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  EXTREMELY RARE PILLOW COVER, WITH ROOSEVELT "TEDDY BEARS" CARRYING A LYNX, MADE TO COMMMEMORATE HIS SUCCESSFUL SETTLEMENT OF A LAND DISPUTE FOLLOWING THE YUKON / KLONDIKE GOLD RUSH

Available: Sold
Frame Size (H x L): Approx. 32" x 33"
Flag Size (H x L): 22.25" x 23"
Description....:
In addition to being one of America's most popular men to serve in our nation's highest office, Teddy Roosevelt was a capable negotiator. In 1905 he gained world-wide notoriety for brokering peace between Russia & Japan to end the Russo-Japanese War, for which he was given the Nobel Peace Prize. A less-remembered event occurred just two years prior, in 1903, when he sent three men, Secretary of War Elihu Root, Massachusetts Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, and former senator from Washington State, George Turner, to solve a territorial dispute between the U.S. and Britain over land in the Yukon peninsula. Discovery of gold in 1896 by Seattleite George Carmack and two Yukon area Indians, led to the Klondike Gold Rush in 1897-98. 100,000 people set off for the Yukon, though the conditions were so brutal that only 30,000 completed the journey. This did cause the population of the region, however, to swell to that number from its previous state of being nearly uninhabited. Most of these gold seekers were American.

The dispute over the territory had been going on between the Russian and British Empires since 1821, and was inherited by the United States as a consequence of the Alaska Purchase in 1867. The final resolution favored the American position, and Canada did not get an all-Canada outlet from the Yukon gold fields to the sea. Canadian disappointment and anger was directed less at the United States and more at the British government, for betraying Canadian interests in favor of Anglo-American relations.

Printed on ticking weight cotton and sold as pillow covers, this image, entitled "Teddy Bears," has been suggested to include a Lynx due to the success of Roosevelt in the Yukon affair. In it a bespeckled T.R. is shown in "Teddy bear" form, with his rifle, ammo belt, and a celebratory cigar in hand. He dons a red bandanna about his neck and wears his iconic Rough-Rider's hat, upon which the words "I Did It" are printed. Behind him, carrying the other end of a length of White Birch, is another bear with a cartridge bag labeled "Washington, D.C." Though not copyrighted until 1907 (notated in the lower left), Roosevelt was in the White House that year and the illustration would have resonated with T.R. admirers regardless of its political context. In the lower right is the name of the maker, "Schwab & Wolf, N.Y."

Similar textiles are known from the 1900 presidential campaign, illustrating Republicans William McKinley and Roosevelt (running for Vice President), as well as for Democrat opponent, William Jennings Bryan. Numerous other designs exist from the same general era, including western scenes, views of Native Americans, Lady Columbia, and the fabled image painted by Emanuel Leutze of Washington Crossing the Delaware. There were various makers, though the fabric and printing from one-to-the-next is remarkably similar. Of further interest to political collectors is another Teddy Roosevelt version, produced by Campbell, Metzger, and Jacobsen in New York, which celebrates his Nobel Peace Prize.

Note the strong colors present in the printing and how unusual and realistic the image is when compared to printed cotton and silk kerchiefs of the same general period. Some of these textiles were never made into pillows, but rather framed or simply tacked to a wall for patriotic display. Some are recorded in various text, but this version, with the bears and Lynx is not. Only 2 or 3 copies of it are presently known, all in private hands. I am privileged to have owned one of the others.

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, black in color, that has been washed and treated for colorfastness. The mount was then placed in a dark brown, concave molding with a grain like mahogany, to which a black-painted and gilded Italian molding was added as a cap. The glazing is U.V. protective acrylic (Plexiglas).

Condition: There is minor staining in limited areas.
Collector Level: Advanced Collectors and the Person with Everything
Flag Type:
Star Count:
Earliest Date of Origin: 1903
Latest Date of Origin: 1904
State/Affiliation: Washington
War Association:
Price: SOLD
 

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