Trove of campaign pins has home at Delaware County Historical Society

The Delaware County Historical Society's collection includes numerous campaign pins from across the years. Submitted photo — Delaware County Historical Society

Election campaigns can be a multitude of things from inspirational to colorful to low-level mud-slinging fests, and one way to remember them and their namesakes is through the pins.

While political signs dot lawns through a seasons, once Election Day comes and goes, they’re gone — but, pins can sometimes stand the test of time, as evident by the collection at the Delaware County Historical Society.

These pins date to the 1970s and earlier as they capture the campaigns of U.S. senators and representatives, as well as state candidates trying to gain a seat.

A “John Heinz for Senate” pin recalls the moderate Pennsylvania senator killed in a plane crash 27 years ago.

An heir to the H.J. Heinz Co., he advocated for the elderly and for the declining steel industry in Pittsburgh as a congressman and then a senator in the 1970s.

On April 4, 1991, he and six others died when his plane crashed with a helicopter above Merion Elementary School. The helicopter had been dispatched to check out a problem on his plane.

Following the tragedy, the Tinicum Wildlife Preserve was renamed the John Heinz Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum.

The “Elect Kathy Durham State Rep” pin nods to a former position held by a county judge.

Kathrynann Durham served eight terms as a Republican state representative for the 160th state legislative district from 1979 through 1996.

In 1997, she began a term on Delaware County Council, where she stayed until her election to the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas in 2001.

The “Elect Senator Loeper” pin vies for a candidate who left office in unsavory circumstances.

Representing the 26th state senatorial district, F. Joseph Loeper served in the Pennsylvania Senate from 1979 until 2000. He served as Senate majority leader twice from 1989 to 1992 and from 1994 through 2000.

The Republican’s tenure ended when he resigned from his seat after pleading guilty to federal charges of falsifying tax documents. He served six months in federal prison at Fort Dix, N.J., and went to work as a lobbyist.

Former Congressman Dick Schulze was also represented with the pin “Vote Dick Schulze for Congress.”

A Villanova University alum, Schulze served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1973 to 1993 and rose to the House Ways and Means Committee. His district included Delaware, Chester and Montgomery counties.

No matter the political persuasion, perhaps many can appreciate one particular pin. “Clean Up Congress” drives its point home by showing a sweeping broom atop an image of the U.S. Capitol building.

The pin collection can be seen at the home of Delaware County Historical Society, located at 408 Avenue of the States in Chester. It is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday and Friday, 1 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Thursday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Parking is free in lot behind the building or across the street in the city’s municipal lot.

For more information or for ways to get involved, call 610-359-0832.

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