“Beat ’em to a Frazzle” A New Teddy Roosevelt Pin Comes to the Hobby

A remote Eastern Washington auction house posted a number of political button lots to eBay’s live auction site. One of the lots contained a 1 3/4″ Theodore Roosevelt pin I had not seen before. The photograph posted did not allow a zoom option and glare precluded discerning its text. I requested additional photos and these revealed the complete text: “My Hat is in the Ring I’ll Beat ’em to a Frazzle” Unfortunately, it also revealed the poor condition of the item which was missing its collet and was heavily stained. The text raised concerns that this might be a fantasy item produced later as I felt the “Frazzle” reference might be a more modern slang. A quick internet search supported the use of this colloquialism as early as the 1830’s and more importantly by TR himself. After his return from Africa, he opposed the “Old Guard” James Sherman for chairman of the New York Republican Party at the Saratoga Convention in September of 1910. He was quoted in multiple papers preceding the progressive-stalwart showdown as boasting “We are going to Saratoga to beat ’em to a Frazzle.” It apparently became a fixture in rallies against the Taft machine into early 1912 when he threw his “his hat in the ring” In fact, his “Frazzle” quote made headlines mocking him in his defeat at the Republican Convention in June of 1912; “Beat to a Frazzle, Roosevelt may quit the Republican Party.” Given where it was found, its construction style and use of the reddish orange text I suspect this item was produced for the Washington State Progressive Convention September 10 1912 in Seattle. Two other pins made for this event and his appearance have similar foxing issues and color schemes. Another possibility is that this was a badge worn by TR delegates to the Washington State Convention May 15 1912 in Aberdeen or as delegates to the Republican National Convention in June in Chicago. The Washington Republicans held separate conventions in the same city and sent separate delegations to Chicago where Taft’s control seated the Taft contingent. Roosevelt went on to win Washington State in November.
A button with an image of a man in a suit.

Another lead into this item’s origin came when reviewing photos of another collector’s Theodore Roosevelt items. He had the pin pictured below which also has the unusual photo of Roosevelt in a 1 3/4″ pinback. Of interest is that it was manufactured by Inland Printing in Spokane Washington which is very close in proximity to the auction house offering the “Frazzle” pin. Given the coincidences I suspect the “Frazzle” pin was also produced by this maker but the backpaper had been lost when the collet came off this pin. This new information, unfortunately, does not clarify for what event it was produced for but I will continue my search.

A button with an old man 's head on it.  A close up of the back side of an old drum

Pins likely made in Seattle using similar style and color scheme all are 1 3/4″- 2 1/4″

A button with an image of a man in the middle.  A button with an image of a moose on it.

A button with an image of theodore roosevelt on it.

  I would be very interested in obtaining the State Convention pin  (406)217-2017