Campaign button: A. Lincoln for President 1864
Brass campaign button including a centered tintype portrait bust of Abraham Lincoln with text that reads "A. LINCOLN" arched above his head. The portrait is surrounded by a brass circular frame that features a braided border around text that reads: "FOR PRESIDENT / 1864"; with a metal wire fastener.
The political button, or lapel pin, is one of the forms of material culture most associated with political campaigns in the United States. The first political pins were actual buttons sewn to lapels and worn as early as April, 1789, at the inauguration of George Washington as the first president of the United States. Photographs of candidates first appeared on buttons in the 1848 presidential campaign. This campaign button, featuring a photograph of Abraham Lincoln from his 1864 election, is one of the oldest buttons in the collection and once belonged to a Mr. V.H. Jackson, of 122nd Street and Lenox Avenue, who kept it since 1864. Lincoln relied on photography to make himself better known during the campaign. The picture is called a ferrotype, or a tintype, where the photograph was developed directly onto a lacquered sheet of iron that had been coated with collodion.