Jeff Bridgman Antique Flags
Sold Flags


Available: Sold
Frame Size (H x L): Approx. 47" x 31.5"
Flag Size (H x L): 35" x 19.5"
Vertical format patriotic parade flag/banner, printed on coarse, glazed cotton, with a portrait image of Theodore Roosevelt in a rectangular medallion, framed in red white and blue and set against a vertical field of red and white stripes. A wide, blue register above features a large patriotic eagle with a shield on its breast, 13 stars arched about it, and a streamer in its beak with the words "E Pluribus Unum." The word "Welcome," also arched, bridges the transition from the register to the stripes. Below the portrait are the words "Our President."

This textile is important for several reasons. Graphically balanced and colorful, it displays a handsome image of one of our nation’s most beloved leaders and is one of the most striking parade banners of its kind. Of no lesser significance is its rarity. Only a small handful of these banners are known and the form remains undocumented in any text.

Another peculiarity is that this is not necessarily a campaign piece. Similar banners exist from 1912 that depict both Roosevelt and William Howard Taft. Held in the collection of the Smithsonian, these are documented as items 948 and 949 on page 376 of “Threads of History: Americana Recorded on Cloth, 1775 to the Present” by Herbert Ridgeway Collins (Smithsonian Press, Washington, DC, 1979). Matching in style and with similar graphics, both say "Welcome" but omit "Our President" from the caption. The eagle is the same, but no text overlaps it. The only verbiage is the word “Welcome,” which appears at the bottom under a similar portrait of each man respectively, set within oval wreaths of oak leaves and acorns. The portraits are slightly smaller and are three-quarter facing as opposed to straight-on.

This banner, with its "Welcome Our President" text, may have been made at two possible times. It could have been produced when Roosevelt was president, between the years of 1901 and 1908. If made during this window, 1904 would be the most likely year, when he was an incumbent Republican up for election with Vice Presidential Candidate Warren Fairbanks. Since the matching oak-leaf-and-acorn-ring banners made for T.R. and Taft were evidently campaign pieces from 1912, perhaps displayed to welcome the two men to a debate, it seems probable that this closely related T.R. design may have also been made for that purpose, either in 1904 or in 1912, when he ran for the White House again on the independent, Progressive Party ticket. If the latter is the true, the "Our President" title may simply trumpet his former role as a prerequisite for the future, though he wasn't presently in office.

One should note that these banners are merely modifications of the national flag, instead of an actual flag. The year 1905 marked an important point in the use of the Stars & Stripes for political campaigning. The flag ethics that exist today didn't begin to emerge until the 1880's, when public opinion began to change regarding the use of the American flag for the purpose of advertising. The practice was widely employed and accepted during the 19th century, when the names, slogans, and faces of the candidates were printed directly on the stripes, or within the canton (union). During the 1880's, booklets began to appear, issued mostly by insurance companies and Civil War veterans' groups, which laid down some of the rules that were thought to be prudent regarding flag use and display. These concepts influenced Congress to propose a ban on what they felt was misuse. Brought to a vote in 1892 and 1895, the issue was finally addressed by congressional law in 1905.

It is also of interest to note that campaign flags in Stars & Stripes format fell out of either popularity or favor a bit earlier. These are seldom seen after 1884. In 1888, the manufacture of bandannas exploded as an alternative means for spreading political messages. As each year passed, fewer flags of this sort exist. Only three styles are known from the campaigns of 1900. None are known from the campaigns of 1904.

The use of banners of various sorts also expanded during this era. Made up of various combinations of stars, stripes, eagles, shields, etc., instead of an actual flag, these were perfectly acceptable.

Mounting: The textile has been 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 textile has been hand-stitched to 100% cotton, black in color, that was washed and treated for colorfastness. The mount was then placed in a black-painted, hand-gilded and distressed Italian molding. The glazing is U.V. protective acrylic.

Condition: There is minor to modest soiling in limited areas and there us some pigment loss in the striped field and the medallion, especially to the left of center and along the lower edge. Modest color restoration was undertaken in the striped field and the words “Our president,” using a reversible medium. There are small tack holes with associated loss along and near the top edge, where the banner was once affixed to a wooden staff. 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: 1901
Latest Date of Origin: 1912
State/Affiliation: New York
War Association:
Price: SOLD

Views: 405