State Plates: All 50 States in Convenient Souvenir Plate Form

You've definitely seen them: commemorative state plates featuring landmarks and slogans from a particular state. I call them "state plates," but the official term among collectors is "souvenir state plates." They're often displayed in kitchens, and the designs range from kitschy to classy to impossibly bizarre -- see below for examples of each. According to CountryHome (in their "What's Hot Now" feature!), state plates have been around since the 1870s:

Souvenir state plates date back to the 1870s. When travel became more accessible thanks to cars, they became increasingly popular with jet-setting travelers. There are tons of unsigned, flea-market-type plates out there, but keep your eyes open for some big-name manufacturers, including Vernon Kilns, Homer Laughlin, Salem China Company, and even Wedgwood.

In the post below, I (with the able assistance of Sadie Eck, standing in as Mental_Floss State Plate Research Assistant for this post) have collected plates for ALL FIFTY STATES. I've picked out some favorites first, then the rest are in alphabetical order. Fun things to do while looking through them: count the states you've visited, count the states you've lived in, spot the craziest designs.

South Carolina

New Mexico

new_mexico

Ohio

ohio

West Virginia

west_virginia

Oregon

oregon

South Dakota

south_dakota

Alaska

alaska

Click the little numbers below to see the rest!

Alabama

alabama

Arizona

arizona

Arkansas

arkansas

California

california

Colorado

colorado

Connecticut

connecticut

Delaware

delaware

Florida

florida

Georgia

georgia

Hawaii

hawaii

Idaho

idaho

Illinois

illinois

Indiana

indiana

Iowa

iowa

Kansas

kansas

Kentucky

kentucky

Louisiana

louisiana

Maine

maine

Maryland

maryland

Massachusetts

massachusetts

Michigan

michigan

Minnesota

minnesota

Mississippi

mississippi

Missouri

missouri

Montana

montana

Nebraska

nebraska

Nevada

nevada

New Hampshire

new_hampshire

New Jersey

new_jersey

New York

new_york

North Carolina

north_carolina

North Dakota

north_dakota

Oklahoma

oklahoma

Pennsylvania

pennsylvania

Rhode Island

rhode_island

Tennessee

tennessee

Texas

texas

Utah

utah

Vermont

vermont

Virginia

virginia

Washington

washington

Wisconsin

wisconsin

Wyoming

wyoming

Acknowledgements

This post is dedicated to Mr. Clinton Bowie, a gentleman and scholar who has dedicated much of his life to the study of State Plates whilst residing in The Beaver State, Oregon. Today also happens to be Mr. Bowie's thirtieth birthday. Happy birthday, Clint!

This post would not have been possible without research assistance by Sadie Eck. Thank you Sadie!

What Did I Leave Out?

Each state has many plates, and often a city or landmark will have its own plate. If you have a favorite plate, leave a link in the comments!

Want to buy a state plate? Tons of these are available on eBay and other places online. I recommend searching for, eg, "oregon state place -license" (to remove license plates from the search).

See also: list of state mottos, list of state slogans, and list of state nicknames.

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Museum of the City of New York
New York City Exhibition Celebrates the Rebellious Victorian-Era Women Who Made History
Museum of the City of New York
Museum of the City of New York

At a time when women wore corsets and hooped skirts, the American Jewish actress Adah Isaacs Menken caused quite a stir when she appeared onstage in men’s clothing. It was the early 1860s, and her portrayal of a man in the play Mazeppa saw her ride into the theater on a horse while wearing a flesh-colored body stocking. Critics were shocked, but Menken paid no mind. Both on stage and in her daily life, she continued to disregard the norms of that era by cutting her hair short and smoking cigarettes in public.

Menken is just one of the daring women featured in a new exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York. Rebel Women: Defying Victorianism celebrates the New York women who challenged the rigid expectations of the Victorian era, and includes a collection of photographs, clothes, and prints from the period.

A caricatures of the "Grecian bend"
Museum of the City of New York

The 19th century was a period of constraints for women. "During this era, a woman could be considered a rebel simply by speaking in public, working outside the home, or disregarding middle‐class morality or decorum," according to a museum statement. “Yet 19th‐century New York City was full of women who defied those expectations in both overt and subtle ways.”

The exhibit highlights the accomplishments of historic figures who contributed to the advancement of women’s rights, like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, but it also casts a light on lesser-known figures—many of whom history was unkind to.

A photo of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony
Museum of the City of New York

An illustration of women voting
Museum of the City of New York

There’s Ann Trow Lohman, also known as “Madame Restell,” who was dubbed “The Wickedest Woman in New York” for providing birth control to women. Similarly, Hetty Green earned the moniker “The Witch of Wall Street” for her successful career as a stock broker.

Visitors will also learn about a predecessor to Rosa Parks: Elizabeth Jennings Graham, a black New Yorker who refused to get off of a segregated street car in 1854.

Not all of the women had such noble goals, though, and the exhibition shows that men didn’t have a monopoly on crime. Notorious pickpocket and con-woman Sophie Lyons used her smarts and beauty to steal from wealthy men and earned a reputation as "the most notorious confidence woman America has ever produced."

The exhibition will be on view until January 6, 2019, and tickets can be purchased online.

Marshall McLuhan, the Man Who Predicted the Internet in 1962

Futurists of the 20th century were prone to some highly optimistic predictions. Theorists thought we might be extending our life spans to 150, working fewer hours, and operating private aircrafts from our homes. No one seemed to imagine we’d be communicating with smiley faces and poop emojis in place of words.

Marshall McLuhan didn’t call that either, but he did come closer than most to imagining our current technology-led environment. In 1962, the author and media theorist, predicted we’d have an internet.

That was the year McLuhan, a professor of English born in Edmonton, Canada on this day in 1911, wrote a book called The Gutenberg Galaxy. In it, he observed that human history could be partitioned into four distinct chapters: The acoustic age, the literary age, the print age, and the then-emerging electronic age. McLuhan believed this new frontier would be home to what he dubbed a “global village”—a space where technology spread information to anyone and everyone.

Computers, McLuhan said, “could enhance retrieval, obsolesce mass library organization,” and offer “speedily tailored data.”

McLuhan elaborated on the idea in his 1962 book, Understanding Media, writing:

"Since the inception of the telegraph and radio, the globe has contracted, spatially, into a single large village. Tribalism is our only resource since the electro-magnetic discovery. Moving from print to electronic media we have given up an eye for an ear."

But McLuhan didn’t concern himself solely with the advantages of a network. He cautioned that a surrender to “private manipulation” would limit the scope of our information based on what advertisers and others choose for users to see.

Marshall McLuhan died on December 31, 1980, several years before he was able to witness first-hand how his predictions were coming to fruition.

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