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36 STAR ANTIQUE AMERICAN FLAG, MADE FOR THE 1868 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF ULYSSES S. GRANT & SCHUYLER COLFAX

36 STAR ANTIQUE AMERICAN FLAG, MADE FOR THE 1868 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF ULYSSES S. GRANT & SCHUYLER COLFAX

Web ID: 36j-892
Available: In Stock
Frame Size (H x L): 13.25" x 15.25"
Flag Size (H x L): 5" x 7.5"
 
Description:
36 star American national parade flag, printed on coarse, glazed cotton. Overprinted in the second through the fifth stripes, in black pigment, is text that advertises the 1868 presidential campaign of one of America's most beloved figures, General Ulysses S. Grant, with running mate Schuyler Colfax. Among known parade flags, those made for political campaigns with text or pictorial advertising have historically been the most valuable. Within this group, the flags made for the most memorable figures, such as Lincoln and Grant, are the most highly prized by collectors.

Also important to a flag's value are any peculiar elements within the design and its visual presentation. In this example, six things are worth noting. One is the amount of space that the text commands. Because this is quite large, it creates significant impact. This is augmented by two other factors, including the diagonal placement of the word "for" in the third white stripe and the attention-drawing punctuation. With a period at the end of every line, the text may seem to have escaped proper grammatical rules. In actuality, this is typical of not only flags and banners of the 19th century, but broadsides, signage, trade cars, and other advertising.

Note the square profile of the deep, ocean blue canton, that exhibits a clear division from the portion of the striped field to its right, and how beautifully this color presents with the tomato red stripes. Also note how the stars themselves vary in terms of their vertical orientation. When viewed on the obverse (front), note how all in the first row are oriented with one arm directed toward 1:00, followed by the second row, where all have a point directed toward 11:00, alternating throughout. This is something that I have termed tilted, canted, or dancing rows. Note how the combination of this feature, along with the fairly large scale of the stars and their somewhat crude printing, adds a strong folk element to the design.

Nevada joined the Union as the 36th state during the Civil War, on Halloween, October 31st, 1864. Although the 36th star was not officially added to the American flag until July 4th, 1865, makers of parade flags would have generally added it as soon as the state was in, if not even beforehand, in hopeful anticipation. The 36 star flag was replaced by the 37 star flag, following the addition of Nebraska in 1867. Note that a count of 36 therefore falls one star short of what was official in 1868. This is sometimes the case with political campaign flags, many of which often have a number of stars that lag behind what was official during the particular election year. In some cases, campaigning may have begun prior to that time. The more likely fact, however, is that the star count wasn't crucial to the person making and/or ordering these small, printed flags.

Brief History of Ulysses S. Grant:
President and General Ulysses S. Grant was born in Ohio in 1822, the son of a tanner. He was shy and quiet as a youth, and most who knew him then would never have expected forthcoming greatness. Like Robert E. Lee, his eventual Confederate counterpart, Grant was a West Point graduate and fought in the Mexican War. Unlike that of Lee, however, Grant’s early military career was far from illustrious. Forced to leave the Army for insubordination, as a civilian he went through six different jobs in just six years. When war broke out in 1861, he was working for his father’s leather shop in Illinois. Trained officers were scarce, so he soon returned to the Army and was placed in charge of an unruly group of Illinois volunteers that no one else would have. Accounts say that he drilled them nearly to their death, before leading minor, successful campaigns that turned heads and won him a promotion to Brigadier General. Various incidents and problems with alcohol caused many to plead for his dismissal, but Lincoln made the suggestion that “a case of whatever Grant was drinking” be sent to every Union General. “I cannot spare this man”, touted Lincoln, “...he fights.” In March of 1864, Grant’s continued determination caused Lincoln to place him in charge of the entire Union Army. In April of 1865, he cornered the main part of the Confederate Army near Richmond, Virginia, an act that caused the surrender of General Lee and ended the war.

Following the failures of incumbent President, Andrew Johnson, Grant’s hero status won him the 1868 Republican nomination. He was elected, and although many shortcomings would cause Grant’s presidency to be widely criticized, he was known to be terminally honest, exceptionally loyal to his friends and staff (sometimes to a fault), and he was re-elected in 1872. While in office, he fought for equal voting rights for people of all races and colors, pushing the 15th amendment to its 1870 ratification. Grant strove to maintain order in the south with brute force, using the military to protect African Americans and combat southern extremists and hate groups, such as the Klu Klux Klan, which had been established in 1866 and was experiencing rapid growth. Grant died in 1885 and was interred in New York City (Grant’s Tomb).

Mounting: The flag was mounted and framed within our own conservation department, which is led by expert trained staff. We take great care in the mounting and preservation of flags and have framed thousands of examples.

The background is 100% cotton twill, black in color, that was washed and treated for colorfastness. The gilded American molding dates to the period between 1840 and 1870. Spacers keep the textile away from the glazing, which is U.V. protective glass.

Condition: There is moderate to significant soiling adjacent to the hoist, accompanied by minor to modest age toning and soiling throughout. There are three, small, dark stains, located in the second star from the hoist, in the 4th row, in the white stripe below the canton, and the last white stripe, accompanied by limited occurrences of much more minor stains. There is some fraying along the top edge and the fly end and there are some tiny holes in the last white stripe. Many of my clients prefer early flags to show their age and history of use. The flag presents beautifully. The rarity and desirability of Grant campaign flags warrants practically any condition.
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Collector Level: Flags for the truest Patriots. My best offerings
Flag Type: Parade flag
Star Count: 36
Earliest Date of Origin: 1868
Latest Date of Origin: 1868
State/Affiliation: Nevada
War Association: 1861-1865 Civil War
Price: Please call (717) 676-0545 or (717) 502-1281
E-mail: info@jeffbridgman.com


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