If President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign made him a star, he had a lot of help from artist Shepard Fairey and the typeface Gotham. Would-be presidents’ branding can be just as important to voters as proposed policies. Just look to Presidential Campaign Posters: Two Hundred Years of Election Art, which spotlights everything from posters to political cartoons to terrifying masks meant to somehow compel people to vote for Jimmy Carter. Beginning with Andrew Jackson vs. John Quincy Adams in 1828, and ending with Fairey’s iconic HOPE poster, the book also examines history’s political losers, highlighting many third-party candidates whose turns at the ballot box were notorious if unsuccessful. The compendium’s also rife with juicy historical minutiae: Teddy’s daughter Alice Roosevelt Longworth said Calvin Coolidge looked like he’d been “weaned on a pickle”; 1872 candidate Horace Greeley had a neckbeard so voluminous it was likely sentient. (And it now has a Tumblr!) Plus, you’d be hard-pressed to find another book about presidential campaign posters that quotes Biz Markie. (He gives failed Democratic hopeful Shirley Chisholm a shoutout in his 1988 song “Nobody Beats the Biz.”) But best of all? Presidential Campaign Posters’ pages are large, full-color, and perforated, making it a snap to frame your favorite poster of William Howard Taft as Julius Pringles.
Library of Congress editors and curators discuss and sign the book at noon at the Library of Congress’ Mary Pickford Theater, 101 Independence Ave. SE. Free. loc.gov. (202) 707-5221.