Collecting souvenirs is a centuries-old phenomenon that evolved from religious pilgrimages and migrations of communities. It sustains memories and captures the essence of a journey, event, place, or individual.
Maintaining a memory of the presidency through a keepsake allows people to honor or own a piece of the presidential past. Souvenirs range from relics to expensive or unique items to cheaper, mass-produced toys, T-shirts, and mugs--"star-spangled kitsch."
Except for iconic items, most of this material is eventually forgotten or discarded by the purchaser or recipient. But it reveals much about changing notions of how a president can or should be remembered.