William Jennings Bryan Soap Doll

William Jennings Bryan Soap Doll

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Usage conditions apply
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 Democratic nominee William Jennings Bryan and his Republican opponent and eventual winner William McKinley 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.
Object Name
associated person
Bryan, William Jennings
McKinley, William
Physical Description
soap (overall material)
overall: 4 1/2 in x 2 in x 1 1/4 in; 11.43 cm x 5.08 cm x 3.175 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Ralph E. Becker
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
American Democracy
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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