| ||Samuel S. Cox memorial vase, 1891
Cox, a congressman from New York, headed legislative efforts to create, organize, and expand the U.S. Life-Saving Service. A predecessor of the Coast Guard, it was established in 1871 to rescue victims of shipwrecks by maintaining patrol stations along American shores. In 1891, in honor of Cox's support, members of the Life-Saving Service presented his widow with this elaborate silver vase, decorated with mermaids, seashells, a life buoy, a portrait of Cox, and a scene of lifesavers rescuing people from the sea. Mrs. Cox presented the vase to the Smithsonian the following year.