‘Souvenir Nation’ Book Review

Editor's Picks, Featured Article
on June 30, 2013

Souvenir Nation
By William L. Bird Jr.
Hardcover, 176 pages ($24.95, Princeton Architectural Press)

The keepsakes in this collection are no mass-produced roadside trinkets. They’re all objects of extraordinary circumstance, historical curios residing in the archives of the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History that have amazing stories to tell about our country’s past. The author, a curator and historian at the museum, provides commentary to go with the full-page color photos of the fragment of Plymouth Rock, the dishtowel used as a truce flag that ended the Civil War, the microphones for Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Fireside Chat,” a magnifying glass used to examine the infamous “hanging chads” in the 2000 presidential election, and more than 45 other uniquely red, white and blue artifacts.