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Down With Pants

Down With Pants Humorous Button Museum
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Down With Pants button back Humorous Button Museum
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Red text on a white background. 

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EMRESS SPEC. 59.66 W. 23 ST. N.Y. 10 N.Y.

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In response to the cookie-cutter, conformist lifestyle of the 1950s, an emerging generation of post-war youth decided to turn American culture on its head. The 1960s and 1970s saw the counterculture unfold as new music, films, and recreational drugs helped shape the new era. Peace-loving hippies and the creative beats of The Beatles were all the rage at this time and helped fuel the counterculture movement. People were even famously urged to “turn on, tune in, and drop out” by psychologist Timothy Leary.

In addition to the hippie lifestyle, the counterculture was also characterized by the sexual revolution. Old behavioral codes related to sexuality saw a drastic change-up as more people were accepting of contraception, abortion, and public nudity. Though the United States generally condemns public nudity today, it fit the prevailing attitude of the 1960s that called for sexual liberation.

Humorous buttons related to free love and a host of other themes were manufactured by the Emress Specialty Company in the 1960s. The business was started a decade prior by New Yorker Emanuel “Manny” Ress in Atlantic City with the hopes of one day pinning his buttons on politicians.


Lardner, R. (1952, April 12). Alliteration is reputation. The New Yorker.

Queens man off to Atlantic City to push buttons (1964, August 25). New York Times.

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