William L. Clements Library

Past Exhibit

Exhibit at the Great Hall of the William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan.

"PATRIOT FARE: Bunker Hill Pickles, Abe Lincoln Tomatoes, Washington Crisps and Uncle Sam Apples" — Washington, Lincoln and Franklin as advertising pitchmen

July 5 through Sept. 29, 2006


Lecture by Janice Bluestein Longone Sept. 17, 3-5 p.m.

ANN ARBOR, Mich.--- From Bunker Hill Pickles to Abe Lincoln Tomatoes to Washington Crisps (corn flakes) and Uncle Sam Apples, the next exhibition from the Longone Center for American Culinary Research at the University of Michigan's Clements Library explores the use of patriotic symbols to promote various food products. "Would these icons and similar patriotic ones such as Franklin, Plymouth Rock, the Flag, the Liberty Bell, the Statue of Liberty or Columbia induce you to buy a product or encourage you to change your eating habits? For the past 150 years, someone—many someones—believed the answer was 'yes'. From its earliest years, the American advertising industry has used patriotic images to sell food," said Janice Longone, curator of the exhibition, Patriotic Fare: Bunker Hill Pickles, Abe Lincoln Tomatoes, Washington Crisps and Uncle Sam Apples. Yes, images of all of these icons, and more, have been used over time to pique the interest of the American public in the product being pitched. Advances in graphics and printing caught the consumer's eye with striking colorful containers and advertisements while taking advantage of the free use of historical celebrity images. Patriotic marketing has been so successful because it works in many ways," said Andrew Gershoff, U-M associate professor of marketing. First, it draws attention to products, so people are more likely to consider them. It also stimulates strong feelings that may improve liking of products. It can also affect how people make inferences about a product's features, such as its strength or reliability." But, Gershoff said there are some downsides to patriotic marketing. With changing opinions, patriotic feelings may become conflicted and hurt sales. "Because patriotism is particularly important to some individuals," Gershoff said, "companies that have failed to remain respectful in their presentation and use of patriotic symbols and messages have met with strong negative public reaction."

"Patriotic Fare: Bunker Hill Pickles, Abe Lincoln Tomatoes, Washington Crisps and Uncle Sam Apples" will open at U-M's Clements Library July 5 and run through Sept. 29. The exhibition at the library at 909 South University Street in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is open 1:00 - 4:45 pm.

The library will be closed July 19-22. In conjunction with this exhibition, the Clements Library and the Culinary Historians of Ann Arbor will sponsor a lecture by Mrs. Longone about the exhibition at the library Sept. 17, from 3-5 p.m. Janice Bluestein Longone is available by e-mail at jblong@umich.edu or by phone at 734-764-2347. Andrew Gershoff can be reached at agershof@bus.umich.edu