By John Dowd 

Group bonds over button collections


March 24, 2022

John Dowd

Button enthusiasts (from left) Charlotte Beaudry, Judy Lazerte, Willina Lueb, Barbara Orr and her daughter Kate Orr look through a box of old buttons during a recent meeting at the Thompson Falls Library.

A local button club has formed following a surge of interest in buttons after a display was set up in the Thompson Falls Public Library by Willina Lueb. The club has been operating for almost a year now, and meets monthly. The group has five members, with another possibly joining. "It's been a lovely spreading out of interest in the community," Lueb said.

According to members, the group has been very active, especially with March being National Button Month. As was done last year for the same month before the inception of the group, members decided to work throughout the year designing new, bigger and better button displays for the library.

The group is also holding a similar contest as Lueb did last year. For the entire month of March, visitors to the library can search the displays with a list of 10 buttons hidden throughout. Those who find the buttons are able to pick a button from a box to keep. The quiz, as they call it, is available whenever a club member is in the library, which is generally Tuesday to Friday, between 1 and 3 p.m.

Sanders County Ledger canvas prints

Several members of the club have now become members of broader button associations, with Lueb having been a former member of the British Button Society and currently a member of the American National Button Society, along with several other members joining her. A few of the members say they are also active in the Idaho State Button Society, which they explain is a good group to be a part of.

Charlotte Beaudry, a club member from Trout Creek, said that she put out an ad in a publication which has resulted in her receiving hundreds of buttons. "I got so many buttons that the post office lady had to bring them up to the house because they wouldn't fit into the post office box," said Beaudry. Because of the group's influence, the library now has a book specifically on buttons and their material from A to Z. "Crystal is a big supporter of our group," Lueb said of Library Director Crystal Buchanan.

The meetings generally involve conversations about button materials and learning the history of types of buttons. Members say that anyone can join, even someone who knows nothing about buttons. Beaudry one month did a presentation about colonial era buttons, with displays made from some reproduction buttons and authentic pieces from the time. Lueb explained that some people will specialize their knowledge and collection based on time period, style, material or more. She says she knows many men who specialize in military uniform buttons from various times.

John Dowd

Displays in the library showcase buttons of various materials, shapes and styles.

Button Club meetings are 1-3 p.m. the second Friday of each month at the library. For more information, visit the library or call (406) 827-3547.


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