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  34 STARS IN A LINEAL ARRANGEMENT THAT RESULTS IN A CONFIGURATION THAT I HAVE TERMED "GLOBAL ROWS," ON AN ANTIQUE AMERICAN FLAG MADE DURING THE OPENING TWO YEARS OF THE CIVIL WAR, 1861-63, KANSAS STATEHOOD

Available: Sold
Frame Size (H x L): 18.5" x 15.5"
Flag Size (H x L): 11.5" x 7.75"
Description....:
34 star American national flag, printed on glazed cotton. Kansas was admitted into the Union as the 34th state on January 29th, 1861, about 2 ½ 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.

34 star parade flags are scarce. Prior to the Civil War, Americans did not employ the flag in many of the ways we do today. Before that time private citizens generally did not fly flags off their porches or wave hand-held examples like this one at parades and rallies. Flags were primarily a tool of the military--particularly the U.S. Navy. It wasn't until Confederate forces fired upon Fort Sumter that a surge of patriotism caused a great increase in the making and consumption of the Stars & Stripes by the general public. It was then that flag-makers began to produce them in quantity for the first time. This flag would have been among some of the first made for that purpose.

The flag has been placed in its correct vertical position, with its canton in the upper left. When rotated to the horizontal, note how the stars are arranged in justified lineal rows of 5-6-6-6-6-5. This results in secondary configuration that I refer to as “global rows”, because the star pattern resembles a global map, with a narrow, vertical oval of stars in the center and parentheses to either side, the overall look of which resembles longitudinal lines.

The orientation of the stars is also interesting. Note how the stars seem to point in various directions on their vertical axis, which adds a nice degree of folk quality to the presentation. Yet upon closer inspection, there is actually some order to what seems at first to be chaos. One may note that the top row and the bottom rows are mirror images of one-another. The stars in the outermost column, along the hoist end, all point upward, while those along the fly end, all point downward. If the top and bottom rows are excluded, one will also note that the remaining stars are what I call "dancing" or "tumbling," alternating point-up, point-down, throughout each of the four center rows.

All-in-all, a wonderful example of the period.

Mounting: The flag was mounted and framed within our own conservation department, which is led by expert staff. We take great care in the mounting and preservation of flags and have framed thousands of examples.

The background is 100% cotton twill, black in color. The paint-decorated inflexion molding dates between the 1840's and 1870 and has a gilded inner lip. Spacers keep the textile away from the glazing, which is U.V. protective glass.

Condition: There is modest to moderate foxing and staining along and the hoist end, continuing into the canton and the stripes, where the flag was rolled around its wooden staff, and there is modest additional foxing and staining elsewhere throughout. There is minor misprinting. There are minor nicks along the hoist, where the flag was once affixed to its original wooden staff. Many of my clients prefer early flags to show their age and history of use.
Collector Level: Intermediate-Level Collectors and Special Gifts
Flag Type: Parade flag
Star Count: 34
Earliest Date of Origin: 1861
Latest Date of Origin: 1863
State/Affiliation: Kansas
War Association: 1861-1865 Civil War
Price: SOLD
 

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