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  SILK CAMPAIGN KERCHIEF IN AN UNUSUAL, HORIZONTAL FORMAT, MADE TO PROMOTE THE 1912 PRESIDENTIAL RUN OF TEDDY ROOSEVELT, WHEN HE RAN ON THE NATIONAL PROGRESSIVE PARTY “BULL MOOSE” TICKET

Available: Sold
Frame Size (H x L): 27.25" x 37"
Flag Size (H x L): 16.5" x 26.5"
Description....:
Bull moose heads, large clubs, and standing bears wielding clubs decorate this printed silk, rectangular format bandana from the 1912 presidential campaign of Theodore Roosevelt. These images surround a center medallion that encircles the date and Teddy’s famous Rough Riders hat. These elements were widely recognized symbols of the man who won America’s heart, but fell out of favor with the Grand Old Party when he decided to run against incumbent President William Howard Taft on an independent, National Progressive Party ticket.

Printed on silk, in red, white, and blue, this interesting textile has the party’s name, spelled in block letters, arranged in a wave format along the border. Roosevelt nicknamed his the “Bull Moose Party” in comic yet serious notation to his bull-headed nature. This manner of choosing a mascot fell in line with the Republican and Democrat selections of the Elephant and Donkey. The term "Teddy Bear" originated from his nickname, while "speak softly but carry a big stick" is a memorable Roosevelt quote. The combination of the two is illustrated by the clubs and bears, in-between which are the man's iconic initials.

Roosevelt had declined to run in 1908, following a long-standing tradition that Presidents were expected to leave office after two terms. He appointed his friend, William Howard Taft, as his successor, who won and served the next four years. During his forthcoming administration, a rift grew between Taft and Roosevelt, who each became leaders of the Republican Party's two ever-spreading wings. The progressives opposed the court system, favored restrictions on women's employment, favored conservation, were more favorable toward labor unions, and opposed tariffs. The conservatives were pro-business and insisted on judicial supremacy. Taft became identified with the conservative wing, while Roosevelt was the leader of the progressive wing.

By 1910 the split was deep. Roosevelt ran for nomination on the Republican ticket but lost to Taft, so in true T.R. fashion, he waved off defeat and set out on his own. Despite rather serious opposition from his many Republican friends, he jumped into the ring with no apparent reason to believe that he might actually lose. In the forthcoming election he did beat Taft, gaining 88 electoral votes versus Taft’s almost non-existent count of 8. In doing so he became the only man in history to place second on an independent ticket. He was slaughtered by Wilson, however, who received 435 votes in the Electoral College and served two terms in the nation’s highest office. A disgruntled Roosevelt retreated to what he loved best, risk and adventure. He traveled to the Amazon jungle, where he ran an uncharted river and nearly perished.

An example of the kerchief resides in the collection of the Smithsonian and is documented in “Threads of History” by Collins, Smithsonian Press, 1979 (item 940, pg. 373). Its unusual format and lack of calico printing makes it a great visual compliment to the traditional, square, Turkey Red cotton bandanas that are more commonly found in this and previous elections. It is of interest to note that a very rare variation of this kerchief exists that includes large depictions of T.R.'s wire rimmed spectacles and toothy grin, flanking the central medallion image in each corner, within the outer border.

Mounting: The kerchief has been hand-stitched to 100% cotton twill, black in color, which was washed to reduce excess dye. An acid-free agent was added to the wash to reduce excess 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 glazing is U.V. protective Plexiglas.

Condition: Excellent. There are a couple of very minor, tiny stains, almost not worthy of mention.
Collector Level: Intermediate-Level Collectors and Special Gifts
Flag Type:
Star Count:
Earliest Date of Origin: 1912
Latest Date of Origin: 1912
State/Affiliation:
War Association:
Price: SOLD
E-mail: Inquire
 

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