A Surprise Gift from VASEM with Historical Ties

Written on October 18, 2022

Today I received a gift that relates to Southern American history and culture.

Engraved on the cup was this: Virginia Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine (VASEM), COVES 2022 on the other side.

COVES Fellow 2022 Julep Cup
COVES Fellow 2022 Julep Cup

Of course, I am one of the Commonwealth of Virginia Engineering & Science (COVES) Policy Fellows for year 2022!

But why a cup? Of this rather peculiar shape?

An accompanying card describes it as a Julep Cup.

I learned that there is this Early Southern American tradition of making and gifting such engraved julep cups, usually for special occasions (weddings, births, winning a competition), which dates back to about 200 years ago. People would take it with them while hanging out with family or friends, drinking a mint julep, or something else of choice. It could also be passed on to the next generation as a family heirloom!

This cup was designed by John Adam of Alexandria, one of the earliest, famous silversmiths. He was also one of the people who recommended and certified the first automatic spoon-crafting machine!

This is a relatively small cup, but with rich historical, and cultural connections.

Thank you VASEM! 🙂

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