This rare flag is an
early and fine homemade example of the Betsy Ross
pattern 13 star flag. It's difficult to precisely
date flags such as this because of its homemade
qualities. It certainly dates to at least the
early 20th century, and most likely to the end of the
19th century. Further analysis at the textile
level of the wool and thread is necessary for a more
definitive dating of the flag. What is certain,
though, is that the workmanship is exceptional and the
flag itself is a very beautiful, early and scarce
example of the Betsy Ross pattern. The canton and
stripes of the flag are made of a fine woven wool
bunting, with the canton being two pieces stitched
together. The entire flag is hand sewn. The
flag maker chose to use colored, matched threads for the
stitching, using the appropriate color in the
appropriate areas to match the stitching to the fabric
being stitched, resulting in "hidden" seams.
stars of the flag are beautifully hand embroidered.
The flag maker took
the approach of making each of the stars separately, by
first embroidering them onto a piece of white fabric,
and then carefully
hand stitching the embroidered stars to the front of the
placement of the stars is haphazard, with some of them
nestled together and others with space between them.
The silvery silken
thread used for the embroidered stars is beautiful
and eye catching,
and causes the stars to shine even in low light.
The flag itself is very small, just 19" by 30", which
makes it one of the smallest entirely hand sewn antique
flags that I've ever encountered. It is in
remarkable condition, and was found in a home in Maine
several years ago during an estate sale. Early
homemade flags in the Betsy Ross pattern are exceedingly
rare, and this is a very fine example that demonstrates
outstanding workmanship in its construction.