Now that the pinback button is well into its second century, we come across more and more modern buttons that celebrate historic designs. We’ve featured a few of these in the past year– illustrator Phil Guy recreated a historic metamorphic button and Brooklyn’s Royal Palm Shuffleboard Club harkened back to midcentury shuffleboard club buttons with their designs. Continuing this tradition, we recently worked with Julie J. Thomson to make buttons that celebrate an under-appreciated breakfast habit: doughnut dunking.
Julie’s buttons were inspired by similar designs for Donut Dunkers Clubs across the country, organized by the National Dunking Association, which started in the late 1930s. According to Julie, the National Dunking Association, “involved movie starts to help popularize the trend and at one point reported 3 million members.” Association members recieved buttons sponsored by local doughnut shops and a membership card that gave them permission to “dunk donuts either in private or in public, without criticism or interference.”
Julie’s interest in doughnuts has moved from personal, as fan and doughnut blogger, to professional, as the curator of an exhibit of doughnut history now open at the City Reliquary in Brooklyn. “Keep Your Eye Upon the Donut” explores the past and present of New York City’s many donut shops, from Anna Joralemon’s original 1673 location on Broadway near Maiden Lane, to some of today’s notable doughnut locales. “Donut shops were once so integral to neighborhoods and some of the ones in Manhattan and Brooklyn still are, so I wanted to survey and document [their] history,” Julie said.
To inspire the sense of doughnut community that the old clubs fostered, Julie also started a Donut Dunkers Club in conjunction with “Keep Your Eye Upon the Donut.” The first meeting was held back in December and according to Julie, attracted a “small but enthusiastic group.” The final Dunker’s Club meeting will be held Sunday, March 2nd, the last day of the exhibit’s run, with everyone in attendance receiving an official membership card, along with coffee and doughnuts (of course!).
Get inspired by more historic club buttons in the Button Museum collection.
Exhibit and Dunkers Club photos by Anna O. Grant.