Jeff Bridgman Antique Flags
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  30 Star American Flag -- Pre-Civil War -- 9 original Stripes

Available: Sold
Frame Size (H x L): 51.5" x 98.5"
Flag Size (H x L): 49" x 96"
Description....:
Period 30 star American National Flag, made from wool bunting with cotton muslin stars. The flag is entirely hand-sewn and there is an unusually wide sleeve of very coarse brown linen or burlap, with 5 whip-stitched grommets. The 30th state, Wisconsin, joined the Union on May 29th, 1848. The 30 star flag was official until July 3rd, 1851, but 30 star flags would not likely have been made after the addition of California in 1850. This means that they realistically had a life span of about 2 years. Flags made prior to the Civil War are extremely rare, comprising less than one percent of 19th century flags that exist in the 21st century. This is partly because, prior to the Centennial, our flag was simply not used for most of the same purposes we employ it in today. Private individuals did not typically display the flag in their yards and on their porches. Parade flags did not fly from carriages and horses. Places of business rarely hung flags in their windows. Some of these uses for started to take place during the patriotism that surrounded the Civil War, but civilian use of the flag was not wide spread until 1876. Even the military did not use the flag in a manner that most people might think. The primary purpose before the Civil War was to mark ships on the open seas. While the flag was used to mark some garrisons, the flags of ground troops were often limited to the flag of their own regiment and a Federal standard. Most people would be surprised to learn that the infantry wasn?t authorized to carry the Stars & Stripes until 1837, and even then did not often exercise the right because it was neither required nor customary. It was not until the Civil War took place that most U.S. ground forces carried the National Flag. Note that the stars are particularly large given the size of the canton, and are double-appliqued in various vertical positions so that they fit within one another. This adds an excellent element of folk quality to the flag. The stars do roughly line up in one sense, because all stars point left or right in each alternating row. This creates a design that is also very attractive when the flag is displayed vertically. Another peculiar trait lies in the presence of only 9 stripes. Several examples of American flags exist with counts both fewer and greater than 13 stripes, and there are several reasons behind their design, not all of which are known. Those made during or shortly after the Civil War and bearing 7 or 11 stripes may have some ties to the Confederacy, which grew from 7 to 11 states during wartime. It is suspected that sanctuary may have existed for southerners at the sites where such flags were flown. But the reason for 9 stripes is less clear, especially because there are some 9-stripe flags that clearly date prior to 1861. Lack of adequate materials is a likely explanation for anything made less than optimally in early America, when travelling a few miles was no small undertaking. Another hypothesis relates to the flag used by the Sons of Liberty in the colonial period, which had 9 red and white stripes and represented the 9 colonies that supported the Stamp Act. Commemorative respect for this group and their role in American independence and idealism may explain some American national flags with 9 stripes. Still another theory is that the 9th state to succeed from the union, Tennessee, might be represented in concurrent and post-civil war designs. But whatever the reason, flags made with fewer stripes beg for further research and continue to intrigue flag historians. Mounting: The flag has not yet been pressed or mounted. Condition: The condition is great for any 19th century flag, but is particularly fine considering its pre-Civil War date and wool construction. There is minor scattered mothing throughout with minor fabric loss in the stripes and canton. There is also minor fabric loss in three stars.
Collector Level: Advanced Collectors and the Person with Everything
Flag Type: Sewn flag
Star Count: 30
Earliest Date of Origin: 1848
Latest Date of Origin: 1851
State/Affiliation: Wisconsin
War Association: 1777-1860 Pre-Civil War
Price: No
 

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