You are here

Fan Museum

Have a story and button you'd like to share? Great! Follow this link to get started.

Philadelphia High Schools had a tradition of issuing a pinback button for each of the graduation classes of which there were 2 each year.  This button shows Dragon Lady from the Terry and the Pirates comic strip by Milton Caniff.  Pinback was issued by Overbrook High School of Philadelphia for the June 1947 graduating class. 

Here’s a pin from my collection that may not draw much attention at first, but has an interesting background. Here’s the story:

In my collection, I have had this neat pin for years and fairly recently obtained the postcard of Dakota Indian “John Other Day”. He was a Sioux (Dakota) Indian who was also known as “Anpetu-Tokeka”. Historically referred to as a ‘civilized’ indian, he is famous in Minnesota history and is considered a hero due to his efforts protecting white settlers from the slaughter by his own people in 1862. He was born near Swan Lake Minnesota in 1801. During the 1850’s, he married a white woman, converted to Christianity and became a farmer.

I found this in a old cabinet stereo system....on the edge is well written with a fine ink pen ...Oct 2 1922 Philadelphia Badge Co, Phila there is initial following ,but I can not read it.

This is a pocket mirror out of my collection showing an English bulldog with an apparent headache. This advertisement was created by the Caf-fee-no Drug and Advertising Company from Baltimore Maryland. The Paint, Oil, and Drug Review magazine printed in Chicago in April of 1900 said that the Caf-fee-no Drug and Advertising Company was incorporated in this year and were to be a manufacturer of medicines. 

Note that this company claims that their Caf-fee-no product “cures” headaches. 

Emerson Hamilton Liscum was an American hero of the Boxer Rebellion -- the largely forgotten conflict that began in 1899 and pitted the world powers (Britain, France, Germany, Russia, Japan and the U.S.) against Chinese nationalists who wanted to halt foreign influence in China. Liscum was a career soldier -- he volunteered in the Civil War and served as a Corporal in the First Vermont Infantry, then joined the Regular Army and was brevetted Captain for gallantry in the 1865 Richmond campaign.


Here is an interesting piece of Civil War history. This is the story of an escaped slave named Nicholas Biddle (pictured on this 1 3/4 diameter pinback button from my collection).

A favorite movie button -- Josephine Baker in her 1927 movie debut "Siren of the Tropics." Pictured with Josephine is her manager/lover Count Pepito Abatino. He was no "Count" at all, but a Sicilian stonemason and con man. But he did push Josephine into movies, although she never made it big as a movie star in America. 

Alongside the button is a photo of Josephine and Pepito taken same day, same place, same drink -- at a theatre in Paris in 1927 -- which is neat. 

She is Maxine Elliott, born “Jessie Carolyn Dermot” in Rockland, Maine, in 1868. At the age of fifteen she enrolled as a student at the Notre Dame Academy in Roxbury Mass. In 1889 she adopted her stage name “Maxine Elliott” making her first appearance in 1889 in “The Middleman”. She later appeared in “The Merchant of Venice” on Broadway in 1903 where she became a star.

Here is a really neat oversized pocket mirror that is part of my collection.

When Booker T Washington came to Alabama, he saw how poor black families were living in poverty and ignorance, sleeping and eating is little cabins. He realized that the only way blacks would ever achieve economic independence, racial solidarity, and self-respect would be through self-improvement and agricultural advancement. So, in 1881 he helped to found the Tuskegee Normal School for ColoredTeachers. This school started as a ‘School Farm’ educating students about agriculture and farming.

After Lindbergh’s famous flight from New York to Paris in May 1927 in his Spirit of St. Louis airplane, he instantly became famous all over the world for this achievement. 


Here are a couple of sepia pinback buttons from my collection that I really adore. I found them about 20 years apart.....maybe more.

Ambark Ali was a Vaudeville actor that actively performed in New York and surrounding areas in the 1910 to 1920 time period. Information is sparse on Ali, but I found a number of advertisements in newspapers and entertainment magazines for him performing with other entertainers at various vaudeville houses (Liberty in NYC, National Winter Garden, Lyceum in Rochester NY, Smith Opera House in Geneva, NY, etc).

Chicago 2000 union/political button

4" pinback button.  From Int. convention held in Chicago July 2000.

This is a 1-inch pinback button from my collection that I think is pretty unusual and has a great design.

This mirror came from the Milwaukee WI area. I'm looking for any information.

This mirror came from the Milwaukee WI area. Other than that I know nothing. Looking for any information; manufactured date, how many made, current estimated sell price, etc.

"Soitenly" a favor of mine and one of the greatest natural comedians of all time, Curly Howard of Three Stooges fame would have been 109 years old October 22nd. 

The 1st Colorado Volunteer Infantry Regiment had an interesting history, especially betwen 1898-1899 because of their involvement in two wars. Originally, they participated in the Spanish American War where they were sent to the Philippines to help force Spain to surrender the country. Then, because the Flipinos did not get independence as they were expecting, the Philippine-American War developed and continued until 1902. The 1st Colorado stayed around to fight the Filipino insurgents until summer of 1899, at which time they came back home to the US.

Here is a CDV and two pinback buttons from my collection of Eli Bowen "The Legless Acrobaot", born in 1844 with feet but no legs. He was 24 inches high and 140 pounds. He could climb a 13 foot pole and balance on one hand at the top of the pole. He could also grip the pole and hold his torso straight, parallel to the ground, and spin around the pole! He had phenomenal strength and was apparently considered one of the most handsome men in show business. He started at age 13 then later toured in Europe with the Barnum and Bailey Circus as an adult.

Here is a pocket mirror likely from around 1900 showing a real photo captioned “Troubandore Mandolin Club Arbor Pennsylvania”. In the late 1800’s, mandolin playing became very popular. Glee clubs and banjo clubs already existed in schools and colleges at that time, but mandolin clubs started taking over. The mandolin had an advantage over other instruments like the banjo and guitar because the mandolin was cheap, small, romantic, and easy to play. In 1902, the Sears and Roebuck catalog offered six different models of mandolins!

Issued by the Philadelphia Badge Co in the 1920's, here is a "Snookums" pin. Sunny McKeen, known as Snookums was born in 1924 and became a Hollywood child movie star in the late 1920’s and early 1930’s. He starred in 39 "Newlyweds and Their Baby" silent movie shorts that lasted from 1926 to 1929. Sunny was very popular at the time with his adorable face and pointed cowlick and most of these movie shorts revolved around him. There were other titles like Snookums’ Tooth, Fishing Snookums, Snookums’ Buggy Ride and Snookums Disappears. Unfortunately, many of his films were not cared for.