Cleaning Up

Rival parties and their presidential candidates claimed the idea of housekeeping as a metaphor for governing. In the 1880s, the distribution of lapel pins in the form of miniature whisk brooms required no explanation other than the addition of the candidate’s name or portrait.

Campaign pin cushion, 1896

Campaign broom pins, 1888

Campaign broom pins, 1888

The domestic idea of sweeping-clean continued into the 1950s, with graphic renditions of hand-held brooms whisking bureaucrats and congressmen into the air over the U.S. Capitol dome.

Dewey campaign button, 1948

Dewey campaign button, 1948

Socialist Workers Party pamphlet, 1956

Gifts of Robert Sherman, Nannine Young, Ralph E. Becker Collection of Political Americana, and the Honorable Michael V. DiSalle in memory of Thomas H. Williams