November 2, 2000

VOTE! Exhibition

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The VOTE! Exhibition, organized in celebration of the 2000 Presidential election, is now on display in Kroch Library’s Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, on level 2B. The exhibition contains unique Presidential campaign memorabilia dating from 1789 to 1972, and will remain on display until March 16.

Most of the campaign items displayed in the VOTE! Exhibition were pulled from the Susan H. Douglas Collection of Political Americana, donated by an individual collector to the Cornell library in 1957. The Douglas collection consists of approximately 5,500 items of political propaganda dating from 1789 to 1960. Various items fr om the Presidential campaigns of 1960 to 1972 are also included.

Relics on display include a woman’s dress that reads “I like Ike,” a Franklin D. Roosevelt mug that reads, “Happy days are here again,” and a bar of soap with a figurine of a baby showing the slogan, “My Poppa will vote for McKinley.” Also featured in the Exhibition are various campaign buttons, walking sticks attached to moldings of Presidents’ heads, bottlestoppers, banners, smoking and drinking paraphernalia, clothing, and much more.

“The objects [in the Exhibition] are meant to tell a story,” said Susan Palmer, head of public services in the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections. “VOTE! provides students with another way to study history that is not through books, videos or the web.”

Palmer also remarked that although the Exhibition is newly organized and is the first to celebrate Presidential campaigns since the opening of Kroch library, similar displays have been assembled in Olin Library around the time of past Presidential elections. “I personally think it’s a great thing to do every four years,” she said.

The Exhibition does not contain items from Presidential campaigns later than 1972, according to Palmer, because it was at about that time that campaigning began to take place largely through televised appearances and advertisements.

“Students can look at these [items] and see how fun and creative Presidential campaigns used to be,” said government major Alex Harris ’02.

Palmer hopes the Exhibition will encourage student interest in the 2000 Presidential campaign. “And if it gets more people to vote, that would be great, too,” she added.

The VOTE! Exhibition can be viewed Mondays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 1 to 5 p.m.

Archived article by Lindsay Lippman