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Mid-20th Century US Political Ephemera


Held at: Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections [Contact Us]370 Lancaster Ave, Haverford, PA 19041

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

The earliest material in this collection celebrates the inauguration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He was elected during the Great Depression and served as President until his death in April 1945. He guided the United States through World War II, which lasted from 1939 until December of 1945. The United Nations was also founded during that year. Several pieces of this collection are wartime propaganda from the Cold War (1947-1991) and the Vietnam War (1955-1975). These wars dominated the American consciousness and were central issues in Presidential elections. Election material from 1960 (Kennedy), 1968 (Muskie) and 1980 (Carter) touch on these issues. Many of these materials were printed in Washington D.C., New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Illinois.

This collection contains political ephemera from a wide variety of publishers. Some of the earliest material is produced by the American government in order to sell war bonds, encourage tax filing, and, later, to recruit soldiers to the Vietnam war. The collection also contains a map distributed by the United Nations tracking their activities in 1949. There are multiple political cartoons: one is conservative and anti-communist, while several others attributed to Shoemaker and distributed by Appreciate America, Inc. are more liberal and encourage mutual respect and racial tolerance. Several of the papers are distributed in part as advertisements: the "Patriotic Panorama" map is by Albert Richard, a sportswear company, and the "1960 Presidential Election Folder" was created by the shoe brand Keds. While some of the material is partisan, such as the Kennedy and Humphrey/Muskie campaign posters, several of the posters are more general. The Keds election folder explains the electoral college system and provides a grid for tracking electoral votes. There is a poster specifically for educational purposes that shows past presidents of the United States and their parties, as well as explaining the inner workings of presidential campaigns.

Arranged by category

Gift of Robert Galford, 2019

Processed by Calla Kra-Caskey and Keyla Benitez, completed September 2023

Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
Calla Kra-Caskey and Keyla Benitez
Finding Aid Date
September, 2023
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use

Use Restrictions

Standard Federal Copyright Law Applies (U.S. Title 17)

Collection Inventory

Cartoons and Images.
Box 6
Maps and Infographics.
Box 6
Advocacy materials.
Box 6
Election materials.
Box 6
Election materials.
Othertype 1

Print, Suggest