|Printed in heavy ink on cotton, this large scale, patriotic, campaign banner was produced in 1932 to promote the candidacy of Franklin Delano Roosevelt for President of the United States. This was the first of four times that FDR would seek and win the nation's highest office. The imagery features a slightly unusual, three-quarter, rightward-facing portrait of the future president, set within an Art Deco style, circular medallion with 4 stars in the bottom right-hand corner. Above his image, the slogan "A Gallant Leader" appears in stylized script. Below is simply "ROOSEVELT" in bold, block text with an elongated profile that compliments the tall and narrow form of the textile itself.
The banner was produced by the Sweeny Lithograph Company in Belleville, NJ and is signed in the lower right. An example of the same variety is held in the collection of the Smithsonian and documented in "Threads of History: Americana Recorded on Cloth, 1775 to the Present" by Herbert Ridgeway Collins (Smithsonian Press, 1979), as item #1085 on page 422. Collins formerly served as Curator of Political History at the Smithsonian Institution and his text is widely agreed to be the best available reference for American political textiles.
A Brief Biography of Franklin Delano Roosevelt:
After entering Harvard University in 1900, Franklin Roosevelt became active with the school newspaper Harvard Crimson. He became its editor in 1903 and that same year became engaged to Eleanor Roosevelt, his fifth cousin and the niece of President Theodore Roosevelt.
Enrolling in Columbia Law School in 1905, he passed the bar in 1907 and was employed by the prominent New York law firm Carter, Ledyard, and Milburn. In 1910 he was asked to run for the Democratic senate seat representing his childhood home of Duchess County, NY. Long held by Republicans, his win on the Democratic ticket represented a significant victory. In 1912 he won again, but was resigned in 1913 when newly elected President Woodrow Wilson appointed him Assistant Secretary of the Navy This became an increasingly important position as the U.S. prepared to enter WWI.
Like his cousin Theodore, Franklin aspired to rise in the political world. In 1920, he ran for vice president on the unsuccessful Democrat ticket of James Cox. The loss prompted FDR to reenter the business world, and shortly thereafter, in the summer of 1921, while vacationing with his family, Franklin started feeling weak and sickly. He was soon diagnosed with Polio. Like Theodore, he kept his charisma and humor in the face of adversity and made the decision to reenter politics by running for Governor of New York in 1928. Although he was unsure of his body's strength, he defied all physical odds and won the gubernatorial election in 1928 and again in 1930.
By 1932 a second Roosevelt had gained the White House. FDR went on to win again in 1936, 1940, and 1944. His election to his fourth presidential term led to the passing of the 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which imposed a two-term limit.
Mounting: The textile has been hand-stitched to 100% cotton twill, black in color. The black fabric was washed to remove excess dye. An acid-free agent was added to the wash to further set the dye and the fabric was heat-treated for the same purpose. The mount was then placed in a black-painted, hand-gilded and distressed Italian molding. The front is U.V. protective acrylic.
Condition: There is minor foxing, dye loss, and fabric loss.