Due, in part, to changes in social norms and technology, campaigns of today bear very little resemblance to those in the early days of our country.

Candidates themselves were rarely (sometimes never) seen on the campaign trail but rather their ‘surrogates’ were the ones on the front lines.

Before television and the internet, surrogates spread the word about their preferred candidate by distributing items such as campaign cards and silk campaign ribbons.

The information on campaign cards is limited, often having only a picture of the candidate and a slogan or saying, much like campaign lawn signs of today. However, without easy access to information, the only thing many voters knew about the candidates came from these cards.

The “Towner” campaign ribbon was used in support of Horace Mann Towner in his campaign of 1890 when he successfully ran for Judge of Iowa’s third judicial district. Towner went on to serve Iowa in the U.S. House of Representatives before being appointed Governor of Puerto Rico in 1923.