U.S.S. Illinois Silver Service: C. D. Peacock, 1943–1948<img alt="U.S.S. Illinois Silver Service, 1943–1948 (Black and White picture)" src="/sites/GovernorsMansion/Exhibitions/PublishingImages/Art-of-Illinois/USS-Illinois-Silver-Service.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />U.S.S. Illinois Silver Service: C. D. Peacock, 1943–1948<div class="ExternalClassABC58B3565EA4536B01A1C3E59EBB37C"><p><span class="pull-right">​<img src="/sites/GovernorsMansion/Exhibitions/PublishingImages/Art-of-Illinois/USS-Illinois-Silver-Service-Mansion.jpg" alt="U.S.S. Illinois Silver Service, 1943–1948 (colored version)" style="margin:5px;max-width:200px;" /></span>During World War II, Illinoisans were excited that the U.S. Navy was planning to name one of its new battleships the U.S.S. <em>Illinois </em>(BB-65). It would be the third naval ship to bear this name; the second <em>Illinois </em>(BB-7) had served in various capacities from 1901 until 1941, when she was renamed Prairie State.</p><p>It had long been a tradition for the state for which a battleship was named to supply a complete service of silverware for the vessel. Thus, in April 1943, a delegation of Illinois naval veterans proposed that the Illinois General Assembly appropriate $20,000 to provide a sterling silver service for use in the officers' mess on the new <em>Illinois</em>. Two months later, the legislature approved the funding as well as a 20-member commission to represent Illinois when the battleship was launched sometime in 1944. Most of the cost of the service was met by private donations.</p><p>Designs and bids were solicited from five of the nation's largest silversmithing firms, but all declined, claiming a shortage of silver or of skilled craftsmen. Then C. D. Peacock, one of Chicago's foremost retail jewelers, agreed to furnish the service. They, in turn, contracted Watson Company, manufacturing silversmiths of Attleboro, Massachusetts, to fabricate the elegant 359-piece set.</p><p>As designed by C. D. Peacock, each piece of hollowware—large and small punchbowls, tea and coffee services, and various serving pieces—featured the seals of the U.S. Navy and State of Illinois and the name U.S.S. <em>Illinois</em>, embellished with violets, the Illinois state flower. Also included were candelabra, goblets with dolphin stems, and 18 place settings of flatware. It was estimated that 4,000 ounces of silver would be required to produce the set.</p><p>Watson Company began making the service using its quota of silver allowed by the War Production Board, the government agency which regulated the allocation of precious metals and other raw materials during the war. When Watson ran out of silver before the service was completed, the Board denied its request for a priority allocation, despite appeals from the state's lieutenant governor.</p><p>The U.S.S. <em>Illinois </em>was only one-quarter completed when Japan surrendered on August 14, 1945, effectively ending the war. Work was stopped on the 45,000-ton battleship and it was among those scrapped in 1948.</p><p>By then, however, the elaborate silver service had been completed. On June 7, 1949, representatives from the U.S.S. <em>Illinois </em>legislative commission formally presented the service to Governor Adlai E. Stevenson for use in the Illinois Governor's Mansion.</p></div>GP0|#96d7e6e3-649b-43c0-897b-547b1852f069;L0|#096d7e6e3-649b-43c0-897b-547b1852f069|U.S.S. Illinois;GTSet|#6a9f5109-021d-478a-ae73-864102492159;GPP|#b8008031-8d86-41bf-8c8c-657f66f046d4;GPP|#be65f490-4890-487c-bb16-c396d99511f7Silverware;#PermanentSilver;#Chicago, IllinoisSterling silver; Watson Company, Attleboro, Massachusetts (active 1880–1955), maker. Collection of Illinois Governor’s Mansion Association