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Campaign Souvenirs

On the button: A museum in Idaho likes Ike—and everyone else.

a man's shirt covered with presidential campaign buttons, image
Photo caption
Announce your politics to the world by wearing campaign buttons.

Long before sound bites and 30-second television spots, presidential candidates shaped their campaigns around catchy slogans that found their way onto buttons, posters, hats, and other paraphernalia. During the last century, Americans signaled to each other "I Like Ike," "Watch Willkie Wilt," and "Ride with Roosevelt" (Teddy, that is).

These election memories live on at the Blaine County Historical Museum in the small town of Hailey, Idaho, where you'll find one of the nation's most extensive collections of political memorabilia. Amassed by local businessman Joe Fuld, the items number more than 5,000, some dating back to the campaigns of Andrew Jackson.

Among the historical souvenirs are oddities such as a dinner pail promoting William McKinley's reelection, a beer can toasting Barry Goldwater's failed 1964 presidential bid, and an ashtray used by Teddy Roosevelt.

The collection, taken as a whole, creates an evocative time line of presidential contests past and offers insight into the art and evolution of political spin. INFORMATION: (208) 788-1801, www.bchistorical

Photography by Glenn Oakley

This article was first published in September 2004. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.