Victor Berger Campaign Poster
Campaign poster for Victor Berger (1860-1929), U.S. Senatorial campaign.
This large poster documents Berger's campaign for United States Senate in a special election in April 1918. Berger, a co-founder of the Socialist Party of America, was not only the first Socialist ever elected to the U.S. Congress, but was also chief architect and strategist for the longest-running Socialist municipal government in America.
This two-color lithographed poster was printed on eight separate sheets of paper, which were glued together into a dramatic finished size of over 8 feet high and 6 feet across. It was produced by the Riverside Printing Company of Milwaukee, a general job printer founded in the 1860s. By the early 20th century, the company advertised printing, engraving, electrotyping, zinc etching and bookbinding services as well as lithography. Riverside also made large outdoor advertisements for circuses, theatrical productions and on occasion, political campaigns. The artwork shows the characteristic soft, pencil-like marks of a hand-drawn lithograph, and was probably printed on zinc plates. The poster was printed primarily in blue, with only four sheets accented in red. Because each color required a different plate, this approach added a splash of extra color, while keeping production costs down.
Image ID: 1901
Creation Date: 1918 ca.
Creator Name: Not known
Collection Name: Berger, Victor L. : Papers, 1862-1980
Original Format Type: prints, fine-art
Original Format Number: Museum # 1992.168
Original Dimensions: 75 x 100 inches
An American Socialist leader and Congressman, Berger was born in Austria-Hungary. He studied at universities in Budapest and Vienna, then emigrated in 1878 to the United States and settled in Milwaukee. After 1892 he devoted himself to Socialist politics and journalism, editing the Milwaukee Vorwärts! from 1892 to 1898. With Eugene V. Debs he was instrumental in the creation of the American Socialist party. In 1910, his leadership helped the Socialists win control of Milwaukee government for many years. Berger was elected the first Socialist member of Congress and served from 1911 to 1913. He was reelected in 1918 and 1919. Congress excluded his seat on grounds of sedition, a charge for which he was sentenced to a 20-year prison term. The U.S. Supreme Court reversed this decision in 1921. He was allowed to take his seat when reelected in 1922. Again elected in 1924 and 1926, he was defeated in 1928. Voice and Pen (1929) is a collection of his speeches and editorials.
Also see this poster as a "Curators' Favorite".
Clothing and dress
Socialist Party (U.S.)
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