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Object Name: Figurine
Date: ca. 1969
Related People:
Medium: Resin, felt, paper, synthetic fiber
Dimensions: Overall: 2 3/4 × 3 × 5 in. (7 × 7.6 × 12.7 cm)
Description: Resin figurine of a pointing bust of Uncle Sam; round black bead eyes, blue paper band around top hat with white stars, black text on pedestal: “HAVE YOU TAKEN YOUR PILL TODAY,” green felt on bottom.
Credit Line: Purchase
Object Number: 2015.50
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Marks: Sticker on bottom: "RUSS BERRIE & CO., INC./ © 1968, 1969, 1970/UNBREAKABLE/ Made in U.S.A/ WALLACE BERRIE & CO., INC"

Gallery Label:

The figurine is one of many “Sillisculpts” produced during the late 1960s and 70s featuring cartoonish figures and humorous or sentimental phrases. Designed as inexpensive impulse purchases, “Sillisculpts” appealed to a wide market of consumers looking to purchase mementos or greeting cards for loved ones. The knickknacks quickly became popular collectable items. This piece is a rare example referencing a contemporary social issue.

In 1960, the first oral contraceptive was approved by the Food and Drug Administration. By 1965, it was legal in all fifty states. For the first time, women possessed unprecedented control over their fertility. The subject of this “Sillisculpt” is derived from a ca. 1968 political poster by Gross National Product featuring James Montgomery Flagg’s Uncle Sam and the text “HAVE YOU HAD YOUR PILL TODAY.” The message was a response to late 1960s protests over the distribution of oral contraceptives through United States government-funded health clinics.