|48 STARS ON ANTIQUE AMERICAN FLAG WITH HAND-WRITTEN INSCRIPTIONS AND AN EMBROIDERED DATE OF APRIL 12TH, 1945, MOURNING THE DEATH OF PRESIDENT FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT
|Frame Size (H x L):
|19.5" x 25.5"
|Flag Size (H x L):
|11.25" x 16"
|American national parade flag with 48 stars, printed on cotton, embellished with hand-written inscriptions and an embroidered date to commemorate the death of FDR on April 12th, 1945.
“On this day in 1945, President Franklin D. Roosevelt died of a massive cerebral hemorrhage at his Warm Springs, Georgia, retreat at the age of 63. Roosevelt’s death in the final months of World War II was met with shock and grief throughout the Western world. Many Americans had no inkling of his decline in health. [He] had been president for more than 12 years, longer than any other person. He led the country through some of its greatest domestic and foreign crises to the impending defeat of Nazi Germany and within sight of Japan’s surrender.
When he was stricken, Roosevelt was in the living room with Lucy Mercer, with whom he had resumed an affair, two cousins and his dog, Fala, while the artist Elizabeth Shoumatoff painted his portrait.” *
Below the date, in the 2nd white stripe, “President Frankling D. Roasevelt” is written in script in black ink, followed by “Died in Geargia to day,” perhaps written by a child or to someone whom English was not their first language, taking note of the especially bad spelling. The messages continue in the 3rd stripe with “This flag flew on our gate past.” All of the writing in the 2nd and 3rd stripes appears to be by the same hand. In a different hand, in the 4th white stripe, “Franklin Roosevelt Died” is repeated in black.
In the 5th white stripe, the following text was added: “Joe L. West died December 1st, 1946. I could find no record of this individual, but one can reasonably presume that he was a family member related to the person who owned and wrote on the flag.
Flags with hand-written and applied messages are among the most interesting within flag collecting, adding a strong degree of both personalized meaning and material culture. Among such flags, those related to significant figures and events are the most interesting to collectors. Due to the popularity and fascination with both FDR and WWII, this is a terrific example.
The 48 star flag became official in 1912 following the addition of New Mexico and Arizona. 48 remained the official star count throughout WWI (U.S. involvement 1917-18), WWII, and the Korean War (1950-53), until Alaska gained statehood in 1959 and the 49th star was added.
Mounting: The banner was mounted and framed within our own conservation department, which is led by masters degree trained staff. We take great care in the mounting and preservation of flags and have framed thousands of examples.
The background fabric is 100% hemp fabric or a hemp and cotton blend, ivory in color. The solid walnut molding dates to the period between 1850 and 1870. To this a gilded, rippled profile liner was added that is ca 1830 – 1850. The glazing is U.V. protective plexiglass.
Condition: There are losses all along the hoist, where the flag was once affixed to its original wooden staff. Due to the position of some of the holes and the amount of loss, it appears to have been flow for an extended period and occasionally re-tacked. Many of my clients prefer early flags to show their age and history of use.
* Source: Andrew Glass, www.politico.com
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