At least once a decade Elbridge Gerry has his fifteen minutes of contemporary fame. That’s when the census results in the redrawing of Congressional districts is in some states. Here in New York it means the state has one fewer seat in the House of Representatives, so there’s partisan haggling over drawing district lines. 

And that’s where Mr. Gerry comes in. A founding father and a vice president, the then Massachusetts governor signed off on a convoluted redistricting plan that benefitted his party. An editorial cartoon in 1812 depicted the districts as a state-shaped monster and dubbed the creature a “Gerry-Mander.”

Elbridge Gerry

So, even though he signed the Declaration of Independence, was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention and was a Vice President, he is best remembered for the political practice of drawing voting districts to benefit a political party.

I’ve always had an interest in all things political. “I like Ike” was my first political button, and the first president I remember. Over the years I’ve picked up a few other political items, but I’m far from being a collector. And being in the newspaper business, I’ve also managed to buy a few original editorial cartoons, though from the 20th century. 

It seems like collecting antiques is always opening new old doors!

Grant Hamilton, Publiser NYPA-Collector