Throughout the American Legion Auxiliary’s long history, many ALA members have found ways to self-identify as a being part of our storied service organization — and expressing their ALA pride — through what they wear. Auxiliary members have worn their love on their sleeves, literally, with ALA arm bands. More popular ALA apparel and accessories included T-shirts, hats, bags, and jewelry.
American Legion Auxiliary jewelry dates back to the early years of the organization. With the ALA emblem prominently featured on them, an Auxiliary ring and brooch were included in the 1923 Official Catalogue of The American Legion and the American Legion Auxiliary Emblems and Supplies, published by the Emblem Division of The Legion’s national headquarters in Indianapolis. The price for the ring was $6.30. The brooch was $2.10. A war tax was included on both.
In the opening letter to ALA members published in the 1937 Auxiliary Catalog, Emblem Sales Director E.O. Marquette wrote: “The American Legion Auxiliary has an enviable record of distinguished and unselfish public service. Yours is a distinct privilege — that of being eligible to wear the Auxiliary emblem. It is an honor and distinction of which you can justly be proud.”
Choices of ALA jewelry for members has expanded through the years to include items such as earrings, necklaces, and bracelets. Some Auxiliary members have proudly passed on their ALA jewelry to generations of other Auxiliary members in their families. Marquette’s words ring true today, just as they did in 1937.
Do you have any ALA jewelry heirlooms in your family? Tell us about it! If selected, your story may be included in future ALA national media. Send us a photo of the jewelry, plus the basics: Who brought the piece into your family, for how many generations, who has it now, and what the heirloom piece means to you and your family. Contact us at ALAMagazine@ALAforVeterans.org, (317) 569-4500, or 3450 Founders Road, Indianapolis, IN 46268.
This article was originally published in the August 2020 Auxiliary magazine.