Soap, William McKinley


Many factors, including changes in technology and the emotionally charged issues of the day, led to an explosion of campaign items in the 1896 presidential election. Of the more than 2000 varieties produced, none was more unusual than the soap baby. The campaigns of both the Republican candidate and eventual winner William McKinley and his Democratic opponent William Jennings Bryan featured individual infant-shaped soaps each of which rested in a cardboard box with a tag promoting the policies of the relevant party. Future politicians abandoned these items apparently because voters thought they looked too much like babies in coffins.

Associated Person: McKinley, WilliamBryan, William Jennings

Used: Political Campaigns


See more items in: Political and Military History: Political History, Campaign Collection, Government, Politics, and Reform, American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith

Exhibition: American Democracy

Exhibition Location: National Museum of American History

Credit Line: Ralph E. Becker Collection of Political Americana

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: PL.227739.1896.X05Catalog Number: 227739.1896.X05Accession Number: 227739

Object Name: Soapsoap

Physical Description: soap (overall material)Measurements: overall: 4 3/4 in x 2 in x 1 1/4 in; 12.065 cm x 5.08 cm x 3.175 cm


Record Id: nmah_529357

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