Worcester MA historical museum traces history of "Smiley Face"





When Harvey Ball took a black felt-tip pen to a piece of yellow paper in 1963, he never could have realized that he was drafting the face that would launch 50 million buttons and an eventual war over copyright.

Mr. Ball, a commercial artist, was simply filling a request from Joy Young of the Worcester Mutual Insurance Company to create an image for their "smile campaign" to coach employees to be more congenial in their customer relations. It seems there was a hunger for a bright grin - the original order of 100 smiley-face buttons were snatched up and an order for 10,000 more was placed at once.

The Worcester Historical Museum takes this founding moment seriously.


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