A peek into our collections, one object at a time

Hi, Neighbor!

March 20, 2018
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red cardigan
  Mister Rogers’ sweater, 1970s; Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History

“There’s no person in the world like you, and I like
you just the way you are.”—Fred Rogers

Fifty years ago, Fred Rogers (March 20, 1928–Feb. 27, 2001) walked onto a television set, changed into a sweater and tennis shoes, and sang, “Won’t you be my neighbor?” Rogers created the children’s program Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and hosted it for more than 30 years (PBS, 1968–2001).

An ordained Presbyterian minister, Rogers dedicated his television career to promoting children’s emotional and moral well-being. His show, with its friendly conversational style and trips to the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, encouraged young viewers to feel loved, respected and special.

Rogers wore a cardigan sweater on every episode of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, and all were hand-knit by his mother.