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   ENTIRELY HAND-SEWN 13 STAR FLAG MADE BY THE GRANDDAUGHTER OR GREAT-GRANDDAUGHTER OF BETSY ROSS (RACHEL ALBRIGHT OR SARAH M. WILSON), IN THE EAST WING OF INDEPENDENCE HALL, PHILADELPHIA, 1898-1913:


 

Description:
13 star American national flag, made by either the granddaughter of Betsy Ross, Rachel Albright, or the great-granddaughter of Betsy Ross, Sarah M. Wilson. These two women participated in a cottage industry making little flags for tourists in the East Wing of Independence Hall in Philadelphia from approximately 1898 to 1913. Rachel appears to have undertaken the task first and was joined by Wilson sometime around 1903. They either sold the flags outright or gifted them to persons who financially supported the American Flag House and Betsy Ross Memorial Association. Each flag made by Wilson and Albright came with either a signature along the hoist (sleeve) or a signed note. Unfortunately, not many examples are directly signed and the notes are usually missing. Such is the case with this flag. The text usually reads something like this: �Made by Sarah M. Wilson, Great granddaughter of Betsy Ross, in the East Wing of Independence Hall, Philadelphia�, followed by a date. The stripes of the flag are constructed of silk ribbon that is hand-sewn with the kind of remarkable precision seen in the best early needlework examples. The five pointed, wheel-spoke stars are embroidered in silk floss on a blue silk canton, and there is a hand-sewn cotton sleeve along the hoist end. The Albright and Wilson flags are extremely easy to identify because their construction is so distinctive. There is nothing else like them made during this period. They tend to be very much alike, but sometimes there are minor variations from one to the next. Rachael and Sarah proudly proclaimed that this is what the original flag looked like, but no hard evidence exists to substantiate it. In fact, no one knows precisely what the star configuration was on the first flag, but it is unlikely that it had a perfect circle of stars. Of the very few Colonial examples that still exist, none have survived with this pattern. Further, while there are thousands of 13 star flags that still exist today, made during the 19th and 20th centuries for all manner of patriotic purpose, none seem to have survived with the Betsy Ross, perfect circle pattern that date prior to the 1890�s. So these little flags are probably among the first to be made in this design, despite the fact that it is now so popularly connected with the name Betsy Ross. One of these small flags appears on the Betsy Ross House website: http://www.ushistory.org/betsy/house/room9. html. A signed example is picture in �The Stars and the Stripes� by Mastai, 1973, p. 228. Mounting: The gilded, American, rippled-profile molding dates to the period between 1830 and 1860. The flag has been pressure-mounted between100% cotton and U.V. protective acrylic. The black fabric has been washed to reduce excess dye. An acid-free agent was added to the wash to further set the dye and the fabric was heat-treated for the same purpose.
Inventory Number:

Dealer  

Jeff R. Bridgman American Antiques, llc
Contact   Jeff Bridgman Phone: (717) 502-1281
Period: 19th Century (1801-1900)
Date: 1898-1913
Origin:
Condition: There are moderate splits and losses in the blue silk canton. There is a minor loss near the fly end of the 5th white stripe and at the extreme fly end of the 1st and 2nd stripes. Almost all examples have splits in the canton because the silk used was weighted with mineral salts or some other agent that was added to make it heavier. This practice began sometime between 1820 and 1850 with most silk merchants, who began to sell silk by weight rather than by length and weighted it to increase the price that they could obtain. These flags are highly desired and so the losses are perfectly acceptable.
Measurements: Frame: 16.25" x 12" Flag: 9.75" x 5.25"
Inventory Other Inventory by this Dealer
Web-site: http://www.jeffbridgman.com
Price: SOLD
E-mail: Inquire
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