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  • Writer's pictureLocal History Collection

A Tale of Two Spoons: Heirlooms from the Ramsauer Collection

Though the majority of the holdings of The Local History Collection (LHC) are in the form of photographs, manuscripts, and other paper documents, our archives also contain various artifacts related to the Roslyn area and its immediate surroundings.

Over the past several years, the descendants of Roslyn residents Edward and Katherine Ramsauer have gifted a wealth of family photos, ephemera, and artifacts to the LHC. A plumber who owned and operated his business in the early part of the 20th century, Edward and his family lived at 44 East Broadway for over 50 years.

Edward Ramsauer & Katherine Hirsh pictured at Rockaway Amusement Park c. 1905, before their marriage.

The most recent cache of historical materials was sent to us by their grandson, Marshall Johnson, seen in the photograph below as a young boy fishing with his brothers Everett and Robert in the back of their grandparents' home:

Contained within the carefully-packed box was a selection of family heirlooms that included two silver baby spoons. Mr. Johnson’s accompanying note states that the spoons were purchased by his grandma Katherine from 1938-1939, identifying one as an official Gerber Company item, and the other as featuring Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit produced by The Webster Co.

While both spoons have incurred a substantial patina, the sculptural details of their designs are visible despite the obvious wear. The infant’s facial features on the silver-plated Gerber spoon are defined, as are the decorative flourishes that adorn its handle. The Peter Rabbit spoon is sterling silver and has a delicate cut-out that frames the beloved character’s whimsical form. Both represent imagery that has endured from the time of their production to the present day.

When receiving collections that contain items of cultural significance, their intrinsic value is owed in part to their projection of everyday life and domesticity during the time they were used. Strong in historical scope and material scale, The Ramsauer Collection preserves the memory of a prominent Roslyn family while enhancing our view of the area’s local history. By interacting with such objects and learning the stories of those who treasured them, we gain a perspective that connects our current time to that of the past.


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