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tv   Discussion on Flags of the American Revolution  CSPAN  July 4, 2015 3:00pm-4:01pm EDT

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you are watching american tv. 48 hours of programming of american history on c-span3. follow us on twitter at c-span history for information on our schedule of upcoming programs and to keep up with the latest history news. >> r scott stevenson from the museum of the american revolution explores the history of the 18th century battle flag. three rare flags were on display last month, including george washington's commander-in-chief flag. he discusses the importance of each flag. this hour-long event was cohosted by the museum of the american revolution. >> is really exciting to be here. it started with an idea to talk
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about flag day and then we realized that in fact there were three flags being stored here and one in the collection of the museum of the american revolution, two that are the property of an anonymous, very generous owner and lender, who has consented to have them on display for this afternoon. so this is an extraordinary opportunity. i'm not sure there is anywhere else on the planet why you can stand in the room and be in the presence of three banners of liberty from the american revolution. so congratulations to all of you for not going to the beach this weekend or not mowing the grass in the hot weather and choosing to come and sit in the dark with me for about an hour. i would like to start actually with an exercise to get you to think about the role that flags play and the images you have in your mind's eye about the american revolution.
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and so actually i'm going to close your eyes for a minute. because we're going to think about how poets and painters have painted the vision we have of the american revolution. so if you use your mind's eye and listen to ralph wando emerson, by the rude bridge that arch the flood, their flag to april's breeze unfurled here , once the embattled farmer stood and fired the shot heard around the world. or if i say bunker hill, or independence hall, the declaration of in dependence, or washington crossing the delaware, raise your hand if you thought a flag or saw a flag. almost all of you must have had a flag waving somewhere in your mind. and so i wanted to start, before we get to the discussion of the flags you'll see today, to just reflect for a few minutes -- there is emerson's words from the conquered hymn. and to think about the way we think about flags an the american revolution. and we claim them as philadelphians and they were born in maryland and we don't
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hold them against them. james peale and charles wilson peale, the painters of the revolution, and both of whom stood the test. they were not summer soldiers by any means. they struggled there many hard campaigns through the course of the revolution and recorded their impressions of the revolution in many works that have become quite people. the peel family, not just james -- have become quite familiar. the peale family not just james , and charles, on down the line became a dynasty of painters many of washington, almost all of which bear a version of a national standard. their and you can see how the banners are being depicted. a small boy who lived through the revolution, watched his uncles painting away, marching off to war and picking up the brush and palate also made a
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career for himself. painted 50 versions of this popular orchard of washington often depicting nasa all -- na ssau hall. i don't need a laser pointer. in every case there is an embedded flag in the background. the most significant individual for shaping the way you think about the american revolution and the struggle for liberty with connecticut's john trumbull. you can see that, from the body of his work, everything from studies in graphite and oil to finished work, you can see how artists played such an important role from the first concept and competition for the final work. i'm sure with your eyes closed
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you were thinking of the death of general warren, or the death of general harris. the surrender of the hessians at trenton. the death a few days later of hugh mercer at the battle of princeton. you can see from his preparatory sketch both the importance of flags in the composition and raising a challenge that we will discuss a little bit later. the change in the designs of those flags which make it more complicated when we are trying to nail down the chronology of design trends of flags in the early american revolution. this is another example of the surrender of fort wallace's army
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at yorktown and the finished piece itself. moving on to later generations. inspired by the revolutionary upheaval in europe in 1848 wanted to paint a stirring work that would inspire others liberty and monarch goal societies in europe. he was lambasted by critics and loved by everyone else. this was known originally as yankee doodle. our local guide, howard pyle. you can see that hanging at the brandywine river museum. bernard perlin, who was a
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popular recruiting poster during the second world war, painted an enormous banner that hung in union station. literally hundreds of thousands of american troops as they saw this after being shipped off to the pacific or atlantic. we will go back to the 18th century. this is an early quote from the newport rhode island newspaper the dateline was philadelphia. the correspondent said -- even before the outbreak of war in april 1775 as americans throughout the colony, soon to be independent states, or preparing themselves militarily to confront the british army in their struggle for liberty.
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they were commissioning flags and banners as part of their military preparation. the three flags, three b anners of liberty will be the muhlenberg flag, the forrester flat, and associated with george washington, often called the headquarters flag or the commander-in-chief's standard. let me start with term and out it. i will be throwing out words like waste and fly and can't -- like hoist and fly and canton. we talk a lot about cantons which is the upper part of the flag or the poll. the fly or the fly and. the field is everything that is not the canton. the charge is the design that
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will be placed in the center of the field. it is also important to understand symbols. we will talk a lot about symbols today. understanding the union. often called the union jack. it does not have until 1801 the red over strike. the addition of ireland. in the 18th century, the union flag combines the cross of saint george representing england, and the cross of king andrew which represents scotland. this flag has been in existence since the beginning of the earliest 18 century. in america it was probably most familiar in the so-called red infant. this was the flag thrown flown by admiralty. -- this was the flag flown by admiralty. this would be a flag in appearance to this, a red field
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and a union canton. in the british army, is important to think about the military heritage of because medicare army -- of the cosmetic army. military heritage of the leaders of the military. george washington served as a presence -- as an apprentice to a british officer. this is a scottish regiment on the eve of its embarkation for america in 17 to six -- in 1756. this is glasgow green in scotland. you have companies that are firing. his called street firing. you can imagine the column. they would fire. they are marching back to back,
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loading as they go. they could produce continuous fire. in the center of the regiment is the typical british standard of colors. this is a union standard and then a regimental standard. the national emblem has the royal guard on it and that is to signal a battlefield. many nations represent that these troops are british. the regimental standard, you see this watercolor of an ensign carrying a regimental standard is a -- standard. it is a yellow field, union jack canton. this pair of standards was the typical way for the british army or an american unit would have
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taken to the field. here is a rare image from the collection of the museum of the american revolution. it is a detail from the painting of the battle of germantown in october of 1777. it is a rare depiction of an american regiment. as for the locals, it is just outside. the fighting was taking place at the two mountain -- shoe mansion of clifton. during the revolutionary war the scale of fighting and the nature of the territory that this fighting was taking place in also meant that you had to break up into smaller units. instead of a large regiment of 800-1000 men with a pair of colors imagine in broken ground and have to cross fences, troops would have to fight in smaller
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units. early on the americans began breaking down into smaller groups and assigning colors to sort of sub-units of a regiment . they would use the term grand division. one of the first advocates of this was a former british officer major general charles lee, who had served in the french and indian war in america and gone back and fought in conflicts in europe in the 1760s . he settled back in virginia in 1760s and becomed enamored of the resistance to british taxation and becames a general with general washington early in the war. and you became familiar with barren von stoiben and was faking it when he claimed he was a baron in the. but we owe him a great debt. and they were great tactical innovators. and they effected the kind of flags that have come down to us.
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now lee was an advocate early on for having a simple color, different colored flags, color is a synonym for flag. they would have the word liberty embroidered on them. and there is, believe it or not a surviving flag that matched this description. this is a photograph taken at about 1860, 1862. it is actually of, at the time though it is hard to believe it, a living veteran of the american revolution, a man named nicholas vetter, he died in 1862, actually an image of the memorial erupted in his honor. he actually had a small private museum of revolutionary relics and this flag is one of the items preserved. it survived remarkably to the present day, but although as can you see, this photograph taken about a century ago and this is the recent appearance, it has been rode hard put away wet as my grand father said and it is part of the schenectady museum. but it is the sole survivor of the liberty flags.
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it is common in 1776. there are numerous references to them of fighting around new york in the actions described in david mcculloch's book 1776. in one case, one action on long island, one of the hessian commanders noted they had captured 11 colors, all with the word "liberty" written on them . there may well have been others that went back as trophies to england or to the german states and they may be waiting to be discovered in europe. and von steuben is best known for promulgating a uniform set
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of regulations for the discipline of the continental army. he joined the continent at army during the valley forge winter as inspector general with general washington. up to this the state lines had point, used slightly different thrill -- drill manuals. it wasn't so much they were loading and firing in different waysba if you can imagine, you are trying to get a brigade or hundreds of thousands of men to go from a column into a line facing an enemy and they all do it a different way, absolutely disastrous. von steuben created a uniform set to get those men to move. and this is a plate from the 1779 so-called the blue book because of the blue paste board covers, just about every nco and officer would have owned a copy of this. and here with the arrows you can see where he's depicted two of
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what they called grand division flags. so unlike the british system of having a national flag and a regimental flag and those were the only flag, these with the smaller maneuvering flags and they were for a company or two companies working together in concert during an action. and that is a good setup for the first flag you'll see today known as the muhlenberg flag. it is now a faded pink color. at the period it was constructed of a changeable silk so the wharf of the fabric were different colors so as it floded in the wind it had a salmon color. it was quite resplendent in its day. it has in the center a white painted scroll and show you a close up in a moment. it is called the muhlenberg flag because it descended in the family of john peter gabriel mulenberg, one of the sons of
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henry muhlenberg, known as the founder for the lutheran church in america. this would be been in trap, up in collegeville for locals here, john peter gabriel mulenberg was a lutheran minister at the beginning of the american revolution when the fighting broke out. he had been very involved in the early run-up to the war, the resistance participated in , political committees and very committed to the american resistance and ultimately the revolution. he was appointed in january of 1776 to raise a regiment of german-speaking inhabitants of the shenandoah valley. he had taken up a calling of what is now woodstock in northern part or downstream shenandoah valley in northern virginia. his congregation consisted of german immigrants or the descendents of graerm immigrants who were still primarily german-speaking. this regiment known as the
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eighth virginia was raised from january to march in 1776. and a regiment that is debated among historians and politicians and this is a story which was known in part even during the american revolution, there were a number of officers who refer to you and berg -- muhlenberg as the general who had famously mounted the pulpit with his sword and his dock aid, being the roset of silk ribbon that a military man would wear in his hat. the story was not written down in great detail until the 1830's and and went something like jean 1840's peter gabriel mulenberg returned to woodstock and the word went out he would announce his final sermon before going off to war and wearing his clerical robes as he he mounted the pulpit, he delivered a sermon from ecclesiastes and
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when he started speaking about there is a time for peace and a time for war reportedly said , "and now is the time for war" and revealed beneath his gown that he was wearing either his entire continental army uniform or perhaps just a sword and cockade. so he was certainly known in the period to have been a minister who went to war and there was something that happened in woodstock, and this is, of course, a 20th century painting depicting that image. what is important about muhlenberg is he kept a lot of his things and we have excellent provenance on this material. in the upper left you see the flag as it descended through the muhlenberg family until very very recently. until 1962 it was paired with the pair of pistols you see on the right here. these are in the collection of the museum of the american revolution. the flag and the pistols dissented in the family from muhlenberg's eldest son and in his will he evens refers to
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these as the brass barrelled pistols he carried through the american revolution. the flag had been framed for a many years and this is a great example of the work that goes on here at the conservation lab. this is the appearance when it came out of the frame. you can imagine lisa menardi and linda and i were in the room and all we knew what was we saw through the glass. no one was sure what was behind there. was it the center of the flag that had been cut out and framed? could we have imagined that there, folded up behind a piece of card bardboard was an entire grand division color from the continental army? you can see what the conservator s are always concerned about and that's the effect of light exposure and probably in half a century or so what the difference is in the fading that's taken place over that period of time. so this is the reverse of the flag. you can see a fringed edged here and this is the hoist where
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there's a leave for the pole of that flag. and here it is now con serbed and virginia whalen who i can't see anything because there's a light in my eye, but somewhere out in the audience, if virginia would waive -- she's the conservator who worked on two of the flee flags that are here. so some of you i know who are flag collectors are very interested, instead of asking me very details of z twists and y twists and this thing and i will give you a blank stare, virginia is the person who has looked at these more closely than anyone on the planet and did the work to restore this flag. it's presented next to another flag with virginia provenance as well. this is from a suite of three colors with a remarkable history. these were sold at sotheby's in 2006 after descended directly in the family of benastre tarlton.
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the commander who commanded the british legion which was confusingly composed largely of loyalists in the south. served in the north as well but became very kel known as bloody tarlton for his actions in the carolinas and virginia during the american revolution. this is a set of standards regimental standard and two grand division colors that were captured at a battle in 1780 from the third virginia detachment. it was an amalgamated group of the remnants of several regiments that had been sent down to stop the british invasion of the southern states. what's remarkable is they never filled in the regiments. these were clearly issued from the stores here in philadelphia and sent down. now the next flag is known as forrester flag. it's composed of a red field.
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when you see it, you see there are six white stripes on the one side and seven on the other all in told making 13 alternating red and white stripes. it is known as the forster flag, as these flags often are are because of family descent or family tradition. so this flag was originally owned by samuel forster started in 1775. it's traditionally said to have been the standard carried by the -- a unit of the essex county militia in -- north of boston, northeast of boston in 1775. it descended in that family directly until 1975 when it was acquired by the flag research center in massachusetts and then just two years ago, i believe, was sold at -- actually, it was not sold at auction, i believe it was acquired through private sale so it's now in a private collection but on loan for our display today. now, the forster flag is interesting and i hope you're able to see this in the light. if you look at the canton area in this earlier photograph you
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can see the darker area here. it's also visible where i've indicated where the arrows. so the canton has been altered early in the life of this flag. this is a conservator's diagram of the stitching and the pieces that compose it. so it's basically composed of two full widths of silk but then it's had some monkey business up here. this is the original set of stitching for the hoist but where it gets larger here, it's been cut and opened up and it's had a replacement canton of a slightly lighter slightly different fabric and stitched up genl. then it has these white silk stripes that have been sown to it. so to understand what's going on with this flag -- there's closer
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detail. you can see again how even the red of the field has clearly been pieced together from -- they didn't have quite a large enough piece of this red silling to execute this alteration. you have to go back and look at the history of the use of stripes as a symbol of american union. this is one of the first images of -- this is certainly the first published image of general washington, published in the fall of 1775 in edgeland. -- in england. and there are you look just in front of the horse's breast you see a depiction of american troops firing on the british with the rebellious stripes, the flag is alternating red-and-white stripes that was already associated with the union of the rebelling colony, soon to be independent states. so these flags appear in depictions of naval flags here commodore hopkins, this is john paul jones under striped flag. there is a version that has been known since the 19th century as the grand union and the period it probably was just referred to
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as the union flag so, again, in canton you will recognize the british union and then the stripes. this is from an early 1776 north carolina dollar bill. this is a flag that is known to have flown from ships, from fort, and perhaps even carried by troops in the field. it can be a little confusing and it was confusing for people through the 19th and much of the 20th century because when they would encounter a flag that had a british union in the upper canton, often times the assumption was well, this must be a british flag because people didn't remember that before the declaration of independence the goal of most of the people that we think of as founding fathers was not independence from britain but rather a restoration or recognition of their rights as englishmen. so early flags dating to 1774,
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1775 1776 nothing inconsistent , about having that iconography in the canton of the flag. this is the case with a number of surviving flags. now this is an interesting flag. this is located about a 5 -- about a 15-minute drive from here. the delaware historical society purchased this flag from a captain william dansy from the 33rd regiment. he was part of the philadelphia campaign, the ones that fought here brandywine and german town and to philadelphia. and on the fifth of september, 1777, reported capturing from the colonel of a delaware militia regiment all of his baggage including several colors . he sent this flag back home to england so it was very well preserved. as you can see, 13 red and white stripes and this is the next iteration after the declaration of independence from that british union in the canton. another example, this is known
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as the fort washington flag to collectors now. it descended in the family of philadelphia, josiah harmer who in 1775 joined the american cause. he served as an officer in the first pennsylvania regiment and served all the way through to 1783 and then became a general and leader in the first american regiment. so the actual first post-war united states military and fought in the indian campaigns in the old northwest until he retired after an inglorious defeat known as harmer's defeat in ohio. so the harmer flag or fort washington flag descended in the family until the early 20th century. at first glance, it appears to be very related to the dansey flag. it has the regimental colors that we have seen. it actually has a device in the center here, this is an image of
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fort washington. so the family tradition at the time in the 1920s was that this flag had been hoisted over fort washington which was an american military base essentially where cincinnati, ohio, is located today. of course, this type of flag is not the sort of flag you hoist over -- not a garrison flag which is usually made of a wool bunting, not silk, a much different size and configuration. but it's interesting in the central device here it's closely related to symbols found in currency as well as this soldier's powder horn. in this case it's a bundle of 13 arrows on the flag there tied together with a ribbon on the horn, held in a hand and this was -- there was a metaphor that a single arrow could be easily broken but a bundle of arrows would be very difficult to break. so this was a symbol used a lot of different ways during the revolution. it also has -- and you will not be able to read in the scroll
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"united we stand." and this is a phrase that appears back to 1774, united we stand, divided we fall. so when the conservator looked closely at that flag, they noted a similar phenomenon. so this is a sketch just like the forster flag showing the piecing that took place to reconstruct how the stripes had been composed and what they concluded in measuring, looking at old stitches and how it had been pieced is that it originally was configured this way. that it had a union, british union in the upper canton which , presumably after the declaration of independence was , taken apart, restitched, cut apart, restitched and reconfigured to show this new symbol. this is another unaltered flag. this is in the collection of the monmouth county historical
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association in new jersey. and we have the privilege of examining this a year ago in person. it's in a remarkable state of reservation. it actually has the sleeve for the pole of the flag tucked underneath. so it's one of the most complete revolutionary war flags i'm aware of. it's related to a group of flags that are documented as having been made in 1775. so this is a tailor's bill from philadelphia. they tell me kids aren't taught to read cursive anymore so in a few years i won't be able to throw this up here. it could be a challenge for those not used to reading it. it's yards of italian silk for a 9.5 standard. and then the cost. silk for the union making and et cetera. so this is a standard here that had a union in the corner. and then two division colors. so two smaller maneuvering flags that would have accompanied this
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flag as well. here's a closeup of that canton . the other interesting thing you can see is the red is composed of a silk damask which you would normally expect to see as a furnishing fabric for bed hangings or curtains or such. but presumably with imports stopped with the british navy patrolling american waters they were getting their hands on whatever materials ss they could to construct these flags. another flag that's also related and also shares in common in this case the field that's composed of similar red damask is known as the fort bedford flag. this is in the collection of the city of bedford, pennsylvania, out in central pennsylvania, bedford county. also has an unaltered union canton, again, plain red field. it's quite large, sort of a regimental standard size.
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it also, like many of these colors, the monmouth color had passed down through descendents of another pennsylvania officer but by the time it was donated to the association, the assumption was that it's got this union canton so it must have been come from the british . so there was a story that this has been captured at the battle of monmouth. in this case the fort bedford flag, to explain its appearance it was believed perhaps it had been given by the duke of bedford to the citizens of bedford to hoist over the fort bedford built during the french and indian war. it seems much more plausible that these are simply early revolutionary war flags probably for militia regiments that were tucked away and never altered and are merely reflecting that early period of symbolism. finally, this is another pennsylvania standard. i do not have a good image of the original.
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it's known as the proctor flag, after the commander john proctor of the first battalion of the westmoreland county militia that marched east from westmoreland county in the winter of 1776 and reinforced washington's army. it also has a canton. as the famous rattlesnake and don't tread on me imagery painted on it. another sort of rosetta stone piece that helps to prove this case that we're seeing with these pieced flags like the forster flag that you see today that they are alterations after the dligs of independence is the flag of the first troop of city cavalry. or the first city troop. this can be seen by appointment. the original flag has has a device in the center. it has "lh" for light horse over it and at first glance a
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familiar striped canton. but if you look really closely can you see the shadow of the red cross of st. george and the diagonal? it's actually been painted twice in the canton. so this is its original appearance here. and remarkably, the original receipts have survived for the -- when it was made in september of 1775. i won't even offer a cookie to anybody who can read these but this is for john fullwell who was paid for designing the standard, the devices that would be on it and this is to james claypool for the painting and guilding and he notes in here it had a union on it. so, again, helping to solidify that case for the way this was originally configured and after the declaration of independence substituting the red and white stripes, in this case blue and white stripes for the union. now, the imagery if you think
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back to that proctor flag with the don't tread on me and the rattlesnake, there were also many flags that had similar bombs in the center like that fort washington or harmer's flag. and many symbols were taken from continental currency. this is currency designed by benjamin franklin. he reportedly had a book of ancient symbols published in the early 18th century that he brought out for the committee that was designing the continental currency so you'll see if you think back to the standard with the tarleton flags, this is the beaver chewing on the palmetto tree that's the symbol that's painted in the center there. and of course the design for the continental third of a dollar and the chain of states. american congress, we are one. you're going to love my next slide, actually. it was painted on a -- the regimental standard of the second new hampshire regiment. so this is a pair of flags captured in july of 1777.
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so it's great when we have a real documented point before which they must have been made and they, again, have sort of a slightly funky version of the british union. but here in the center of the regimental standard the -- sorry the, the continental standard, this is representing the continent, they have replicate it had dollar. they have eliminated "congress" i notice here though and just said "we are one." i don't know if there's a message for us here in the present day. now i hope that you're able to see this with the lighting because i've often felt that it's not a great leap to imagine that once congress passes the flag resolution in 1777 that the standard of the united states will be a field of alternating red and white stripes and a canton that is a blue field with 13 white stars representing a new constellation that perhaps this very familiar circle of chains may have represented one
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of the configurations that you see the circle of 13 stars but of course, there was no standardization in these early flags for the way the stars would be depicted in the blue field. it was left up to the makers to decide how they would be done. so this is another example perhaps one of the earliest surviving we believe standards with 13 stars on a blue field. this is known as washington's headquarter standard or the commander-in-chief standard. this is from the collection of the museum of the american revolution that is on display here today. it requires a little bit of a story to talk about how it came down to us the present day and how we know what we know and what we still don't know who. it traces back -- we have to understand the composition of washington's family. this standard was not known in the public world till probably the end of the 19th century.
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it remained in family hands. and it came about because of this boy right here, george washington park custis who was the adopted grandson of george washington, martha washington and her natural grandson by her first husband, daniel park cus tus. george washington park custis upon martha washington's death in inherited family relics, he 1802, purchased many things when there was a private sale of the contents of mount vernon, those things that had not been specifically given to members of the family and he build arlington house which, of course, will be familiar to all of you as adjacent to the site of the tomb of the unknown soldier at arlington cemetery. arlington house was very much conceived as a place to show off washington's -- washy, as he was known in the family, washy's connection to his illustrious grandfather, a place for him to display many relics.
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that include the campaign tents he used during the american revolution. he would take these things out. this is a news article from a washington paper where he would have them displayed in the fields outside of arlington house for sheep shearings and other patriotic celebrations and would give oratory beneath the venerable canvas. he returned to the tent, sleeping and office tent that is now in the museum of the american revolution as the preor of liberty. so here's the line of descent. this is a much older george washington park custus on the eve of the civil war. the custody of those tents passed to his daughter, mary ann randolph custis lee. every possible surname you could group together who married a
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dashing young robert-- robert e. lee. their daughter, mary custis lee in 1960 in an 061906 announced , she was interested in selling one or both of the campaign tents that she had inherited from that line of descent from her grandfather to the patriotic citizens of philadelphia in order to endow -- give money to the confederate widow's home. she even said here she was hoping that independence hall is the proper place for them. so we're excited that we're two blocks from independence hall and will be displaying those tents. she as a result of this interview was put in contact with this diminutive episcopal minister reverend w herbert
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burke, who at the time was beginning to build the washington memorial chapel which stands in what is now valley forge historical national park. so burke gotten a option to purchase this marquee for $5,000 from mary custis lee. he employed many of the techniques we use as fund-raisers today. he wrote appeal letters, he put it on display in the washington memorial chapel, he charged admission, ten cents, that would go toward the purchase of the washington marquee and in the course of about two years was able to pay the note off. so the tent remained in the collection of the valley forge historical society, which is our predecessor organization and it's come down to us to the present day and will be displayed in the museum in philadelphia when we open. now, burke placed that marquee on display at the end of the summer in 1909 and within a couple of weeks of it being put on display, someone going on a tour with him mentioned she had just seen the flag that used to fly over the marquee.
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so he was a guy who never shirked from acquiring objects so he got on the case and soon learned of the existence of this standard. this is an image from about 1910. one of his fund-raising techniques at the time was to make postcards of things like the marquee or the flag and sell those as a way to raise money. so this is from a postcard of about 1910 of the flag in the condition that it was at the time he first became aware of it. and you can see he reissued that postcard and photoshopped or whatever the 1910 version of photoshop was, put the flag up there. [laughter] now we know now we've had a chance to forensically examine the marquee. we know that it certainly was not flown this way. there isn't any sign in the canvas or in the poles or anything of a way to suspend the marquee this way. but there is some interesting information that's come about because of the research. so this is a somewhat complicated genealogical chart
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to show the connection to george washington. if this is washington, this is his sister, betty washington who married fielding lewis. and, of course, they resided in the wonderful home that still exists and you can still visit called kenmore in fredericksburg. so their youngest son was the common ancestor of the two cousins who believed they owned the flag. i wanted to mention the connections of these three sons because they're all sort of probable associations with washington. we don't know exactly how that flag came down. george washington lewis was the namesake of his favorite uncle and he was a favorite nephew of george washington. he was born in 1757 so he was named after washington when he was colonel george washington during the french and indian
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war. george lewis served in washington's commander in chief's guard so he was an officer in the guard closely associated with washington that was responsible for putting hiss tent and equipment up and take it down and defending his person. he served in a continental light dragoon unit which provided by an escort and guard for washington during the war. robert lewis served as washington's private secretary. howell lewis also lived with the washingtons briefly during the presidency and also served as estate manager in mount vernon and was also a very beloved nephew of george washington. so any one of these you can imagine this association could have originally gotten hold of the standard. it then passed down to betty washington lewis and these two sons at the time that washington
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-- the washington flag first came out of the woodwork it was in the possession of this woman, francis fanny bering lovell who was living in philadelphia, in germantown, she's the won who bought the flag, put it on loan. when she died in 1924 it was donated to the society and published in an updated guide to valley forge park. well, way down in marietta georgia, ellen patrick lovell crosby, fanny lovell's cousin read about this flag which had been donated to some church up in valley forge and wrote a very cross letter to reverend burke saying, "i don't know how this flag could have been given to you because this is my family's flag." she claimed that howell lewis had borrowed the flag from her father and would never return it because we'd ask for it and he'd say "we want to show it to somebody else" and eventually the generations died so we had two fairly cross cousins who
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eventually, before her death in 1942 consented to make it a joint donation so that's how it ended up in our possession. i found a wonderful picture of mrs. crosby and i've been reading her letters back and forth to reverend burke for years. they have a real tone to them that is absolutely captured in that photograph. [laughter] you can see that's an very familiar kind of image. there's her illustrious common ancestor george washington. this is a portrait of herself. she was born in 1851 so presumably that's early 1850s. it immediately brought to mind the image that you all have here of grantwood's famous painting "daughters of the revolution." it's almost as if she posed for it. [laughter] now, of course, it brings up an
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important point. one perhaps slightly critical and one more serious and this is to think about the role of women in the world of flag, both their preservation but also the original makers of many of these flags. wood actually painted this. he called this his only satirical work though most art historians say everything he painted was satirical, but it was in responses to a specific incident. he had been commissioned in the early 1920s to do a stained glass window in cedar rapids iowa, that was a memorial for veterans of the first world war. he searched all through the united states to try to find really good stained glass and it wasn't being made in the quality he was looking for. so he went to dusseldorf, spent close to a year going through and carefully selecting his glass and designing this beautiful stained glass and here's an image of it in the veterans memorial and curiously it has a revolutionary war soldier all the way through to world war i. but the daughters of the american revolution in cedar
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rapids, iowa, would not allow it to be unveiled until 1955 because they felt that using german glass was not appropriate. so the suggest that is that actually wood was being really clever here because, of course emmanuel was a german immigrant trying to inspire revolutions in germany. so on many different levels it's a wonderful piece. but it's also important to remember that many of these objects have come down to us because of people like mrs. crosby and fanny lovell who took a particular interest in remembering their ancestors and preserving these objects and bringing them down to the present day. it's also important again to go back -- i wasn't going to talk about betsy today and i won't talk too much about betsy but if you haven't read it, the wonderful biography of betsy ross by my good friend marla
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miller which was the basis of a great exhibit that was done a couple years ago that marla and linda eaton co-curerated that examined the myth and history of betsy ross was wonderful in bringing back to the surface all of the women, most of whom had been faceless and nameless since the 18th century who were fovled in flag production. plunkett fleeson, an upholsterer, made a set of marquees for general washington. he advertised that he made drums and colors and he was as an upholsterer and flag maker was employing many women in the area. probably even betsy ross and others like rebecca young here who later in the war set up on her own and advertised as a maker of colors for flags, for the army and navy. she also delivered colors into the continental store so this is
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a philadelphia receipt from continental quartermaster records in 1782 where she's acknowledging payment for a large garrison standard. so many of the flags we've seen pictures of could have been the work of rebecca young or one of those women here in philadelphia. now, the standard was placed on display and, like many of these flags, suffered a number of indignities, not the least is having to pose with this fellow with the helmet on but this is an image of the way fanny lovell originally framed this in 1909 when she placed it on display and at that time the original grommets on the linen heading for lacing it to the flagpole were still in place. however later well-intentioned efforts were made, it was taken out of that frame and framed for tightly it appears to have been
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glued down to be razor bladed out. so it had loss along the edges. thanks to the pennsylvania of sons of the revolution, its color guard, which is a patriot patriotic heritage organization with an educational mission here in philadelphia part of the general society of the sons of the revolution, we received a very generous grant a few years ago to undertake the restoration and conservation, preparation of that flag for display. this is how it looks today and how you'll see it in the rotunda here in just a little while. now, there have been some, i often say as freud never said, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. there are some who claim to see actually a shadow of that old union -- british union in the arrangement of the stars here and i'm not certain whether that was intentional or not. but a quick review of iconography of these standards from various depictions.
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this is a painting of the battle of princeton by james peal, so one of our soldier artist brothers. it depicts the battle of princeton. this was painted in the early 1780's 1781-1782, of an incident that took place in early 1777. but here you see a large blue field with a scattering of white stars. here is a painting done in 1782 depicting the surrender of cornwallis' army marching out of yorktown to a surrender field between a line of french forces and the continental army and here buried in the detail is another depiction of a large -- now, that's about the size of your pinky nail so we can't get too fastidious about the exact number and arrangement of the stars but generally speaking you start to see depictions of these bluefield flags with white stars. they are buried in the back of a
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james peale painting of washington that hangs in the house here in winter. you will see another small blue flag similar to that. this is actually from an irish literary publication. short-lived. published in 1799 and 1800. it memorialized washington's recent death, including something that looks surprisingly like the commander-in-chief standard. i'm going to let the soldiers march off under their banner of liberty. in conclusion, i would like to say what a great leisure it has been for us as a new institution to work with their colleagues here. you would absolutely not have the opportunity to see these flags on display if it had not been for the tremendous staff
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resources and knowledge and generosity of the staff here. i know many of you are members and supporters. it is absolutely tremendous, the support we have received as we are building new museums in philadelphia that will open in a couple of years. i wanted to point out three couple of people in the audience that you want to catch -- i talked to you about a different thing. virginia is the conservator who can answer technical weston's about the flags. linda, where are you? way in the back. you can only see her hand. linda is the senior curator of textiles and collection director here. she has forgotten more about flags then i have known in my entire life. some of my colleagues, neil hearst is here. richard handler. -- raise your hand.
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notice how these things were sown. great winter connections here. he has joined us as assistant. her. if all that wasn't great enough, that is him carrying the flag -- [laughter] -- on a 10 mile march of the brandywine. he is great. we will all be around to answer questions. lisa, who introduced me -- there she is. lisa is the world's foremost authority on the muhlenberg family and germans in the early republic. we will be in the rotunda to answer questions that you have. being in the presence of the wonderful flags will be enough. my final message to you because
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you are all here on a sunday, two great organizations, is that you clearly know what our ancestors did united we stand, divided we fall. this will all be explained in greater detail. thank you. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] >> with live coverage on the house on c-span and the senate on c-span 2, on c-span 3 we show you the most prevalent public hearings of public affairs events. on weekends, c-span 3 is home to american history tv, including six unique series. the civil war's 150th anniversary, visiting battlefields and key events. american artifacts, touring museums and historic sites to see what artifacts reveal about america's pass. american bookshelf.
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looking at the policies and legacies of our commander-in-chief. and our new series, reel america, featuring archival government and educational films through the 1930's and 1970's. c-span 3, created by the cable tv industry and funded by your local provider or satellite distributor. like us on facebook and follow us on twitter. >> like many of us, first families take vacation time. like presidents and first ladies, a good read can be the perfect companion for your summer journey. what better book than one appears inside the personal life of every first lady in american history? first ladies: presidential historians on the lives of 45 iconic women. inspiring stories of fascinating women who survived the scrutiny of the white house.
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>> history bookshelf features popular american history riders. from 1801-1805, the united states fought its first war and foreign sees a seas against a group that supported privacy. posted byhosted by e. shaver. this is about 30 minutes.


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