50th Anniversary of Election of Daniel Button Event Wednesday


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daniel buttonOn Wednesday, November 9th, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm, the Albany Institute of History & Art will have a small reception, display a pop-up exhibition called “Dan Button: Victory!”, and host guests – including author William Kennedy  – to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the election of Daniel Button.

In the early 1960s, Dan Button served as executive editor of the Albany Times-Union newspaper. As editor, he was known for his strong dislike of one-party political control, which was pervasive in Albany with the Democratic Machine. In 1966, when Democratic Congressman Leo O’Brien announced his retirement, Button resigned from his job as editor to challenge the Machine’s new candidate for Congress. He surprised the system when he won the election as a Republican in the traditionally Democratic district. He served two terms in Congress. His memoir Victory! A Memoir of 1966 was published in 2009.

The pop-up exhibition Dan Button: Victory! draws from an archive collection of over 500 items recently donated to the museum by Nancy Button Nathan, daughter of Dan Button. The collection contains manuscripts and printed materials dating from 1952 to 2009, the year of Button’s death.

The contents of the collection relate primarily to Button’s years residing in Albany and the rise of his political career and community engagement. This exhibition contains 65 items including original cartoons, a contemporary map of the New York 29th District, photographs, campaign materials, buttons, and letters. It is organized chronologically and highlights Button’s affiliations with the State University of New York and the Times Union; his 1966 election; his time in Congress and his re-election campaigns; his time after Congress; the publication of his memoir; and more.

The event will include remarks by Rex Smith, editor of the Times Union; Daniel Button’s daughter, Nancy Button Nathan; Paul Grondahl, writer at the Times Union; and award winning author William Kennedy. Kennedy wrote the preface for Button’s memoir and will read it at this event. Remarks will begin at 6:15 pm.

This event is free to attend but requires advance registration. Attendees must register by calling the Albany Institute at (518) 463-4478 ext 403 or by going to the event listing on the museum’s online calendar.

The exhibition was curated by library volunteers Phoebe Bender, Carina Comiskey, Linda Simkin, Vicary Thomas, and Claire Yates.

The Albany Institute of History & Art is located at 125 Washington Avenue in Albany. Free parking is available in the museum’s lot at the corner of Elk and Dove Streets.

Photo of Daniel Button provided by Albany Institute for History and Art.

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