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Jerome O. Herlihy political campaign ephemera collection

Identifier: MSS 0896

Content Description

The Jerome O. Herlihy political campaign ephemera collection spans over a century of United States politics, with special emphasis on Delaware politics and politicians. It is a collection of campaign buttons and pins, bumper stickers, a wide array of artifacts, and paper ephemera, covering national, statewide, and local Delaware elections, and various local and national policy issues. This collection was curated and donated by Judge Jerome O. Herlihy, who assembled this collection throughout his lifetime.

This collection is arranged into six series: Campaigns buttons and pins, Bumper stickers, Artifacts, Paper ephemera, Posters and signs, and Thomas Herlihy, Jr. and Pearl Herlihy Daniels (née Glenn) ephemera.

Series I, Campaign buttons and pins, has approximately 1500 individual buttons, pins and medals relating to federal elections (1876-2016), Delaware statewide elections (circa 1950-2004), and local elections (circa 1934-1990).

Series II, Bumper stickers, comprises over 400 unique bumper stickers from national, Delaware and local elections (1952-2012).

Series III, Political artifacts, comprises 375 unique objects, including matches, writing implements, hats, sponges and keychains.

Series IV, Paper ephemera, covers local, Delaware statewide and national elections.

Series V, Posters and signs, has posters and signs from primarily national elections, and a few Delaware statewide elections.

Series VI, Thomas Herlihy, Jr. and Pearl Herlihy Daniels ephemera, comprises a scrapbook assembled by Herlihy’s mother and a photograph including his father.

This collection has materials from five major political parties in the United States: the Republican Party, the Democratic Party, the American Party, the Progressive Party and the Libertarian Party, as well as some Independent candidates. Candidate information, as available, is displayed using the following formula, First Name Last Name, in parenthesies: (Party [D= Democrat; R= Republican] and/or Year). If a candidate is missing some information, the missing data are displayed as [First name unknown] or [?].


  • Creation: 1876-2018


Language of Materials

Materials primarily in English, with a small number of items in Spanish.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections Department, University of Delaware Library,

Biographical Note

Jerome O. Herlihy was born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware. His parents were both active in the Delaware Republican Party, and Herlihy’s affinity for politics began at a young age. His father, Thomas G. Herlihy, Jr. (1904-1977), briefly served as mayor of Wilmington in 1945, before being appointed chief judge of the Municipal Court of the City of Wilmington. Herlihy’s mother, Pearl Herlihy Daniels (1910-1994), was an alternate delegate to the 1952 Republican National Convention (RNC) in Chicago, Illinois. After one of the original delegates became ill, Herlihy’s mother ended up attending the convention as an Eisenhower delegate. It was at this 1952 RNC Convention that Herlihy began to immerse himself in collecting buttons and following the politics around them.

Throughout his life, Herlihy maintained a connection to Delaware politics and law. He served as Chief Deputy Attorney General under former Governor David Buckson and was a chief legal advisor for former Governor Russell Peterson. He also served as an Election District Committeeman, a Representative District Committeeman, a Regional Chairman for Brandywine, a State Chairman in Delaware (1977-1985), and the Chairman of the Northeast Republican National Committee (1981). He was appointed to the Delaware Superior Court in 1989 by former Governor Michael Castle and served as a Superior Court Judge from 1989 until his retirement in 2013.

Herlihy collected political buttons and ephemera for most of his life. Although a lifelong member of the Republican Party, Herlihy made a special effort to collect from both sides of the aisle, and furthermore, his collection includes numerous items from third parties. Most of his collecting was done at national conventions. He also obtained buttons by writing to politicians who had recently run and asking them to mail him buttons. Herlihy enjoyed collecting the buttons himself, and frequently attended conventions until his appointment to the Delaware Superior Court in 1989.

"History: Our Judicial Officers." Delaware Superior Court. (accessed October 2019). "Oral History with Jerome O. Herlihy." University of Delaware (27 September 2019).


2100 item (This collection contains approximately 1500 campaign buttons and pins, 400 unique bumper stickers, 375 political artifacts, paper ephemera, and posters and signs in 27 boxes. )

2 VHS tape

1 phonograph record

1 oversize removal


Delaware native and former Delaware Superior Court Judge Jerome O. Herlihy maintained an active connection to national and local politics throughout his life. The Jerome O. Herlihy political campaign ephemera collection spans over a century of United States and Delaware politics, and includes campaign buttons and pins, bumper stickers, a wide array of political artifacts, and paper ephemera.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Jerome O. Herlihy, 2018-2019

Related Collections in this Repository

MSS 0733, Delaware ephemera collection related to politics, policy, and government

MSS 0093, Item 0119, Robert J. Voshell collection of Delaware political ephemera scrapbooks

Items from the collection appeared in the exhibition “Trail to the Voting Booth: An Exploration of Political Ephemera,” lauched online September 2020, University of Delaware – Morris Library. The exhibition can be viewed online at

Condition Description

Most material is in good condition. Some of buttons have ribbons that will require careful handling due to fragility. Some of the bumper stickers have deterioration issues (adhesive and ink) and require careful handling.

Shelving Summary

  1. Boxes 1-9, 22-25: Shelved in SPEC MSS record center cartons
  2. Boxes 10 and 21: Shelved in SPEC MSS manuscript boxes (upright mss)
  3. Boxes 11 and 12: Shelved in SPEC MSS oversize boxes (20 inches)
  4. Box 13: Shelved in SPEC MSS binder boxes
  5. Boxes 14, 18 and 19: Shelved in SPEC MSS oversize boxes (17 inches)
  6. Box 15: Shelved in SPEC MSS photo box
  7. Boxes 16 and 17: Shelved in SPEC MSS shoeboxes
  8. Box 20: Shelved in SPEC MSS manuscript boxes (3 inch)
  9. Box 26: Shelved in SPEC MSS oversize boxes (28 inches)
  10. Box 27: Shelved in SPEC MSS oversize boxes (24 inches)
  11. Oversized removals: Shelved in SPEC MSS oversize mapcases
  12. Removals: Shelved in SPEC Media Phonographic records
  13. Removals: Shelved in SPEC Media Videocassettes
  14. Box 28: Shelved in SPEC MSS oversize boxes (18 inches)

Processing Information

Processed and encoded by Sarah A.V. Ellington, October 2019

Finding aid for Jerome O. Herlihy political campaign ephemera collection
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
2019 October 10
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Delaware Library Special Collections Repository

181 South College Avenue
Newark DE 19717-5267 USA