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36 star American national parade flag, printed on coarse, glazed cotton. The flag advertises the 1868 presidential campaign of one of America’s most beloved figures, General Ulysses S. Grant, with running mate Schuyler Colfax. Among known parade flags, those made for political campaigns with text or pictorial advertising are the most valuable. Within this group, the flags made for the most memorable historical figures, such as Lincoln and Grant, are highly sought after by collectors. Also important to a flag’s value is its visual presentation. In that regard, three things are worth noting on this example. One is the tall and narrow, chiseled, Western-style text that reads: GRANT & COLFAX! (complete with exclamation point.) Two is its star configuration. While the stars are arranged in justified rows, note how they vary from one column to the next, point-up, point-down, in their vertical orientation. This adds a nice folk aspect to the design. And third is simply the bold size of the flag, which is much larger than most post-1856 campaign flags and makes for an impressive impact. The 36th state, Nevada, gained statehood during the civil war in 1864. Makers of parade flags would have added a star to their flags at this time, but the 36 star flag did not become official until July 4th, 1865, after the war’s end. It was replaced by the 37 star flag in 1867. Note that a count of 36 therefore falls one star short of what was official in 1868. This is sometimes the case with political campaign flags, many of which often have a number of stars that is one or more behind what was official during the election year. Sometimes campaigning may have started before the election year, and at other times the star count probably wasn’t that important to the person ordering these small, printed flags. The purchaser may have sometimes been a campaign manager, but at other times have simply been a friend or political supporter who wished to make a classy display at his/her home or business, or along the campaign route. Biographical Information on Grant & Colfax: President and General Ulysses S. Grant was born in Ohio in 1822, the son of a tanner. He was shy and quiet as a youth, and most who knew him then would never have expected forthcoming greatness. Like Robert E. Lee, his eventual counterpart, Grant was a West Point graduate and fought in the Mexican War. Unlike that of Lee, however, Grant’s early military career was far from illustrious. Forced to leave the Army for insubordination, as a civilian he went through six different jobs in just six years. When war broke out in 1861, he was working for his father’s leather shop in Illinois. Trained officers were scarce, so he soon returned to the Army and was placed in charge of an unruly group of Illinois volunteers that no one else would have. Accounts say that he drilled them nearly to their death, before leading minor, successful campaigns that turned heads and won him a promotion to Brigadier General. Various incidents and problems with alcohol caused many to plead for his dismissal, but Lincoln made the suggestion that “a case of whatever Grant was drinking” be sent to every Union General. “I can not spare this man”, touted Lincoln, “...he fights.” In March of 1864, Grant’s continued determination caused Lincoln to place him in charge of the entire Union Army. In April of 1865, he cornered the main part of the Confederate Army near Richmond, Virginia, an act that caused the surrender of General Lee and ended the war. Following the failures of incumbent President, Andrew Johnson, Grant’s hero status won him the 1868 Republican nomination. He was elected, and although many shortcomings would cause Grant’s presidency to be widely criticized, he was known to be terminally honest, exceptionally loyal to his friends and staff (sometimes to a fault), and he was re-elected in 1872. While in office, he fought for equal voting rights for people of all races and colors, pushing the 15th amendment to its 1870 ratification. Grant strove to maintain order in the south with brute force, using the military to protect African Americans and combat southern extremists and hate groups, such as the Klu Klux Klan, which had been established in 1866 and was experiencing rapid growth. Grant died in 1885 and was interred in New York City (Grant’s Tomb). A member of the Whig party, before transitioning to the No-Nothings and then becoming a Republican, New York City-born Schuyler Colfax served seven terms in congress, including three as Speaker of the House. He was jovial and well-liked by both the mainstream and radicals, which earned him the nickname “Smiler” Colfax. He served with Grant as Vice President for the first term only and was unsuccessful for re-nomination due to allegations of corruption in a business scandal. Mounting: The flag has been hand-stitched to 100% cotton, black in color, which was washed to reduce excess dye. And acid-free agent was added to the wash to further set the dye and the fabric was heat-treated for same purpose. The mount was then placed in a fantastic, ripple-profile molding, with a paint-decorated and gilded surface, that dates to the period between 1830 and 1860. Spacers keep the textile away from the glass, which is u.v. protective.
Inventory Number: 36j-868


Jeff R. Bridgman American Antiques, llc
Contact   Jeff Bridgman Phone: (717) 502-1281
Period: 19th Century (1801-1900)
Date: 1868
Condition: There is minor foxing and staining, accompanied by minor losses, but there are no serious condition issues. This is excellent condition for a flag of this period, especially in regard to its rarity and desirability.
Measurements: Frame: 31" x 38.75" Flag: 20" x 27.75"
Inventory Other Inventory by this Dealer
Price: Please call or email
E-mail: Inquire
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