Claude Walker | Bicentennial-By-Buttons

Dirksen & Douglas

Can you believe we were represented for nearly two decades by both Paul Douglas AND Everett McKinley Dirksen? Titans of Congress.

In our 200 years, Illinois has sent some giants to Congress. We’ve produced some U.S. House Speakers: “Uncle Joe” Cannon 1903-11, a Republican called the strictest Speaker in history; Henry Rainey - a Knox College alum - had a brief Speakership (16 months), presiding over FDR’s “100 Days”; Dennis Hastert is the longest-serving GOP Speaker (1999-2007). Mason County Dem Scott Lucas served a term as U.S. Senate Majority Leader (1949-51). Everett McKinley Dirksen had one term as Senate GOP Whip. Dick Durbin is in his 7th term as Senate Dems 2nd-in-command.

Memorable Senators? Dirksen, Douglas, Percy, Stevenson, Simon, Dixon, Moseley Braun… Strong voices in the House? Dawson, Metcalfe, Anderson, Michel, Mikva, Hyde, Price, Pooch, Rosty, Yates, Crane, Lipinski the Elder, LaHood the Elder…

Simon Percy TitansSimon balloonPaul Simon bag

Ralph MetcalfeSouth Side TitanCMB TitanObama Senate window sign

Chicago’s South Side gave us Bill Dawson, Ralph Metcalfe, Harold Washington, Bobby Rush, Carol Moseley Braun, Barack.  

Chicago’s West Side gave us Cardiss Collins and Danny Davis. Cardiss & Danny Titans.

Anderson Martin Titans

Rockford gave us John Anderson & Lynn Martin. Anderson represented the GOP District from 1961-81. Flinty and iconoclastic, he was among the few Republicans to criticize the war in Vietnam and Nixon. He ran for President in '80, losing in the Primaries, then running as an Independent. (See Gallery #3 - They Ran for POTUS). He was succeeded by Lynn Martin, who served a decade in the House, lost a U.S. Senate bid (against Paul Simon), and was named U.S. Labor Secretary.

Quad Cities gave us Lane Evans (a progressive 12-term Congressman who was a Reagan antagonist and died way too young). Also Tom Railsback, one of six Repubs on the House Judiciary Committee to vote for Nixon’s impeachment (button coming soon). Nearby, Tim Hall was a rare Central Illinois Dem in the '70s. (Love the matchbox: Send HALL to Halls of Congress", "It's TIM E for Action")

Illinois For Brooks Political Button Museum

WW I Marine vet Charles Wayland Brooks served in the U.S. Senate during the 1940s, courtesy of Busy Beaver Museum.


The Little Egypt area seat held by Paul Simon was then held by the colorful (despite his name) Ken Gray, then Glenn Poshard (who lost a 1998 gubernatorial bid to George Ryan).

Mikva poster

Yates Titans Students for Yates Political Button Museum