Pinback button promoting William Jennings Bryan for president, 1896. Whitehead and Hoag Co., Newark, New Jersey.
Bryan, the Nebraska Congressman famous for his oratory, was a different breed of politician. His candidacy for the presidency in 1896 shook the establishment, including that of his own party. His zealous advocacy of free silver and agrarian populism won him the title, "The Great Commoner"—and the enmity of old school Republicans and Democrats alike. Despite an unprecedented national campaign tour, during which he delivered thousands of speeches (the "whistle stop" speech originated with Bryan), he lost to Ohio Republican William McKinley.
We offer this original celluloid button, one of the first made for a presidential election, picturing Bryan.