One of two cast copper medals or coins that commemorate the June 17, 1920 meeting of the Society of Cincinnati in Exeter, NH, made by the Boston firm of N.G. Wood & Sons. One side is stamped: "COMMEMORATING / THE MEETING OF THE / GENERAL SOCIETY OF THE CINCINNATI / AT EXETER / NEW HAMPSHIRE / JUNE 17, 1920", surrounded by a floral wreath. The other side has a copy of the Society's eagle badge with the Society's motto, "Omnia Relinquit Servare Republicam" (He gave up everything to serve the republic) on the eagle's breast plate and "Est O Perpetua" on a scroll below the eagle; and "SOCIETAS CINCINNATORUM NEO HANTONIENSIS INSTITUTA A. D. 1783" around the rim. There are 13 stars and two live branches over an American eagle with outspread wings and crossed olive branches in its talons. The idea of the Society of the Cincinnati is credited to Major General Henry Knox (1750-1806) who was Washington's first Secretary of War (1785-94). The Society was founded in May, 1783, at the Verplank house, Fishkill, New York, by Continental Army officers who fought in the American Revolution, which was before the signing of the Peace Treaty and the British evacuating New York. As senior officer, the Honorable Major General Baron von Steuben presided at the organizational meetings; within 12 months, Constituent Societies were established in the 13 original states and in France under the auspices of the General Society of the Cincinnati, with about 2150 of the 5500 eligible officers joining. Washington was elected its first president in December 1783, serving until his death in 1799; he was succeeded by Alexander Hamilton (1757-1804). The Society is named for Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus, a 5th century B.C. Roman famer who, like Washington, was called from his fields ot lead his country's army in battle; he returned a triumphant leader, declined honors, and went back to his farm. The Society still continues, with its membership limited to the oldest living male lineal descendent of the original members. Both the diploma and Eagle badge were designed by Pierre Charles L'Enfant (1754-1825) in June 1783. He left for Paris in November 1783 with his original sketches, and presented the finished gold and enamel Eagle badge and copperplate of the diploma to the Society's first General Meeting held in Philadelphia in May 1784.
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