“All the way with LBJ.” “I like Ike.” Peace signs and rainbows. Catchy slogans, iconic symbols, and striking colors are the makings for memorable political buttons.
“Campaign buttons are ideal ‘collectibles’ because they are small, because they connect directly to events that can be dated and that often have very broad resonance, and because they remind us that ordinary people — voters and activists — drive political and social change,” said Laurel Ulrich, 300th Anniversary University professor and resident expert of objects at Harvard.
Schlesinger Library Curator of Manuscripts Kathryn Jacob has sorted through the Radcliffe Institute’s collection of nearly 1,000 buttons dating back to the mid-19th century. The buttons are from local elections, school committees and town councils, to state and national elections promoting the likes of Elizabeth Holtzman, a Radcliffe graduate and Congresswoman from New York, and Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American candidate to run for the presidency of the United States and the first woman to seek the democratic presidential nomination.