Cambria County Historical Society offering presidential memorabilia presentation

Oct. 9—EBENSBURG, Pa. — Even though Stephen Mihaly owns more than 20,000 pieces of presidential memorabilia, there is one in particular he makes sure to bring to any presentation — a Richard Nixon shower head.

The three-dimensional image of Nixon’s face has a circular opening in the mouth from which water would come out when used.

“People always love the Nixon shower head,” Mihaly said.

Mihaly plans to have the item with him when he gives his free “Marketing the Presidency — A Visual Tour of 125 Years of Presidential Artifacts” show-and-tell at the Ebensburg Borough building, 300 West High St., beginning at 7 p.m. Wednesday. The event is sponsored by the Cambria County Historical Society.

“I take the audience through essentially a visual journey of the last 125 years or so of campaign items that presidential candidates or their campaigns have produced to try and entice folks, like you and I, to vote for them,” said Mihaly, who is a Gibsonia, Allegheny County, resident.

Mihaly’s extensive collection includes buttons, ribbons, pennants, hats and rarer items — such as an 1896 William McKinley “Soap Baby” tub toy, Dwight Eisenhower “IKE” sugar cubes, a Theodore Roosevelt 1904 beer tray and a James Monroe snuff box.

“From my perspective, the odder the better,” Mihaly said when discussing what items he likes.

Mihaly has been collecting for more than half a century — ever since his father got him a collection of 10 campaign buttons at a garage sale.

“You have, let’s say, 10 buttons,” Mihaly said. “Now you’re looking for No. 11. You get No. 11, and you’re now looking for No. 12. Then you start telling people that you collect these things. …

“Kind of fast-forward 50 years, essentially, I’m doing the same thing, except the collection has grown well beyond the original 10 pieces.”

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