Jerome O. Herlihy was born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware. His parents were both active in the Delaware Republican Party, and Herlihy's affinity for politics began at a young age. His father, Thomas G. Herlihy, Jr. (1904-1977), briefly served as mayor of Wilmington in 1945, before being appointed chief judge of the Municipal Court of the City of Wilmington. Herlihy's mother, Pearl Herlihy Daniels (1910-1994), was an alternate delegate to the 1952 Republican National Convention (RNC) in Chicago, Illinois. After one of the original delegates became ill, Herlihy's mother ended up attending the convention as an Eisenhower delegate. It was at this 1952 RNC Convention that Herlihy began to immerse himself in collecting buttons and following the politics around them.
Throughout his life, Herlihy maintained a connection to Delaware politics and law. He served as Chief Deputy Attorney General under former Governor David Buckson and was a chief legal advisor for former Governor Russell Peterson. He also served as an Election District Committeeman, a Representative District Committeeman, a Regional Chairman for Brandywine, a State Chairman in Delaware (1977-1985), and the Chairman of the Northeast Republican National Committee (1981). He was appointed to the Delaware Superior Court in 1989 by former Governor Michael Castle and served as a Superior Court Judge from 1989 until his retirement in 2013.
Herlihy collected political buttons and ephemera for most of his life. Although a lifelong member of the Republican Party, Herlihy made a special effort to collect from both sides of the aisle, and furthermore, his collection includes numerous items from third parties. Most of his collecting was done at national conventions. He also obtained buttons by writing to politicians who had recently run and asking them to mail him buttons. Herlihy enjoyed collecting the buttons himself, and frequently attended conventions until his appointment to the Delaware Superior Court in 1989.
"History: Our Judicial Officers." Delaware Superior Court. https://courts.delaware.gov/superior/aboutus/history3.aspx (accessed October 2019).
"Oral History with Jerome O. Herlihy." University of Delaware (27 September 2019).
The Jerome O. Herlihy political campaign ephemera collection spans over a century of United States politics, with special emphasis on Delaware politics and politicians. It is a collection of campaign buttons and pins, bumper stickers, a wide array of artifacts, and paper ephemera, covering national, statewide, and local Delaware elections, and various local and national policy issues. This collection was curated and donated by Judge Jerome O. Herlihy, who assembled this collection throughout his lifetime.
This collection is arranged into six series: Campaigns buttons and pins, Bumper stickers, Artifacts, Paper ephemera, Posters and signs, and Thomas Herlihy, Jr. and Pearl Herlihy Daniels (née Glenn) ephemera.
Series I, Campaign buttons and pins, has approximately 1500 individual buttons, pins and medals relating to federal elections (1876-2016), Delaware statewide elections (circa 1950-2004), and local elections (circa 1934-1990).
Series II, Bumper stickers, comprises over 400 unique bumper stickers from national, Delaware and local elections (1952-2012).
Series III, Political artifacts, comprises 375 unique objects, including matches, writing implements, hats, sponges and keychains.
Series IV, Paper ephemera, covers local, Delaware statewide and national elections.
Series V, Posters and signs, has posters and signs from primarily national elections, and a few Delaware statewide elections.
Series VI, Thomas Herlihy, Jr. and Pearl Herlihy Daniels ephemera, comprises a scrapbook assembled by Herlihy's mother and a photograph including his father.
This collection has materials from five major political parties in the United States: the Republican Party, the Democratic Party, the American Party, the Progressive Party and the Libertarian Party, as well as some Independent candidates. Candidate information, as available, is displayed using the following formula, First Name Last Name, in parenthesies: (Party [D= Democrat; R= Republican] and/or Year). If a candidate is missing some information, the missing data are displayed as [First name unknown] or [?].