Lincoln Campaign Buttons

Nov 16th 2012

Lincoln Campaign Buttons

Steven Spielberg's biopic Lincoln opens today nationwide. While the timeline of the movie focuses on a few months in 1865, and not on either of Lincoln's presidential campaigns, it still got us thinking about Abraham Lincoln's addition to campaign button history.

A selection of campaign "buttons" from The Lincoln Collection. Each object features a centered tintype portrait on a brass base with a stick pin backer.

Lincoln used photography, a fairly new new technology at the time, in his 1860 and 1864 Presidential campaign efforts. These ferrotype portraits often ended up as wearable objects.

Abraham Lincoln "Pre-Button" currently housed in the Busy Beaver Button Museum. Notice the locking pin back— very close to a true pin-back button.

While not true campaign buttons since the pin-back button wasn't patented for another 30 years, these wearable portraits are a definite precursor to the celloid buttons mass produced for McKinley's 1896 campaign.

For more historical campaign buttons, check out the Busy Beaver Button Museum.

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