I began collecting pins when I was a little kid. At some point during my teen years I decided to dispose of most of the collection, but I kept all the political buttons. Many of the political buttons where my mother’s pins that she gave me from her teens and early 20s, Kennedy, Humphrey, McCarthy, McGovern, Nixon and Carter. From my teens through today, I continue collecting political pins, amassing a collection that includes every president and most major candidates from Hoover to Obama.
But just like my interest in politics, my favorite pins are pins for local state and city candidates. Hubert Humphrey and Walter Mondale senate pins, various governor pins, Joan Growe, Paul Wellstone, George Latimer, Mark Dayton, Tony Bouza, I could go on.
And it is not just because they are local that I like them, it is because I have a personal story that goes along with a lot of those pins. I have more Barry Goldwater and George McGovern pins than any other candidate except for Hubert Humphrey, but none of them are mine. It is a pin like the Mark Dayton pin handed to me by Mark Dayton at the 1982 Sherburne County Fair Parade that is special. As he was walking by I told him my mom was going to vote for him, and he stopped and shook my hand. The pins of candidates that I have a connection with are what I like.
My earliest political memory is a vague recollection of the attempted assassination of President Ford, but more detailed early memories are of Hubert Humphrey, Walter Mondale, Don Fraser, and Ted Kennedy. Don Fraser is in the middle of a pretty important group. I began thinking about the former politician again when he endorsed Paul Thissen for Governor a couple weeks ago. I thought for a moment and realized I didn’t think I had any political buttons of Don Fraser’s. I brought the large box full of buttons upstairs and verified that there was nothing.
Not only do I have nothing when it comes to pins, I had a hard time finding very much information about Don Fraser on the web. There are a few recent news stories, and a recent youtube video interview with him, but he retired just before the internet boom. The Minnesota Historical Society has a few things, as does the Hennepin County Historical Society, but there does not seem to be a ton of documents out there.
Yesterday I did two things. First I contacted a political memorabilia collector who specializes in local Minnesota pieces asking if he had anything affordable regarding Fraser’s runs for Congress, his run for Senate or his runs for mayor. Second, I began reading Arvonne Fraser’s book She’s No Lady, the memoir of her life. Don Fraser is Arvonne Fraser’s husband.
Maybe I can glean a few things from her book and maybe do a little research on my own to publish a little something here on MNDem that reflects the memories that place him among the early important political figures in my life. If nothing else, when another person is looking for a little interesting information about Don Fraser on the web, maybe there will be something there. Check back.