significance; the subject matter of the button; condition; the material it’s made from, intricacy of design & manufacture, does it fit with other categories… Yes, the list is long.
Q: Where do you find your buttons?
A: There are several button shows each year. Sometimes a local antique shop will have buttons; there are online sales and auctions; even telling friends that you collect – they often have their grandmother's button box tucked away.
Q. How do you display or keep your buttons?
A: NBS recommends 9" X12" mat boards placed in categories, such as by materials, shapes, plants, animals, or objects. There are dozens of different categories found in the NBS Blue Book – the official NBS Classification & Competition Guidelines. Also, collectors are innovative in coming up with display and storage ideas: hanging lovely “button pictures” on their walls, storing buttons in wooden printer trays and other handy items, all the while paying attention to what is needed to preserve those buttons. For example, Celluloid Buttons have to breathe so no jars or plastic bags, please.
Q: What is your favorite?
A: Every collector will have a favorite or more than one! Story buttons; china buttons; pearls (shell); black glass; Jacksonians; lacy glass… or even just pretty buttons… you get the picture.
Q: What are buttons worth?
A: Prices range from pennies to many hundreds of dollars.
Q: What advice would you give to a new collector?
A: Join the National Button Society and a state and/or local button club. There are button clubs in 39 of 50 states as well as several clubs in Canada.
Leadership and Contacts:
NBS President and 2023 Show Chairman: Joy Journeay, Alaska
Joy Journeay's first love is art — she has a BFA in stone lithography. Creativity and buttons have been hobbies and now consume much of her time since retirement. Researching a button's story provides hours of satisfying discovery. Joy has been responsible for helping NBS members from around the world connect online. Each week members can join in a Button Room discussion, as well as attend monthly education presentations. Joy has also chaired the 2022 Online October Button Fest and the 2023 Online Spring Weekend Button Fest in March. In addition, Joy will be the Show Chair for the August 2023 National Button Society Convention in Portland, Oregon.
NBS Vice President: Linda Beatty
Linda Beatty has three loves: buttons, politics and history. As a child, she idled away hours with her father’s button box at his dry cleaning business. In 2000, Linda attended a button club meeting. The love affair began with our button hobby that includes research into the history of buttons. Beatty started the Button Seekers Club in Iowa and has served in various positions with the Iowa State Button Society and well as on the board of the National Button Society. Today, Linda heads a number of board committees, providing wise council with enthusiasm.
Logo and Policies
The name, National Button Society, is a registered trademark of the National Button Society. Specific regulations regarding the use of the Logo are listed here. Permission must be applied for and obtained to use any of the images on the National Button Society and Button Country websites.
Contact: Susan W. Smith, Publicity@nationalbuttonsociety.org
A downloadable pdf file of this page is available here.
©NBS, 2023 For the Media
Author, SW Smith, Ottawa, ON. Canada
Revised February 2023