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Button pin advertising humanitarian support

Object | Accession Number: 1992.68.2

“I Helped Jewish Refugees” pin-back button manufactured by the Whitehead & Hoag Company (W&H) in Newark, New Jersey, prior to the United States’ entry into World War II. W&H was incorporated in 1892, and within a few years, acquired three patents for button manufacturing, and became the largest manufacturer of advertising novelties in the United States. Button pins were used to rally support for a variety of causes, and Whitehead & Hoag had clientele from a range of political and ideological beliefs. They became a non-union company in 1919, and produced messaging buttons until the United States entered World War II in December 1941. During the war, W&H refocused their manufacturing to make identification buttons for factory workers. In the decade leading up to World War II, American newspapers frequently reported on Adolf Hitler and the German government’s increasing suppression of Jewish rights and persecution. American Jewish leaders employed a variety of overt and behind-the-scenes tactics to encourage the American government to take action, but the majority of citizens opposed allowing refugees into the country. Following the outbreak of World War II in Europe in September 1939, polls suggested that 93 percent of Americans opposed entry of the United States into the war. After the country eventually entered the war in 1941, Americans used a variety of propaganda materials to support the war effort, but rarely mentioned persecution of Europe’s Jewish population.

manufacture:  1919-1941 December
manufacture: Newark (N.J.)
Identifying Artifacts
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
Record last modified: 2020-06-30 17:15:05
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