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  STRIKING AND VERY RARE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN BANNER WITH A PORTRAIT OF THEODORE ROOSEVELT AND A LARGE EAGLE, 1912

Available: Sold
Frame Size (H x L): 47.75" x 33.75"
Flag Size (H x L): 36" x 22.25"
Description....:
Vertical format patriotic parade flag/banner, printed on coarse, glazed cotton, with a handsome portrait image of Teddy Roosevelt, set within an oval wreath of oak leaves and acorns, against a field of vertical red and white stripes. A wide blue register above features a large federal eagle, bearing the usual olive branch and arrows in its talons, amid an arch of 13 stars. Beneath TR's image, in bold block letters, is the word "Welcome". This is one of just two such banners presently extant. The other known is documented in Threads of History by Herbert Ridgeway Collins (1979, Smithsonian Press) as item 949 on p. 376.

Another version of this banner exists, but with Roosevelt's image replaced by that of President William Howard Taft. In 1908, after serving nearly two full terms in office, Teddy Roosevelt tapped Taft as his Republican Party successor. Vowing to never run again, he changed his mind in 1912, throwing his hat in the ring as an independent. Though he won more votes than any third party candidate in American history, and actually beat Taft, he lost the election and thus lost the White House for not only himself, but his former party. This gave the reins to Woodrow Wilson, who became the only the second Democrat to win the presidency following the Civil War.*

The existence of the Taft version of this banner allows accurate dating of the Roosevelt textile, which might otherwise be presumed to have been made for TR's 1904 presidential campaign or an event during his 1905-1908 term, or between 1901 and 1903, following the assassination of William McKinley, when Vice President Roosevelt ascended to the presidency. It of interest to note that a similar version of the banner is actually known which was probably produced during one of these earlier periods. In the same scale, it bears the same blue register, eagle, and striped backdrop as the 1912 Roosevelt version, but employs a different and uses a rectangular, red, white, and blue bordered window in place of the oak wreath. This version features the word "Welcome" arched above, crossing from the red and white stripes into the blue register, and the words "Our President" below. Because TR was already president when he ran in 1904, because he did not run in 1908, and because the 1912 Taft and TR versions are evidently campaign pieces, it seems likely that the earlier Roosevelt parade flag/banner dates to the 1904 campaign. To date no versions of either style of textile have been found from Roosevelt's 1904 Democrat opponent, Alden Parker, or from Roosevelt and Taft's 1912 opponent, Democrat Woodrow Wilson.

One should note how these banners are modifications of the Stars & Stripes, instead of a national flag. As the 20th century neared, flag ethics began to emerge that would affect the use of the Stars & Stripes for the purpose of advertising. The practice of printing candidates names and faces directly on the flag had been employed liberally since 1840. In the 1880's, however, booklets began to appear, issued mostly by insurance companies, patriotic organizations and veteran’s groups, that spelled out rules thought to be prudent regarding use and display of our nation's flag. Beginning in 1885, changing public opinion influenced various states, and ultimately Congress, to propose a ban on what they felt was misuse of national symbols. Brought to Congressional vote in 1892 and 1895, federal legislation was finally passed in 1905. Although printing on the flag for campaigning fell out of favor after during this time frame, patriotic banners such as this Teddy Roosevelt example, made up of various combinations of stars, stripes, eagles, shields, etc., were still perfectly acceptable.

* Democrat Grover Cleveland won twice, in 1884 and 1892, serving two non-consecutive terms.

Mounting: The textile has been hand-stitched to 100% cotton, black in color, that was washed to reduce 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 gilded French molding in a traditional American profile, to which a concave shaped molding with a midnight brown surface was added as a liner. The front is U.V. protective acrylic.

Condition: There is modest overall soiling and oxidation, accompanied by minor to modest staining. There is a small nick along the left edge of the banner, near the top. There is a small tear with associated loss along the top edge, to the right of center, extending into one star. There are lateral tears in and just above the letter "E" at the end of the word "welcome." Fabric of similar coloration, and fabric with professionally painted underlays, was placed behind these areas for masking purposes. Many of my clients prefer early flags to show their age and history of use.

Collector Level: Flags for the truest Patriots. My best offerings
Flag Type: Parade flag
Star Count: 13
Earliest Date of Origin: 1912
Latest Date of Origin: 1912
State/Affiliation: 13 Original Colonies
War Association:
Price: SOLD
E-mail: Inquire
 

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