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Buttons speak volumes

By Staff | Nov 1, 2008

Alan Robinson exhibits his political button collection dating back to the days of Howard Taft 99 years ago. EDN photo by Mary Ann Menendez

Button, button who’s got the button?

In Estherville, it appears Alan Robinson does and it isn’t just one but a whole collection of political buttons from different decades.

The oldest one is for William Howard Taft and belonged to his grandfather, Charlie Robinson, who was a pharmacist also. Another early one promotes Franklin Roosevelt for president, the first time around. He went on to seek the presidency in four elections and won every time.

On the flip side, another button reads, “Roosevelt for ex-president.” That was probably created for the unhappy contingent because FDR continually won elections.

The collection has buttons supporting Republicans and Democrats, including: Dwight “Ike” Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Richard M. Nixon, Harry Truman, Bob Dole, Gerald Ford, Barack Obama, George Bush Sr., Bill Clinton, Barry Goldwater, Lyndon Baines Johnson, Adlai Stevenson and Iowa’s own Herbert Hoover.

Two buttons offered local support for the late Rollie Jasper, who held a seat on the Emmet County Board of Supervisors and former Iowa Governor Robert Ray.

Chuckling, Robinson pointed out a button that reads, “Elect Dole-Annoy the Media.”

The Estherville Drug pharmacist said he couldn’t find any buttons from the last election because bumper stickers were a hot demand item.

“Political buttons were really popular in the ’50s and ’60s. Then they died off.”

The collection is on display in the pharmacy section at Estherville Drug located at 522 Central Ave.