Museum Closure

The New-York Historical Society will be closed on Tuesday, April 21. For details, please visit our calendar.

Belt and buckle

Not promoted
14 659
Belt and buckle
ca. 1934
Silver, leather
Part (belt): 34 x 1 in. (86.4 x 2.5 cm) Part (buckle): 1 1/4 x 2 in. (3.2 x 5.1 cm)
Date End: 
1 934
Silver belt buckle with black leather belt; open rectangular buckle has cut-out letter "O" on top of "M" on left side and pivoting tongue on right side; leather belt has two snaps to hold buckle in place and is punched with five holes.
Credit Line: 
Gift of Martha Heinemann
Object Number: 
Gallery Label: 
This belt and buckle, featuring the initials "O M," were made around 1934 for New York gangster Owen Vincent (Owney) Madden (1892-1965). Madden, a notorious racketeer, was born in the slums of Liverpool, came to New York City when he was 11, and grew up in Hell's Kitchen. During his heyday, Madden owned nightclubs (including the Cotton Club), prizefighters, hotels, slot machines, lottery games and operated a coal company and a laundry in Brooklyn. The donor was a personal friend of Madden's.
Date Begin: 
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.
Creative: Tronvig Group