Judaic Lapel Buttons

I collect (American) Judaic lapel buttons.

I have approximately 3000 unique items. Each one represents a different moment in American Jewish life and offers a way to learn about the Jewish experience.

political buttons as history

instant history

Jews have produced and distributed lapel buttons (or pins) since the beginning of the 20th century. Some of these were produced to commemorate celebrations, others to make a point at demonstrations. Some were produced for commercial gain, and others for a political campaign. Their purposes are legion and diverse. Some are humorous, some serious. Each one tells of a moment in the recent Jewish experience.

In the Spring of 1979, Present Tense magazine (published by the American Jewish Congress until the early 1990s) printed a brief description of my collection [Vol 6 #3 pp. 30-31, it was actually the cover story]. At the time, the collection numbered only a few hundred items.

your lapel buttons

Many people have lapel buttons. They may be attached to a favorite hat or jacket you no longer wear, or poked into a cork-board on your wall. If you have any laying around that you do not feel emotionally attached to, please let me know. I am preserving these for the Jewish people. At some point they will all go to an appropriate museum.

things are not always as they seem

Sometimes I find a button that looks like it should belong in my collection. To be on the “safe side” I’ll buy it… only to learn later that…

Image on century-old lapel button is priest, not rabbi

…sorry, link rot…


Rt. Rev. Anton Niermann, who served at St. Joseph Parish in Davenport, appears on a 1909 lapel button that Rabbi Mark Hurvitz of New York bought.

other buttons shared

images of lapel buttons found around the Web

This page was originally Posted 26 March, 2009 (Rosh Ḥosdesh Nisan, 5769)