McGovern Shriver Smile

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Image Description

Traditional style smiley face in blue on a white background with blue text under the face

Curl Text OLEET (?) and a union bug?
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The Shape
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Year / Decade Made
Additional Information

In 1972, George McGovern (1922-2012) and Thomas Eagleton (1929-2007) ran for US President and Vice President, respectively, for the Democratic Party. However, after word of Eagleton's diagnosis with bi-polar disorder and treatment for mental illness, Eagleton withdrew his candidacy and Robert Shriver, Jr. (1915-2011) took his place on the ballot. Shriver helped create the Peace Corps and Head Start, and designed the War on Poverty. Their campaign rested on withdrawal of US military from Vietnam, amnesty draft dodgers, abortion rights, a small redistribution of wealth, and the legalization of marijuana. Their campaign positions led to labor unions and Southern Democrats starting an "Anybody but McGovern" campaign. 

Even though McGovern replaced Eagleton with Shriver as his running mate, the campaign could not recover from the Eagleton fiasco. McGovern's opponent, Richard Nixon, won the 1972 election in a landslide victory. 

This button is a variation on the classic yellow smiley face that is comprised of a yellow circle, two black dots for eyes and a black arc ending in serifs for a mouth. It  was designed in 1963 by by commercial artist, Harvey Ross Ball. Ball was commissioned by The State Mutual Life Insurance Company to create a happy face to raise the morale of their employees. His version was created in 10 minutes. The design was printed onto more than 50 million buttons. Neither Ball nor the company copyrighted this smiley, so it was continually used by other businesses in their promotions.

The design and concept is quite simple and was definitely used before Ball’s 1963 version. However his has become the most iconic. Variations have been used for advertising campaigns and in popular culture ever since.

Catalog ID SM0080