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Will Rogers for President exhibit opens
On Thursday, June 1, the Will Rogers Memorial Museum (WRMM) in Claremore opens a new exhibit Will Rogers for President, highlighting the history behind his mock presidential campaign 95 years ago.
In May 1928, LIFE magazine ran an entertaining story promoting the idea that Will Rogers was running for president. The article appealed to “dissatisfied voters of both parties,” touting that Rogers was a perfect fit for the candidacy. Taking the suggestion of his nomination by the “Anti-Bunk Party” as a joke, he penned a witty retort the following week with the headline “I Accept the Nomination,” writing that the platform of his candidacy could be: “Whatever the other fellow [don’t] do, we will.”
At this time, Rogers was in high demand as an entertainer, often asked to speak at conventions and give impromptu speeches for elected officials. He often made light of both Democrats and Republicans who were serving in public office. His unvarnished view of politics and politicians was refreshing and funny, but Rogers never considered running for president seriously. This exhibit explores photographs, cartoons, and quotes from the period. The articles featured in LIFE magazine surrounding the idea of his run are also featured. The display shows a picture of the late 1920s, illustrating that the “campaign” was for the public’s amusement and another platform for Rogers’s entertaining political satire. The exhibit will remain open at WRMM through June 1, 2024.
This exhibit was funded by an Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums grant and curated by WRMM staff members—Creative Curator Bart Taylor, Curator Jennifer Holt, and Education Coordinator Bryan Beard.