|38 STAR ANTIQUE AMERICAN FLAG, MADE DURING THE PERIOD WHEN COLORADO WAS THE MOST RECENT STATE TO JOIN THE UNION, 1876-1889, WITH PENCILED INSCRIPTION FROM THE YOUNG PEOPLE'S SOCIETY OF CHRISTIAN ENDEAVOR (YPSCE), EX-RICHARD PIERCE COLLECTION OF AMERICAN FLAGS, ILLUSTRATED IN HIS BOOK "THE STARS & THE STRIPES"
|Frame Size (H x L):||29.5" x 42.25"|
|Flag Size (H x L):||19.75" x 32.25"|
|38 star American national parade flag, printed on coarse cotton. The stars are arranged in justified rows of 7-6-6-6-6-7. This results in a secondary pattern that I commonly call a “box-in-a-box-in-a-box”, because of the way in which the seemingly haphazard arrangement creates three consecutive squares.
A twill cotton header was carefully hand-sewn along the hoist end. This is a nice addition and relatively scarce in period examples.
Colorado became the 38th state on August 1st, 1876. This was the year of our nation’s 100-year anniversary of independence. Per the Third Flag Act of 1818, stars were not officially added until the 4th of July following a state's addition. For this reason, 37 was the official star count for the American flag in 1876. Flag-making was a competitive venture, however, and few flag-makers would have been continuing to produce 37 star flags when their competitors were making 38’s. It is for this reason that 38 and 13 stars (to represent the original 13 colonies) are more often seen at the Centennial International Exposition, the six-month long World’s Fair held in Philadelphia in honor of the event. Some flag-makers would have been adding a star for the 38th state even before it entered the Union, in the early part of 1876 or even prior. In fact, many makers of parade flags were actually producing 39 star flags, in hopeful anticipation of the addition of two more Western Territories instead of one. But the 39th state would not join the Union for another 13 years, when the Dakota Territory entered as two states on the same day. The 38 star flag became official on July 4th, 1877 and was generally used until the addition of the Dakotas in 1889.
Penciled in the white stripe, immediately below the canton, are the initials "Y.P.S.C.E." This is accompanied by a surname in the last white stripe that begins with the prefix "Van", followed by another "V" and an "a", before becoming illegible.
The Young People's Society of Christian Endeavor (YPSCE) was founded Portland, Maine in 1881 by Francis E. Clark, Pastor of the Williston Church. The organization's purpose was to provide a weekly prayer meeting for young people, with the hopes to unite them in a goal to increase mutual acquaintance, activities, and service to God. The concept spread rapidly and wide, reaching as far as Hawaii (still a monarchy) within just 4 years' time.
Vermont businessman, politician, and philanthropist, William James Van Patten (1848-1920), was elected as the organization's first president at the 1885 conference in Orchard, Maine. By this year there were already 15,000 members. Van Patten was an expert in aniline dyes and became very wealthy from their production and application. Active in the Y.M.C.A., he served as the national president of the organization between 1882 and 1889. In 1906 he was elected to the Vermont Senate, where he served one term.
The signature on the flag might read "Van Van Patten." The third letter might be a hastily written "n." The next letter does appear to be an upper case "P," and the trailing letter at the end is conceivably an "n." The Y.P.S.C.E. acronym was written in Roman style block letters by a different hand. It seems that Van Patten may have then signed the flag for the owner as his/her request. Because his initials "W.J." seem to be regularly used when he is referenced, as opposed to his first name, he may have been known more commonly as "Van," hence the repeat in the signature.
As a member of the Sons of the American Revolution and the Society of Colonial Wars in Vermont, Van Patten was obviously patriotic. While Mayor of Burlington from 1894-95, he established Ethan Allen Park. In addition to his 1906 Vermont Senate term, these things seem to explain why he may have been asked to sign a flag. It seems logical to presume that this may have occurred at one of the YPSCE conventions during the 38 star period, which happens to coincide with the 4 years he spent as its president.
In 1952 the headquarters of the YPSCE moved from Boston, where it had been formally established around 1885, to Columbus, OH. Though non-denominational, the organization has been principally successful in Protestant churches and still exists today.
This exact flag was formerly in the collection of Richard Pierce and is featured on page 85 of his text "The Stars & The Stripes: Fabric of the American Spirit" (published by Richard Pierce, 2005).
Mounting: The flag was mounted and framed within our own conservation department, which is led by masters degree trained staff. We take great care in the mounting and preservation of flags and have framed thousands of examples.
The scooped profile molding has a finish that is very dark brown, nearly black, with red undertones and highlights. To this a black-painted and hand-gilded Italian molding was added as a cap. The glazing is U.V. protective acrylic. Feel free to contact us for more details.
Condition: There is a small split in the canton in the upper, hoist-end corner, accompanied by a few pinprick-sized holes in the same general area, and a small hole near the center of the same end, probably from a tack that held the flag to a staff. There is extremely minor foxing and staining and there is minor pigment loss in the red stripes. There is minor fraying along the fly end. Many of my clients prefer early flags to show their age and history of use.
|Collector Level:||Intermediate-Level Collectors and Special Gifts|
|Flag Type:||Parade flag|
|Earliest Date of Origin:||1876|
|Latest Date of Origin:||1889|
|War Association:||1866-1890 Indian Wars|
|Price:||Please call (717) 676-0545 or (717) 502-1281|