The April auction additions to Busy Beaver Button Museum include 20th century-spanning examples of advertising, history and activism buttons. Check out the new additions–

1970′s advertising button for Tad’s menswear company. Apparently the naked lady gimmick was sort of their thing. Museum curator, Joel, thinks it could’ve been a precursor to Ryan O’Neal’s So Fine Jeans.

This pair of buttons celebrate Harvey Milk, the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in the US. Museum curator Christen wanted to add these to our cause button collection since Milk was so influential in politics and the gay rights movement.

Bloomington, Illinois Jubilee Carnival button shows the (supposedly fireproof) courthouse surrounded by flames, referencing catastrophic fires that destroyed much of the central business district of Bloomington in June, 1900. The event was held a year after the fire to celebrate the rapid rebuilding of the city.

A slightly different take on the Tad’s jeans example above, this advertising button features a naked baby covered by a man’s hat instead. This early 1900′s advertising button for Harris-Polk Hat Co. is made as a tiny oval, a relatively rare shape in button history.

Tillie the Toiler was a comic strip that ran from 1922 to 1959 following the adventures of stenographer/secretary/part-time model, Tillie. Buttons designed to hold up garters like this one were popular novelty items in the 1920s and 1930s. See examples of other garter button designs in the Button Museum here.

This early 20th century advertising button for Fleischmann’s Yeast features lovable John Dough made from five loaves of bread. As a spokesmodel, Mr. Dough must’ve worked well– Fleischmann’s has been in business for over 140 years.


A real photo button from the early 1900s, this image of two women holding an ax and dancing was issued by Lennon & Gibbons Clothiers of St. Paul, MN, probably as a souvenir for a fraternal convention held in the city. The lettering on the younger woman’s dress stands for Modern Woodmen of America, a fraternal benefit organization, and the older woman has St. Paul written on her hat.

See more historic buttons in the Button Museum.

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