Friday, January 29, 2016

Ticket to 1954 Republican Centennial Dinner in Philadelphia

As we barrel toward Monday's Iowa Caucus, featuring a set of U.S. presidential candidates seemingly straight out of It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, here's a piece of political ephemera from my family's past. It's my great-grandfather's $100 ticket to the Republican Centennial Dinner, which was held on October 19, 1954, at Philadelphia's Convention Hall (which was demolished in 2005). The ticket measures 6⅛ inches wide.

The event was sponsored by the Republican Finance Committee of Southeastern Pennsylvania, a group that included officers W. James MacIntosh and Revelle W. Brown.

I can't find any details about the menu or the keynote speaker at this dinner. For $100 (the equivalent of nearly $900 today), I hope it was something and somebody good. At the time, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, a Republican, was in the second of his eight years in office. But I doubt that he attended the dinner. And I found evidence that Vice President Richard Nixon was in California on October 19, 1954, delivering a televised speech. So Nixon probably wasn't in Philadelphia, either.

I do know that the celebration of the "Republican Centennial" was a year-long event, with dinners and galas held across the nation. The event spawned its own keepsake memorabilia. Here are some items I found in Google searches:

By the way, when this event was held 61 years ago, Donald Trump was 8 years old and the fathers of yet-to-be-born Republican candidates Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio were both still living in Cuba. Both would come to the United States within a few years. Immigration is a wonderful thing.

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