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Welcome to Fairbanks

Welcome to Fairbanks Event Button Museum
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Welcome to Fairbanks button back Event Button Museum
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WELCOME TO FAIRBANKS ALASKA VISITORS ASSOCIATION
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Yellow text around a smiling figure holding a hat on a blue background

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The billiken (pictured here smiling and waving a hat) is not a figure from native Alaskan myth, and likely dates only as far back as the early 1900s. Florence Pretz, an art teacher in Missouri, patented the design and sold it to the Billiken Company of Chicago in 1909. The creature, which she had not named, took its name from the company and took the country by storm. The supposedly lucky dolls and statuettes were a brief fad in most places, but the billiken is still the mascot of Saint Louis University and a popular knickknack for travelers to Alaska. It is difficult to trace exactly when the billiken arrived in Alaska, or how it became incorporated into indigenous ivory crafts, but it has become an iconic souvenir.

Sources: 

Senay, D. (1983). All about Bill. Universitas. Retrieved from http://www.eas.slu.edu/People/BJMitchell/lbill.html

Catalog ID: 
EV0804
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