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Entirely hand-sewn, 36 star American national flag of the Civil War period with some interesting and attractive features. Chief among these is the use of a beautifully glazed, blue cotton chintz fabric in the canton. This trait is seldom ever seen in early American flags and it adds a keen visual element, in addition to raising desirability among connoisseurs of antique textiles.

Note also how the stars are unusually well formed, yet placed haphazardly in a pattern that is relatively linear in nature, but not consistently arranged in columns or rows. Likely meant to be an orderly design, their placement was subject to human error that lends it the type of nice folk quality that is often seen in homemade examples, such as this one. Note also how the stars point in various directions on their vertical axis, which further amplifies its charming irregularities.

Adding to the desirability of the flag is its exceptionally nice construction. The stitches are expertly executed and it is obvious that the maker was an accomplished quilter.

The small scale of the flag also adds considerably to its appeal. Today in the 21st century, the average individual might even call a flag of this size large, yet prior to the 1890�s, this flag is unusually small when compared to its counterparts with sewn construction. Printed parade flags (sometimes called hand-wavers) were generally three feet long or smaller, but flags with sewn construction were generally between 8 and 20 feet in length. This is because flags needed to be seen from a distance to be effective in their purpose as signals, while today their use is more often decorative and for the general display of patriotism. During the 19th century, however, even those flags made for decorative purpose were often large by today�s standards, so the average 19th century sewn flag can be cumbersome to frame and display in an indoor setting. This is why most collectors covet unusually small examples, like this one.

The 36th state, Nevada, entered the Union during the Civil War on October 31st, 1864. The last Confederate general surrendered on May 26th, 1865. The 36 star flag became official on July 4th of that year, but makers of printed flags would have begun adding a 36th star to their flags in 1864, even before the addition of the new state occurred. Lincoln pushed Nevada through just 8 days before the November election to increase his support. While the population of the state was quite small, it was a free state and its political alignment was generally Republican. The 36 star flag was replaced by the 37 star flag in 1867, with the addition of Nebraska.

The flag is made of cotton and is entirely hand-sewn. The front side only of the canton is glazed. The stars of the flag are double-appliqu�d, meaning that they were applied to both sides of the canton. There is a cotton sleeve, through which a braided rope was threaded and sewn in place for hoisting.

The flag likely served either one of three purposes. Either it was made for a local volunteer unit when it mustered into service, with the intent that it be carried until the group received its state-issued colors, or it was made for the recruitment of soldiers, or for some more generalized patriotic purpose. This was the first point in American history where we were regularly producing flags for use by the general public. Before this time it was not common to fly flags from porches, carry them in parades, or use them in many of the decorative fashions that we find so common today.

Mounting: The flag was stitched to 100% cotton 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 front is u.v. protective plexiglas.
Inventory Number:


Jeff R. Bridgman American Antiques, llc
Contact   Jeff Bridgman Phone: (717) 502-1281
Period: 19th Century (1801-1900)
Date: 1864-1867
Condition: The flag�s condition is remarkable for the period. There was loss at the fly end of the top red stripe. Fabric was placed behind this area for masking purposes.
Measurements: flag: 37.75" x 59.75" frame: 49.75" x 72.25"
Inventory Other Inventory by this Dealer
Price: SOLD
E-mail: Inquire
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