Jeff Bridgman Antique Flags
Sold Flags


Available: Sold
Frame Size (H x L): 13.75" x 17.5"
Flag Size (H x L): 5.75" x 10"
37 star American national parade flag, printed on plain weave cotton. The stars are arranged in a traditional medallion pattern. This consists of two consecutive wreaths of stars, with a large center star and a flanking star in each corner of the royal blue canton.

The 37th state, Nebraska, joined the Union in 1867, shortly following Lincoln’s death and the close of the Civil War. It was the primary flag flown during Reconstruction of the South and was used through approximately half of the Indian Wars period, but the lack of major patriotic events during this era and the surplus of Civil War period flags led to much lower production levels. For these reasons, 37 star flags are quite scarce.

Parade flags were printed on bolts like any other fabric. This flag was found as part of an uncut sheet, being used as batting inside a quilt that was made for the 100-year anniversary of our nation’s independence in 1876. The quilt experienced enough damage to reveal that there was an uncut bolt of parade flags inside it, being used simply as filler. Most of the flags received little to no damage, protected by the outside fabric. Their condition is, in fact, as near to perfect as can be seen in this period.

These flags look so new that I would question their authenticity if I wasn’t familiar with their origin, as well as the specific variety. I have seen these exact flags used in the piecework design of three different centennial quilts that include other readily identifiable flags, kerchiefs, and other fabrics.

It is interesting to note that a group of unusual 14 star flags was found with these 37 star examples, which were certainly made by the same manufacturer. Pieces of the 14 star flags appear alongside the 37-star examples in all three quilts. It is likely that both varieties were printed on the same bolt of fabric. It is also likely that the 14 star flags were I intended to have 13 stars, in honor of the 13 original colonies, but were made in error.

It is likewise curious that the maker of the flags didn’t included a 38th or 39th star. While the 37 star flag was still official in 1876, and remained so until July 4th, 1877, it was well known that at least one more state would be joining the Union that year. This caused flag makers to cease production of the 37 star count in favor of 38 and 39 star flags. While Colorado joined the Union as the 38th state on August 1st, 1876, the latter was an anticipatory count for a Western Territory that didn’t gain statehood for another 13 years. It was for these reasons that 37 star parade flags were seldom produced for the Centennial International Exposition, where 38, 39, and 13 star counts were prevalent. This explains why a sheet of uncut 37 star flags was being recycled inside a quilt, as some observers would have recognized that they were going out-of-date.

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 presentation of flags and have preserved thousands of examples.

The black-painted frame dates to the period between 1790 and 1850, with pinned and mortised construction, a flat profile, a shaped inner lip, and outstanding early surface. The background is 100% cotton twill, black in color, that has been washed and treated for colorfastness. Spacers were used to keep the textile away from the glazing, which is U.V. protective glass.

Condition: There are no significant condition issues.
Collector Level: Intermediate-Level Collectors and Special Gifts
Flag Type: Parade flag
Star Count: 37
Earliest Date of Origin: 1867
Latest Date of Origin: 1876
State/Affiliation: Nebraska
War Association: 1866-1890 Indian Wars
Price: SOLD

Views: 338