Countdown to Owney (#4)


By Historian and Curator Nancy Pope

Countdown to Owney

As you may have heard, on July 27, 2011, Owney will be honored with his very own postage stamp. To celebrate this great occasion, this is the fourth in a series of blogs celebrating some of Owney’s tags.

Owney, the most famous dog of his day, was famous foremost for traveling. So it should be no surprise that among those who honored the dog with a tag were gentlemen from another well traveled group – Michigan’s “Knights of the Grip.” This organization of traveling salesmen recognized their fellow wanderer with this distinctive token. The tag’s shape and design represented the association’s symbol.

Front of Owney tag
Back of Owney tag

It is not known if Owney ever applied for an official membership from the organization, which required its members be employed for at least a year as a traveling man, in good health, “not afflicted with any chronic disease, and not addicted to the use of intoxicating liquors as a beverage, residing or traveling in the State of Michigan, who is actively engaged in selling goods at wholesale, adjusting insurance or as superintendent of agencies.” Annual dues were set at $1.00.

Previous "Countdown to Owney" posts:


Nancy Pope

About the Author
The late Nancy A. Pope, a Smithsonian Institution curator and founding historian of the National Postal Museum, worked with the items in this collection since joining the Smithsonian Institution in 1984. In 1993 she curated the opening exhibitions for the National Postal Museum. Since then, she curated several additional exhibitions. Nancy led the project team that built the National Postal Museum's first website in 2002. She also created the museum's earliest social media presence in 2007.