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  THE HARRISON & MORTON BANDANNA FLAG FROM THE MASTAI COLLECTION, PROMINENTLY FEATURED IN BOTH THEIR BOOK ON FLAG COLLECTING AND THE BOOK "THREADS OF HISTORY" BY THE SMITHSONIAN, CA 1888

Available: Sold
Frame Size (H x L): Approx. 64.5" x 46"
Flag Size (H x L): 52.5" x 34"
Description....:
THE HARRISON & MORTON BANDANNA FLAG FROM THE MASTAI COLLECTION, PROMINENTLY FEATURED IN BOTH THEIR BOOK ON FLAG COLLECTING AND THE BOOK "THREADS OF HISTORY" BY THE SMITHSONIAN, CA 1888:

Because it is graphically unique and so memorably documented, the "Harrison & Morton bandanna flag" is familiar to all serious flag collectors. Formerly in the collection of Boleslaw and Marie D'Otrange Mastai, who published the first book on the subject of flag collecting, it is prominently featured in their text “The Stars and the Stripes: The American Flag as Art & History from the Birth of the Republic to the Present” (1973, Knopf, New York), p. 209. When Smithsonian curator of political history Herbert Ridgeway Collins was collecting images for his own landmark reference, he chose to feature it as well. It appears as item 609 in "Threads of History: Americana Recorded on Cloth, 1775 to the Present," (Smithsonian Press, 1979), p. 264.

While the concept of adding a blue campaign kerchief to some red and white stripes seems simple enough, I have not otherwise seen this done in any other instance. Political kerchiefs for campaigning appeared as early as 1828 and were used well into the 20th century, but 1888 was the peak of their popularity. Students of political textiles have correctly termed this "the Year of the Bandanna" and Collins alone lists 93 different varieties. Many others exist. The maker of this flag chose one of the best designs to accomplish his/her task. This is the blue version of a kerchief that is known in both blue and red. In the center is a shield-shaped medallion with the slogan "Our Choice" followed by "Harrison & Morton." Along the top border is the slogan "Protection & Prosperity." Partial text appears in two large stars at the top. If visible these would read "Republican Banner H'D'KF." The remainder of what is visible is comprised of alternating rows of white stripes with blue stars and blue stripes with white stars, surrounded by a border of small white stars, all on a blue ground.

Construction: The bandanna is printed on cotton and is joined to the stripes with treadle stitching. The stripes are made of cotton and are pieced with treadle stitching. A length of white cotton fabric was bound to the fly end on the reverse for strength.

Brief History of Harrison & Morton & The 1888 Election:
Benjamin Harrison was born in Ohio. He studied law in Cincinnati before moving to Indiana, where he set up a very successful practice. During the Civil War he served his new state in command of the 70th Volunteer Infantry. He was brevetted brigadier general before the war’s end and was afterwards very active in the G.A.R and a strong proponent of veteran’s matters. Harrison was elected as a Republican to the U.S. Senate in 1880 and served until 1887. He won the presidency in 1888, in an election that focused mostly on the economics of free trade.

His opponent, Democrat Grover Cleveland, adhered to tradition and refused to campaign as the incumbent president; a move that probably cost him the election. Cleveland was an imposing, five-foot eleven, two-hundred-sixty-pound man who was thought of as a ‘regular Joe’. By stark contrast, Harrison, was just five feet, six inches tall. Democrats called him "Little Ben", yet Republican supporters maintained that he was big enough to wear the hat of his grandfather, William Henry Harrison, the ninth President of the United States and hero of the Battle of Tippecanoe.

Levi Morton was born in Shoreham, Vermont. The son of a Congregationalist minister, he was a school teacher-turned merchant and banker who moved to New York, where he was elected to Congress representing that state and served for two terms. James Garfield asked Morton to be his vice presidential running mate, but Morton declined. Had he accepted and history otherwise ran its course, Morton would have become the 21st President following Garfield's 1881 assassination. During his term as vice president, Morton stood in the way of Harrison's Lodge Bill, which would have enforced the voting rights of Southern blacks. Harrison's anger at Morton caused him to choose a different running mate in 1892. Afterwards Morton became Governor of New York, a position he served between 1895-96.

Election Results:
Benjamin Harrison, Indiana (R) - 47.8%, 233 EV
Grover Cleveland, New York (D) - 48.6% PV, 168 EV

Mounting: The flag has been hand-stitched to 100% natural fabrics for support throughout. It was then hand-stitched to a background of 100% cotton twill, black in color, that 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 placed in a black-painted, hand-gilded and distressed Italian molding. The glazing is U.V. protective plexiglass.

Condition: There is moderate fading throughout, accompanied by minor to moderate foxing and staining. There is some loss and splitting along and adjacent to the hoist. There are minor holes in the 1st, 3rd, and 7th red stripes and the 4th white stripe. Many of my clients prefer early flags to show their age and history of use. Further, the rarity and importance of this example well-warrants any condition issues.
Collector Level: Flags for the truest Patriots. My best offerings
Flag Type: Sewn flag
Star Count: Other
Earliest Date of Origin: 1888
Latest Date of Origin: 1888
State/Affiliation:
War Association: 1866-1890 Indian Wars
Price: SOLD
E-mail: Inquire
 

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