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THE ITHACA KITTY

The Ithaca Kitty is a plush toy designed by two Ithaca women, Celia Mattison Smith and Charity Smith, in 1892. The Ithaca Kitty was modeled after Celia's pet cat Caesar Grimalkin. Celia designed the toy to be an easy sew your own project with only three panels, and Charity painted the original likeness. 

Celia and Charity sent their design to the United States Patent and Trademark Office and the "Tabby Cat" was officially patented on July 5th and October 4th 1892. Arnold Print Works in Massachusetts bought the pattern and sold the Tabby Cat print to toy shops and department stores across the United States, and even in Europe and South America.

The Tabby Cat was such popular toy it was displayed at the Worlds Fair in Chicago in 1893 along with four toy Tabby Kittens that Celia and Charity designed and patented in the fall of 1892. In addition to selling millions of copies worldwide, the Tabby Cat toy has inspired poems, songs, children's books, and films

The History Center began re-printing and selling the toy as a sew your own kit in the 1970s. In 2017 volunteers found a picture of Caesar that showed clearly showed his seven toed front paws, and the toy was re-designed so the bottom panel would have authentic polydactyl paws. 

Ithaca Kitties hand sewn by local volunteers are available for sale in The History Center gift shop. 

Download The Tale of Caesar Grimalkin Handout                       

Ithaca Kitty Patent Page

Ithaca Kitty History at Home Activity Set 


Physical Address

Located inside the Tompkins Center for History & Culture

110 North Tioga Street

(On the Ithaca Commons) 

Ithaca NY, 14850 USA


Hours

Exhibit Hall -  Thursday-Saturday 10am-5pm / Sunday - 10am-3pm - CLOSED M-W

Cornell Local History Research Library & Thaler/Howell Archives - By appointment only. Please contact archives@thehistorycenter.net

Contact                                                     

Email: Refer to Contact page for individual emails, General inquiries to community@thehistorycenter.net

Phone: 607-273-8284

Web: thehistorycenter.net

Find us on social media @tompkinshistory

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