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Dimensions (inches): 118" w x 35.25" h

Mid-19th century, painted muslin banner with an eagle standing on a globe, flanked by sheaves of wheat and the arm & hammer of industry. This comes from a 20-year collection in Rhode Island and is a fraternal decoration, probably belonging to a New York chapter of the Junior Order of United American Mechanics (Jr.O.U.A.M.), which was one of the mid-19th century, nativist, fraternal organizations. The slogan, taken from Psalms, references the importance of education among its youth membership. The word "mechanics" served a dual purpose, indicating builders of character, integrity, and citizenship, as well as the builders of objects. A very unusual object, the banner is a gem among early American fraternal movement textiles and a great example of patriotic folk art.

More on the Jr.O.U.A.M:

More on the Jr.O.U.A.M: As early as the 1840's there was great concern about the ever-growing population of America. One of the agendas of the Jr.O.U.A.M. was to subvert both present and future immigration. Founded on May 17th, 1853, at the Concord School House in Germantown, Pennsylvania (later part of Philadelphia), the Jr.O.U.A.M. was an outgrowth of the O.U.A.M., which had been organized in Philadelphia during the anti-alien riots of 1844-45. Members were required to undertake efforts to campaign against the hiring of cheap foreign labor. They were also charged to patronize only "American" businesses. Their motto was "Virtue, Liberty, and Patriotism" and they wore fraternal attire that was decorated in red, white and blue.

The Jr. O.U.A.M. was aimed at interesting youth and preparing them for membership in the parent organization. While one might expect that 19th century artifacts of the O.U.A.M. would be more desirable among collectors than the Junior Order, it is, in fact, the latter that seems to have produced most of the interesting folk art and patriotic textiles. In addition, today the term "Junior" had only short-term historical significance, because the two organizations effectively blended. Like many of the 19th century fraternal groups, the Jr.O.U.A.M. still exists today. It is much smaller, however, with chapters in only nine states.

Following are the preamble and objects of the order, as set forth in the original bylaws:


We, the undersigned, Americans by birth, having viewed the disadvantages under which Americans labor from the effects of foreign competition and foreign combinations, not only by the different articles of foreign manufacture being imported into the several Sates of the Union, thereby depriving the mechanics of American birth from realizing that material benefit from their labors which they should; but the present system of the importation, into this country, of paupers by the actions of the Old World has been and is, carried to such an extent that, if some remedy is not very soon applied, the Americans by birth will become paupers themselves-and form past experience and present appearance of the future, instead of the evils abating, there is a certainty of their increasing; therefore we feel ourselves bound, by the duties we owe our country an our countrymen , to provide for the protection of Americans, by forming ourselves into an association to advance such objects and carry out such principles as shall best promote the interests and shall secure the happiness of ourselves and our countrymen; in addition to which is added the praiseworthy duty of aiding our brothers in distress. Therefore, for the purpose of advancing such objects and principles, we pledge ourselves, as Americans, to use every fair and honorable means consistent with our sacred duties, and, in accordance with the paternal voice of the Father of Our Country, "Beware of foreign influence," agree to be governed by the following constitution.


1. To assist Americans in obtaining employment.
2. To encourages Americans in business.
3. To establish a sick and funeral fund.
4. To prepare the youth of America to become members of the Order of United American Mechanics, and other American orders, when they arrive at the proper age.
5. To use such means, when able, as will prevent the present system of emigration of foreign paupers to our land.

Condition: Moderate foxing and water staining.
Primary Color: white, ivory, black
Earliest Date: 1853
Latest Date: 1870
For Sale Status: Available
Price $6,500
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