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37 star American national parade flag, printed on cotton. The stars are arranged in a traditional form of what is known as a medallion configuration. This consists of two consecutive wreaths of stars, with a large center star, and a flanking star in each corner of the royal blue canton. The medallion configuration is exceptionally rare in 37 star flags and I know of only two such varieties of printed flags that share this circular pattern and star count.

Parade flags were printed on bolts like any other fabric. This flag was found as part of a uncut sheet, being used as batting inside a quilt that was made for the 100-year anniversary of our nation�s independence in 1876. The quilt experienced enough damage to reveal that there was an uncut bolt of parade flags inside it, being used simply as filler. Most of the flags received little to no damage, protected by the outside fabric. Their condition is, in fact, as near to perfect as can be seen in this period.

The flags look so new that I would question their authenticity if I wasn�t familiar with the variety. I have seen these exact flags used in the piecework design of three other centennial quilts. It is interesting to note that a group of unusual 14 star flags was found with these 37 star examples, which were certainly made by the same manufacturer, and that these 14 star flags appear alongside the 37-star flags in all three quilts. It is likely that both were printed on the same bolt of fabric, alternating. It is also likely that the 14 star flags had the incorrect star count and were supposed to have had 13 stars to reflect the original 13 colonies, like many other centennial parade flags. It is also likely that the maker of the flags should have added a 38th star to the 37 star design, because that is what almost every other flag-maker did in 1876.

The 37th state, Nebraska, joined the Union in 1867, shortly following Lincoln�s death and the close of the Civil War. It was the primary flag flown during Reconstruction of the South and was used through approximately half the Indian Wars period, but the lack of major patriotic events during this era and the surplus of Civil War period flags led to much lower production levels. For these reasons, 37 star flags are quite scarce.

Despite the fact that the 37 star flag remained official until 1877, flag-makers generally produced 38 star flags and 13 star flags for the 1876 centennial and the many celebrations related to that event. This is because it was well-known that another state, Colorado, would soon join the Union. This caused flag-makers to cease production of flags with 37 stars in favor of 38. It had been nine years since a new star was added and flag-makers were anxious to add a star and give the American people yet another reason to buy new flags. It also explains why this sheet of uncut flags was being recycled inside the first quilt, as many people would have felt that they were going out-of-date.

Mounting: The flag has been hand-stitched to 100% cotton rag mat and placed in a frame that dates to the period between 1790 and 1850, with pinned and mortised construction excellent early surface. Spacers were used to keep the textile away from the glass, which is u.v. protective.
Inventory Number:


Jeff R. Bridgman American Antiques, llc
Contact   Jeff Bridgman Phone: (717) 502-1281
Period: 19th Century (1801-1900)
Date: 1867-1876
Origin: American
Condition: There are no significant condition issues
Measurements: flag: 5.75" x 9.25" frame: 12.75" x 16.5"
Inventory Other Inventory by this Dealer
Price: SOLD
E-mail: Inquire
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