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1840 Old Kinderhook "OK" Martin Van Buren Campaign Woodblock Print Plate Showing The Origin of Term "OK"
1840, Hand-Engraved Woodblock Illustration Printing Plate of Old Kinderhook, "OK", from Martin Van Buren's Campaign, Accompanied by Print Sample, Choice Extremely Fine.
Original, 2.75" x 4.25" x 1/2" Woodblock Printing Plate which illustrates the 1840s origin of the American term "OK"-- which was derived from "Old Kinderhook". This was Martin Van Buren's nickname, based on his birthplace in Upstate New York. In this Woodcut, Martin Van Buren carries on his back his "Subtreasury Bill," which had been adopted by Congress in 1840 during the presidential campaign. He is led by former President Andrew Jackson, as they walk towards the White House, scaling log cabins and barrels of "hard cider" (the symbols of William Henry Harrison's campaign). In the distance is the Capitol, and towards the left is Van Buren's home in New York. A signpost points "To Kinderhook" (to the left) and "White House" (to the right). Before 1840, OK was an abbreviation for "all correct" and was also used by Van Buren during his 1840 campaign. This woodblock is in excellent condition, being a splendid example of an early political campaign woodcut and political illustration. This political illustration was printed with a caption: "A Hard Road To Hoe! Or, the White House Turnpike, macadamized by the North Benders. Sold by Huestis & Co. 104 Nassau St. N.Y." Includes printed sample. (2 items).
"OK" is a quintessentially American term that has spread from English to many other languages. Although it was largely in circulation before the 1830s, the first recorded usage of the term can be found in 1839, when there was a humoristic fashion in Boston newspapers to reduce a phrase to initials and supply an explanation in parentheses. Sometimes the abbreviations were misspelled to add to the humor.

"OK" was used in March 1839 as an abbreviation for "all correct," the joke being that neither the O nor the K was correct. Originally spelled with periods, the term outlived most similar abbreviations when Martin Van Buren used it (his nickname was Old Kinderhook) in his 1840 reelection campaign.
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Item #72615Price: $2,250.00Add to Cart
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