Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection

by Jordan Steyer

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright stopped by the LBJ Presidential Library to speak about the opening of her exhibit “Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection.”

She made history when she was sworn in as secretary of state in 1997, becoming the highest-ranking woman in the United States government. Albright grabbed more attention by using her collection of pins to send big political statements.

Pins with a purpose: Albright wore different pins for different political statements and occasions. This pin that depicts the breaking of the glass ceiling in celebration of being the first woman to serve as secretary of state.

“When I got to the United Nations in February of 1993,” Albright said, “it was right after the Gulf War. I was an instructed ambassador and at every meeting I said perfectly terrible things about Saddam Hussein, which he deserved. Then there was a poem in a paper in Baghdad comparing me to an unparalleled serpent. I had this snake pin and I decided to wear it every time we talked about Iraq.”

Secretary Albright thought these messages were fun. She bought costume jewelry to depict whatever she felt was going to happen that day.

“On good days I would wear flowers and butterflies,” she said, “and on bad days I would wear spiders and veracious animals.”

The collection shows off more than 200 of her signature pins. Each pin is accompanied by a description of where she wore it and why. The exhibit runs until Jan. 21, 2018.

Jordan Steyer is a second-year journalism major from El Paso, Texas. In her spare time, she enjoys taking photos and trying new coffee shops. 

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