Presidential Campaign Buttons
This collection was researched and written by Albert Feldstein, a Western Maryland historian. Al wrote:
In spring 2007, thanks to the Western Maryland Historical Library (WHILBR), part of the Western Maryland Regional Library, I was able to develop a website in conjunction with WHILBR on Historic Women of Allegany County. This has since gained national recognition and has also been linked to the websites of several educational and historical institutions. It was with this thought in mind that I approached the Western Maryland Regional Library about undertaking a similar effort on Allegany County African American history in time for Black History Month 2008. They agreed, and since its development that website has won several awards and also been linked to regional and statewide historical and educational institutions (on both the high school and college level), and the information has been incorporated into classes, lectures, community, and statewide presentations.
1964 Campaign Button
With the 2008 Presidential election quickly approaching, we discussed with WHILBR the possibility of a Presidential Campaign button website. This would be based upon a portion of my collection. The period would cover from 1896, the year campaign buttons as we know them today first came in to use, to the present. Again, WHILBR was gracious enough to agree.
I have been collecting political campaign and "cause" buttons since the mid-1960s. The buttons depicted on this website, approximately 1000, are obviously only a fractional sampling of the collection. But we did select them with care as representative of the candidate, the campaign, the issues, and historic relevance as well as color and graphic appeal. Along with the major party candidates from each Presidential election campaign, we have also included a section and sampling of many additional Third Party candidates, as well as Primary Hopefuls. These are candidates who unsuccessfully sought their party's nomination for the general election.
It must be noted that some of the unsuccessful candidates are also historically significant, fascinating, and worthy of study. William Jennings Bryan, Earl Warren, and Hillary Clinton are just a few that I would put forth in this regard.
The Committee on Political Education
(COPE) of the AFL-CIO
showed labor's support of JFK 1960
As with my previous works, this is not intended to be an in-depth scholarly effort. I am just an amateur, or what some would call a "public" or "popular" historian, and this is just a hobby. Pursuant to this we have included a very brief historical overview of each candidate and campaign. These are only highlights and the reader is encouraged to do additional research into the voluminous resources that are readily available. It is important to state that I really tried to keep my personal opinions and any editorial comments out of the narrative. I also attempted to be consistent as to what was included, or excluded, based upon relevancy and historical importance.
FDR and John Nance Garner
1932 Campaign Button (jugate)
I would be sorely remiss if I did not acknowledge Jill Craig and the Western Maryland Regional Library for not only their partnership, collaboration, and enhancement of this site's content, but their patience and work above and beyond the call of duty in all of our collaborations.
The term, "Brummagem" is widely used in political collecting circles to describe fake or reproduced buttons. I do not collect these, and to the best of my knowledge, all of the buttons on this website are authentic. We also attempted to include as many "jugates" as possible. These are buttons that depict side-by-side both the Presidential and Vice-presidential candidates.
1940 Campaign Button
Along with the WHILBR websites noted above, please visit our Maryland Gubernatorial, Senatorial, and Sixth Congressional District Campaign Buttons and Allegany County, Maryland Campaign Buttons sites. These are listed in the Bibliography.
It has always been my belief that buttons are a most colorful and graphic depiction of our nation's history, First Amendment freedoms of speech and assembly, and visually characterize over 100 years of public policy and debate. I would like to thank all those countless individuals who over the decades have given me buttons. I hope this website meets with your approval and your expectations of me. Enjoy them.
Albert L. Feldstein
Updated October 2015
|Western Maryland Regional Library is grateful to Al Feldstein for sharing his button collection and historical research with us.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org