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34 star American national flag, made in the opening years of the Civil War (1861-63), entirely hand-sewn and with especially attractive visual features. Kansas was admitted into the Union as the 34th state on January 29th, 1861, about 2 � months before the Confederate assault on Fort Sumter that marked the beginning of the Civil War. The 34th star was officially added on July 4th of that year, but most flag makers would have added a 34th star with the addition of Kansas in January. The star count remained official until July 4th, 1863, and 34 star flags would have generally been produced until the addition of West Virginia in June of that year. The stars of the flag are uncommonly large with respect to the scale of the flag. These have oxidized to a color that compliments the unusually wide, golden brown hoist, made of coarse linen. The stars are arranged in rows of 6-6-6-6-6-4, with the last row centered below the preceding 5, which are laid out in a rectilinear pattern. This sort of design leaves obvious spaces open for the future addition of more stars and because of that it has been termed a "notched" pattern. 5 new states were added to the Union between 1858 and 1864 and with such rapid change underway with the number of states, some flag makers felt that it made sense to plan ahead. I have seen 34 star flags with a variety of notched configurations, but have never seen this particular one. With respect to notched patterns in other star counts, the choice to leave two stars off the bottom row only--one at each end--makes logical sense, but it is much more common to see a stars left off the top or bottom of the hoist or fly ends. Sometimes such designs have a open space in 3 corners or all 4 corners, and there are other variations, but the double-notched bottom row present on this flag, without notches elsewhere, is something I cannot recall seeing in any star count. The fact that the flag is entirely hand-sewn is a nice feature. The sewing machine was mass-marketed in 1855 and while it was extremely difficult to appliqu� stars with a treadle machine, it was relatively easy to piece linear strips of fabric. I estimate that at least 60% of Civil War flags have treadle-sewn stripes. Note how some of the stripes are pieced in multiple sections in order to exploit the most conservative use of available fabric. The red stripes are made of coarsely woven wool bunting that has a homespun appearance and appears to pre-date the Civil War era. The white stripes are made of merino wool with a plain weave, while the blue canton is made of fine gabardine woolen twill. This combination of fabrics, along with the hand-sewing, the piecing of the fabric in the stripes, the natural color of the hoist binding and the oxidation of the stars, results in a flag that looks every bit its age. In fact, it looks earlier that most of its Civil War counterparts, which makes it a particularly fine choice for a connoisseur of early American textiles. Mounting: The flag was stitched to 100% silk organza on every seam and throughout the star field for support. It was then sewn to a background of 100% cotton twill, black in color, which was washed to remove 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. The mount was then placed in a black-painted, hand-gilded and distressed Italian molding. The glazing is U.V. protective acrylic.
Inventory Number:


Jeff R. Bridgman American Antiques, llc
Contact   Jeff Bridgman Phone: (717) 502-1281
Period: 19th Century (1801-1900)
Date: 1861-1863
Condition: There are minor holes throughout the textile with associated losses, accompanied by more significant loss at the top of the hoist. There are various period darning repairs and a patch toward the fly end of the last stripe. The flag shows its age beautifully. Many of my clients prefer early flags to show their age and history of use.
Measurements: Frame: 60.5" x 90.75" Flag: 50" x 78.5"
Inventory Other Inventory by this Dealer
Price: SOLD
E-mail: Inquire
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