Iconic Photos

Famous, Infamous and Iconic Photos

Adlai Stevenson bares his sole

with 3 comments


Flint Journal photographer, Bill Gallagher had a reputation for getting comedic pictures, and he took this picture of Democratic presidential candidate and Illinois Gov. Adlai E. Stevenson (right) and Michigan Gov. G. Mennen Williams on the Labor Day 1952. Kneeling in front of the podium to cover Stevenson’s speech, Gallager noticed a hole in Stevenson’s shoe. Gallagher set his focus on six feet, set the lens opening and removed the flash gun so as not to attract attention. He set the camera on the floor of the platform and fired one bulb.

Stevenson looked over at him and uncrossed his legs. But Gallagher had the image–which would became one of the great political photos of all time. The next day, it the airwaves and papers. The hole was totally out of character for the aristocratic, wealthy, intellectual Stevenson, who was having difficulty establishing himself as a candidate of the people in his race against Dwight D. Eisenhower.  The photo was so loved by Stevenson’s campaign that it even sold silver lapel pins, T-shirts and posters to memorialize the symbol of everyman frugality (below)*. The witty candidate himself responded, Better a hole in the shoe than a hole in the head,” but it was not enough for him to win the presidency. The photo, however, won a Pulitzer and Stevenson sent a telegram congratulating Gallagher: “Glad to hear you own with a hole in one.”

Stevenson’s head was also at the centre of attention that year. His opponent Eisenhower’s vice presidential candidate Richard Nixon called him an “egghead”, referring to his baldness. Constantly under mockery for his hair, Stevenson remarked,“Via ovicipitum dura est” (The way of the egghead is hard) in a lecture he gave at Harvard on March 17 in 1954. A week later on March 23 he made another joke, “Eggheads of the world, unite; you have nothing to lose but your yolks.”

Adlai Stevenson silver shoe pin

* In 2008, another intellectual democrat from Illinois would also don similar everyman frugality with old shoes. [link]

Written by Alex Selwyn-Holmes

March 9, 2010 at 2:23 am

Posted in Politics

Tagged with ,

3 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. […] 11, 2010 · Leave a Comment From the great blog, Iconic Photos, here is a photo of Adlai Stevenson in the […]

  2. In the slang of the United States, egghead was an anti-intellectual epithet, directed at people considered too out-of-touch with ordinary people and too lacking in realism, common sense, virility, etc. on account of their intellectual interests. The British equivalent is “Boffin”

    From Wikipedia


    March 11, 2010 at 1:18 pm

  3. […] Presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,252 other followers

%d bloggers like this: