Urban Archeologist: Bipartisan Finds

Which piece of campaign memorabilia would you vote for?


When I’m digging, picking or dumpster-diving I have no agenda, no political affiliations. I do, however, believe in the right to find things, take pictures of them and tell and re-tell the story of what it is and how I found it.

If you asked me to pick a winner on November 6, unless he’s buried in a flea market or stuck between the rafters of someone’s attic, my guess would be as good as anyone else’s.

Finding campaign memorabilia is just as good as all the other things I find. It’s a snapshot or milestone of local history, and if I’m lucky enough — national history.

Over the years I have stumbled across some interesting pieces displayed above.

The Taft ribbon was tucked in a Rudyard Kipling book at a Newtown sale. (Score one for the Republicans.)

The mug I found in Redding on top of a dumpster in several pieces, which I was able to retrieve and glue back together. (Another score for the Republicans.)

The mailer from Danbury’s Democratic team in 1973 has a triple score — for the flyer itself, the yearbook-style listing of all the candidates — hopefully some readers will reminisce in the comments. Inside the envelope was a gift from the out-going mayor: a print of Danbury Town Hall.

My favorite piece is the last image of the Republic Club of Danbury performing the musical HMS Pinafore at the Empress Theater in 1921. The building was built around 1850 and was known as the Princess Theatre until it was converted to show movies and became the Empress. It’s still an entertainment venue today though it had been reduced in size from what is pictured here. The first image of a production at the Empress (next door to the Palace theater on Main Street) I’ve ever seen.

So, there you have it — a tie. Truthfully, I think the Republicans throw out better memorabilia and Democrats give better memorabilia away. This is only my opinion… I could be wrong.

Greg Van Antwerp is a Brookfield resident and blogger, who can be found on the weekends in search of a good “dig” or a good story.  You can read more about his adventures by visiting his blog.


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