Presented is an original cotton campaign bandana made in support of Theodore Roosevelt’s 1904 presidential campaign. The bandana features Theodore Roosevelt and his running mate Charles W. Fairbanks. The two candidates are depicted in the center of the bandana with flags encircling them, a large wingspread eagle above, and red stars in the background. The two are depicted in three-quarter pose portraits with the captions “For President Theodore Roosevelt 1904” and “For Vice President Chas W. Fairbanks 1904” (Chas referring to an abbreviation of Charles) below. The pair are depicted above a prominent red banner with the slogan “Protection to American Industries” printed in white lettering.
This colorful, printed bandana was produced in support of the Republican 1904 presidential campaign. Bandanas have been used as popular presidential campaign items since the mid-19th century. Colorful cotton bandanas were often used by common blue-collar workers such as farmers or field hands. These bandanas were worn in pockets, often carried in frock coats or worn to Sunday Mass, and often depicted colorful designs. Presidential campaign bandanas were used in parades and political rallies, where they would be whipped around in the air in celebration or even attached to a pole to wave. Bandanas were also used in households, to decorate interior rooms or front porches, and sometimes on horse and buggies or carriages.
Theodore Roosevelt assumed the presidency in 1901 after the assassination of President William McKinley. He was re-elected in a landslide in 1904, with Fairbanks appointed as his vice president. Roosevelt went into the 1904 campaign with a great deal of support. His determined and exuberant personality, his pursuit of the expansion of the national park system, and his unwavering support of positive policy goals made him a favorite with the people. In his initial term in the presidency, Roosevelt had strengthened the American influence abroad and promised to continue such pursuits in his re-election.
This 1904 cotton bandana is in very good overall condition considering its age and use. Coloring is vibrant across the entire bandana, with some slight staining visible near candidates’ portraits. The cotton does not display any significant tears or damage. Bandana has been artfully framed in a dark, beaded frame according to conservation standards.