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Welcome to the Kenneth Spencer Research Library blog! As the special collections and archives library at the University of Kansas, Spencer is home to remarkable and diverse collections of rare and unique items. Explore the blog to learn about the work we do and the materials we collect.

Stuck on Stickers

Bumper Sticker: Clinton /Gore

Bumper Sticker: Reagan for Governor

In honor of the upcoming presidential election, we focus today on one form of political advertisement: the bumper sticker. First produced in the 1940s, mostly likely by Kansas City, Kansas screenprinter Forest P. Gill, bumper stickers gained prominence in the early 1950s to advertise tourist attractions, public safety initiatives, political campaigns, radio and television stations, and political and personal viewpoints. As ephemeral artifacts broadcasting historical and social events and trends, bumper stickers are widely collected by museums, archives, and libraries.

Spencer Research Library is fortunate to have a substantive collection of bumper stickers in the Kansas Collection, as part of the Wilcox Collection of Contemporary Political Movements. This world-class collection was (and continues to be) shaped by Laird Wilcox, a former KU student and expert on right- and left-wing political groups from the early 1960s to the present.

For more information about the history of bumper stickers, see “Soapbox for the Automobile: Bumper sticker history, identification, and preservation

Bumper Sticker: Invest in America; Buy a Congressman

Bumper Sticker: Believe in Peace

Bumper Sticker: The only "ism" for me is Americanism

Bumper Sticker: Tired of Career Politicians?

Bumper Sticker: Don’t Do it in the Voting Booth

Bumper Sticker: Proud to Be Union

Bumper sticker: Goldwater '68

Bumper Sticker: Nader/LaDuke

Bumper Sticker: Join the National Guard

Bumper Sticker: Planetary Citizens.

Bumper Sticker: Think for yourself / Vote Republican

Bumper Sticker: We Support Agricultural Strike.

Bumper Sticker: Hollis/Chester; Vote Socialist in '96.

Bumper STicker: Young Americans for Freedom.

Bumper Sticker: Mibeck City Commission.

Bumper Sticker: No Matter How You Slice It

Bumper Sticker: Stop Over-governing!

Bumper Sticker: Practice Organized Resistance and Conscious Acts of Solidarity

Bumper stickers spanning the political spectrum from the Wilcox Collection of Contemporary Political Movements.
Above the post text: Wilcox Sticker # 46, 17; below the post text: Wilcox Sticker # 165, 28,
39, 50, 81, 22, 71, 174,  42, 33, 64, 1, 180, 43, 27, 10, 83, 164. Click images to enlarge.

Whitney Baker
Head, Conservation Services

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