Delaware County Historical Society has a new exhibit featuring political memorabilia dating back to America’s birth on display at the newly-opened Meeker Homestead Museum until the end of this month.
The exhibit will be open Sundays from 2 to 5 p.m. for the rest of October and is free, but a donation of $2 is encouraged.
“Political Campaign Memorabilia” consists two rooms of several displays containing thousands of promotional items from Republican and Democratic presidents and candidates throughout American history.
These include campaign buttons and pins, posters and other items.
The items are just part of vast collections belonging to local collectors Roger Van Sickle, a Democrat; and Historical Society Board President Brent Carson, a Republican.
Carson said the memorabilia is a good way for Delaware residents to look back at history. He said it’s valuable to look back at elections before social media and television and see how candidates used word of mouth and pamphlets to spread their messages to the general public.
An example that may seem odd today, Carson said, is that songbooks were written for each candidate during elections. He said the songs were short and meant to briefly tell people about a candidate, almost like a modern-day jingle for a product.
One of the rarest and oldest items in the exhibit: a button promoting the presidency of George Washington. The button shows the 13 states linked together and says “long live the President,” which Carson said is an iteration on the British saying “long live the King.” Also on display: a ballot for the 1864 presidential election that was handed out to soldiers in the Union Army during the Civil War.
Van Sickle pointed out several pieces of his collection, which includes the infamous edition of the Chicago Daily Tribune that incorrectly reported that Thomas Dewey had defeated Harry Truman in the 1948 presidential election, a pen that was used to sign the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and a personal Trikke scooter belonging to Jimmy Carter.
Carson and Van Sickle said they have been collecting the historical items for more than 40 years and are proud to have them on display.
More information can be found on the historical society’s website, http://www.delawareohiohistory.info/
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.