Hi everyone, and welcome back to another Artifact Corner. Today we will be looking at some bookmarks from the early 1900’s. Both of the bookmarks are made of tin or aluminum, heart shaped and have a stamped floral decoration along the rim. The heart is cut in the center in order to slip it over the top of the page of the book you were reading. In the center, we see two different pictures. The first is of the 25th president William McKinley. The second is of our 26th president, Theodore Roosevelt. Here we are lucky that the Roosevelt bookmark still retains it’s blue tassel.
President William McKinley took office on March 4th, 1897. He served as president until he was died on September 14, 1901. On September 6th, 1901, McKinley had been attending the Pan American exposition in Buffalo, NY. While he was greeting the crowd, a man with a handkerchief was waiting on line to shake the presidents hand. When he reached McKinley, he dropped the handkerchief and revealed that he was holding a gun. He shot the president twice in the abdomen. Initially it seemed like the president would recover from his wounds, so much so, that his vice president, Teddy Roosevelt went away on a vacation to hike Mount Marcy.
Sadly, just eight days after being shot, McKinley died of gangrene that had developed in his wounds. Roosevelt was rushed to Buffalo, and became the 26th president of the United States on September 14th, 1901, at 3:30 pm. He would become the youngest president in US history at just 42 years old, and remains our youngest president to this day.
Campaign propaganda is nothing new. We can trace the origins of political propaganda back as far as our first president. Vendors all throughout the east coast of our country sold actual buttons with the letters GW on them, for people wishing to celebrate the inauguration of George Washington. The campaign in 1896 when McKinley was running for president was the first use of what we would now recognize today a traditional campaign button, seen here. Campaign propaganda didn’t stop at buttons. We see hats, and various other items that become memorabilia.
These bookmarks are an example of a very long tradition in our country of promoting political candidates. These pieces are well over a hundred years old, but still in very fine condition. We are so lucky to have these snap shots of our nations history, and are glad we are able to share them with you. Thanks so much for stopping by.
Music: Acoustic Breeze by Benjamin Tissot