|Of all American presidents represented in campaign textiles, one of the most desired is General Zachary Taylor, who ran and won the Whitehouse as a Whig in 1848 following the conclusion of the Mexican War. No campaign parade flags are known from this year for any of the three primary participants, which included Democrat opponent Lewis Cass and Free Soil party candidate Martin Van Buren. No bandannas are known from either the Cass or Van Buren campaigns in that year, which means that the only large scale patriotic textiles are those used by Taylor and his supporters.
Ten different styles of kerchiefs are represented for Taylor in �Threads of History�, by Herbert Ridgeway Collins (Smithsonian Press, 1979), the foremost and most complete text that documents surviving political campaign textiles. None are seen with any frequency; all are extremely rare and some pictured in the Collins book represent the single surviving example.
This particular bandanna, printed on silk, is the only one known in this exact style. It was photographed for the Collins text and so is the plate example in "Threads of History", appearing as item 209 on page 20.
A detailed portrait of the future president, in dress uniform, appears in the center of the textile amidst an arch or laurel branches, draped with streamers that commemorate key military victories. These include Monterey, Palo Alto, Fort Harrison, Resaca De La Palma, Buena Vista, and Okeechobee. Below Taylor is a spread-winged eagle with a patriotic shield upon its breast and a streamer in its beak, before which lay cannon, swords, long rifles, arrows, and other tools of war. Underneath this is large text that reads: "Gen. Taylor".
The central image is placed within an especially attractive blue field within a border made up of unusual repeating pattern that is reminiscent of bone. Around this is a diamond plaid, flanked by leaf and geometric borders in reddish brown ink.
Brief history of Zachary Taylor:
Like James Polk, who was leaving the Presidency, Taylor was also a Southerner who was born in a log cabin. Polk was one of ten children and Taylor one of nine. His family lived in Montebello, Virginia, near present day Barboursville. Unlike Polk, Taylor had no political experience before the Whig Party asked him to run for president. He was instead career military man with 40 years in service. So when he won the election, he became the only other man after George Washington that had thus far gained the Whitehouse without having held a prior office. Taylor was a slaveholder, but opposed the spread of slavery to the many new territories acquired during Polk�s presidency. He began the Compromise of 1850, which contained a balanced series of five bills each for slave-holding and non-slave states, but he died before it was passed, just sixteen months into his term. Taylor�s death is not well understood, but is thought to have possibly been caused by heat stroke and/or gastroenteritis, which set in after eating a snack of cherries and milk at a 4th of July celebration, at which he was too heavily dressed. Assassination was suspected but never proven. He was buried in Louisville Kentucky in what is now known as the Zachary Taylor Cemetery. He was succeeded by Vice President Millard Fillmore.
Mounting: The solid walnut frame has an unusual reverse curve profile and a gilded liner and dates to the period between 1860 and 1870. This is a pressure mount between 100% hemp fabric and U.V. protective acrylic. |
Jeff R. Bridgman American Antiques, llc
||Phone: (717) 502-1281
||19th Century (1801-1900)|
||Overall excellent. What was likely once red pigment has faded to a reddish brown.|
||Frame: 36" x 39" Kerchief: 25.25" x 28.5"
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