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September 18, 2014

Ken Burns new documentary, “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History,” debuted on PBS this week. Along with all the elephant hunting, bootstraps pulling, political ambitions and gender politics, watching the lives of Theodore, Franklin and Eleanor unfold on screen got us thinking about the Roosevelt buttons we’ve got here in the Button Museum. While a famed Cox-Roosevelt jugate button is not in our collection (no surprise, really– it’s the most expensive button ever sold!), we’ve got plenty of other Roosevelt designs worth revisiting.

We have a soft spot for Teddy Roosevelt, given that he ran as vice president on the ticket with William McKinley, the very first president to use campaign buttons. The button was patented in July 1896, and McKinley was elected late that year. We call that an early adopter! Picture above, a McKinley-Roosevelt jugate campaign button from McKinley’s 1900 reelection campaign, for which Roosevelt was his new running mate after gaining fame with the Rough Riders during the Spanish-American War. After McKinley was assassinated in 1901, Roosevelt, only 42, became the youngest person to ever be president. The 1904 button pictured above on the right featured a rebus of his name– a rose plus “velt.” Not the most elegant design, sure, but still a memorable button.

Franklin Roosevelt buttons are more plentiful in the Button Museum’s collection, which is no surprise given that they’re all 30-40 years younger, and buttons were fully entrenched into political campaigns, and personal political speech, but the 1930’s and 40’s. Pictured above, the oversized 9″ FDR image was made by button-makers Parisian Novelty here in Chicago, but marketed as a wall plaque. Probably a good idea, since a button that big would certainly prove difficult to wear! And besides the fatherly portraits, anti-Roosevelt buttons are an entire category in themselves. Our collection features a range of designs protesting the idea of a FDR’s 1940 campaign for a third term and others complaining about his well-known Fireside Chats.


For her own part, Eleanor made it onto just a single button in our collection, though the design is really meant to be anti-FDR. We featured more background on this button in a post about First Lady pinbacks a while back. Created in 1940 by the Wendell Willkie campaign, what anti-Eleanor sentiment there was wasn’t enough to turn the tide against her husband’s four presidential wins.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more Roosevelt-era buttons, check out the Button Museum’s Roaring 20’s collection. . .
September 18, 2014

Ken Burns new documentary, “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History,” debuted on PBS this week. Along with all the elephant hunting, bootstraps pulling, political ambitions and gender politics, watching the lives of Theodore, Franklin and Eleanor unfold on screen got us thinking about the Roosevelt buttons we’ve got here in the Button Museum. While a famed Cox-Roosevelt jugate button is not in our collection (no surprise, really– it’s the most expensive button ever sold!), we’ve got plenty of other Roosevelt designs worth revisiting.

We have a soft spot for Teddy Roosevelt, given that he ran as vice president on the ticket with William McKinley, the very first president to use campaign buttons. The button was patented in July 1896, and McKinley was elected late that year. We call that an early adopter! Picture above, a McKinley-Roosevelt jugate campaign button from McKinley’s 1900 reelection campaign, for which Roosevelt was his new running mate after gaining fame with the Rough Riders during the Spanish-American War. After McKinley was assassinated in 1901, Roosevelt, only 42, became the youngest person to ever be president. The 1904 button pictured above on the right featured a rebus of his name– a rose plus “velt.” Not the most elegant design, sure, but still a memorable button.

Franklin Roosevelt buttons are more plentiful in the Button Museum’s collection, which is no surprise given that they’re all 30-40 years younger, and buttons were fully entrenched into political campaigns, and personal political speech, but the 1930’s and 40’s. Pictured above, the oversized 9″ FDR image was made by button-makers Parisian Novelty here in Chicago, but marketed as a wall plaque. Probably a good idea, since a button that big would certainly prove difficult to wear! And besides the fatherly portraits, anti-Roosevelt buttons are an entire category in themselves. Our collection features a range of designs protesting the idea of a FDR’s 1940 campaign for a third term and others complaining about his well-known Fireside Chats.


For her own part, Eleanor made it onto just a single button in our collection, though the design is really meant to be anti-FDR. We featured more background on this button in a post about First Lady pinbacks a while back. Created in 1940 by the Wendell Willkie campaign, what anti-Eleanor sentiment there was wasn’t enough to turn the tide against her husband’s four presidential wins.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more Roosevelt-era buttons, check out the Button Museum’s Roaring 20’s collection. . .
September 12, 2014

In collecting buttons, it’s not uncommon to come across a pinback that’s a total mystery. To the right audience in the right era a simple idea can convey the idea perfectly, but out of context the design may be just weird text and ambiguous graphics with a meaning that’s totally lost.

Even with the ambiguity (and sometimes confusion) these buttons convey, the mystery pinbacks can still be some of our favorites. Take a look at some of the most mystifying, but most fun, designs from the Button Museum‘s collection.

1. Bring it Home Alive

This 3″ button is a favorite of many Button Museum visitors, and it’s no surprise– the charming mid-century design is hard to beat, but we have yet to uncover the story behind the button. From what we can gather, it’s important to keep your coffee beans alive, but we could use a follow up button that explains exactly how it is one does that. Ideas?

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Nature’s Toothbrush

It’s not immediately obvious what’s going on with this “Nature’s Toothbrush” button. A red blob with black crosshatching? How do you brush your teeth with that? Look closely, though, and you’ll see the shape of an apple– stem at the top, glints of white highlights on the skin– begin to emerge. If this button is to be believed, perhaps the old adage should be changed to “An apple a day keeps the dentist away.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Avoid the Noid

People of a certain age (30 and older, probably) may remember the Noid, the Domino’s Pizza’s mascot during the mid- to late-80’s. The Noid represented the difficulty getting a pizza delivered in 30 minutes or less– as in, avoid the Noid (a-nnoyed) but ordering from Domino’s instead.

These days, the Noid is just one of many nearly-forgotten mascots (7-UP Spot, Mac Tonight moon, we’re looking at you), but the button lives on.

. . . 4. Yum! Yum!

Another button with unclear origins, we like to imagine that this pinback was advertising whipped cream, or yogurt. Perhaps soft serve?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

. 5. Help Allergy Annie

We’ve written about Allergy Annie before, but this design never fails to pique the interest of Museum visitors. Who is Annie and how can we help her? Also, what’s with the bird?

Well, we don’t know the answer to her feathered sidekick, but Allergy Annie was developed by Honeywell HVAC to promote air cleaning products. Poor Annie is afflicted with terrible allergies because she doesn’t have “the cleaner air people” to help her out. More in the Button Museum entry about this design.

 

 

 

 

6. Fly Me

As best we can figure, this button was in response to National Airlines 1970’s “Fly Me” campaign featuring various good-looking flight attendants inviting passengers to, ahem, utilize the airlines services. In response, this button invites the viewer to fly this lady instead.



 

 

 

 

 

 

See more intriguing retro button content in “Just Streaking Through.”

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