100 American Flags: A Unique Collection of Old Glory Memorabilia

100 American Flags: A Unique Collection of Old Glory Memorabilia

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307815798
Publisher: Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony/Rodale
Publication date: 05/21/2013
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 112
File size: 27 MB
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About the Author

KIT HINRICHS is considered one of the world's most influential graphic designers and is partner in the global design firm Pentagram. He has more than 3,000 Stars and Stripes artifacts in his collection, which has been exhibited at the American Institute of Graphic Arts in New York and the San Jose Museum of Art. He lives in San Francisco.

TERRY HEFFERNAN is a nationally acclaimed San Francisco-based photographer noted for his exquisite large-format images.

DELPHINE HIRASUNA is the author of several books, including THE ART OF GAMAN, and the editor of @Issue: Journal of Business and Design. She lives in San Francisco.

From the Hardcover edition.

Read an Excerpt


Copyright © 2008

Delphine Hirasuna
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-58008-920-3

Chapter One The Continental Congress resolved in 1777 that "the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the Union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field representing a new constellation." The Revolutionary War-time haste with which this resolution was written left these graphic elements open to broad interpretation. * Far from being a static symbol, the American flag has been rendered with stars in countless configurations, especially as a new star was added each time a state joined the Union. Not only did the "constellation" vary from circles to rows, gaps were left on the blue canton by practical flag makers anticipating additional stars as more territories earned statehood. * It was not until Congress passed official standards in 1912 that the flag took on a fixed appearance. Still, more than a century without guidelines established a tradition of personalizing the Stars and Stripes, letting it speak not just for a nation, but for an ideal, a value, a way of life. * Over the years, the American flag has been raised high in wartime triumph and peacetime celebration; burned in fervent protest; shown proudly on quilts, pillowcases, and bags; appropriated by commercial interests to sell goods; and honored every Fourth of July to celebrate America's independence. * This range of expressions has fascinated graphic designer Kit Hinrichs, who has amassed a collection of more than five thousand Stars and Stripes objects, from Civil War banners to Native American moccasins. * 100 American Flags provides a glimpse of this spectacular collection and the stories behind each object.


FLAG NO. 1 Centennial Flag

In 1876, a flag maker created this flag to mark the one hundredth anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence and founding of the United States. Although widely known, the banner is not considered an official American flag since it features eighty-one stars instead of thirty-eight, the number of states in the Union at the time.

FLAG NO. 2 Regimental Flag

Upon being disbanded, the 71st New York Volunteer Infantry (also known as Sickles' Brigade) created this thirty-five-star flag to commemorate the major battles of the Civil War in which the regiment participated.

FLAG NO. 3 Assorted Patriotic Pins

Around 1891, two inventions-a machine that could cut faceted glass and an automated metal plating device-made the use of rhinestones affordable for all types of costume jewelry. The perfect accessory for patriotic occasions, rhinestone flag pins of red, white, and blue became the rage by the early twentieth century and have remained popular ever since.

FLAG NO. 4 Crocheted Flag

During World War I and II, even crochet patterns printed in women's magazines featured the American flag and wartime slogans.

FLAG NO. 5 Patriotic Pillow Cover

Crocheting was all the rage in the early part of the twentieth century, reaching its peak around the time of the First World War. Patriotic themes were particularly popular then, since more than four million Americans-over 25 percent of the entire U.S. male population between the ages of eighteen and thirty-one-served in the United States Army during the Great War.

FLAG NO. 6 Stamp Cancellation Mark

The stamp cancellation mark used by the United States Postal Service in the late 1800s depicted a full waving flag. By the late 1920s, the postal service abbreviated the mark to just waving stripes, still used today.

FLAG NO. 7 Postage Flag

During World War II, an unknown artist assembled this flag from postage stamps and cancellation marks on envelopes. The stars in the canton bear the cancellation mark from the capital of each of the forty-eight states that were in the Union at the time.

FLAG NO. 8 Flag Holder

Shaped much like the newel post of a staircase, this flag holder was used by stores in the late nineteenth century to display handheld flags for sale.

FLAG NO. 9 Lady Liberty Flag Holder

The head of the Statue of Liberty, presented to the United States by France in 1886, quickly became a symbol for American values and an apt way for shopkeepers to display the flag.

FLAG NO. 10 The Non-Melting Pot Flag

For the bicentennial, Italian-born designer Massimo Vignelli, who lives in Manhattan, created this flag out of ethnic newspapers published in New York City. Vignelli portrays America not as a melting pot, but instead as a place that tolerates and supports the coexistence of different cultures and opinions.

FLAG NO. 11 Tied-Silk Flag

In the 1930s, an unknown artist created a knotted-grid mat from gold silk thread, then tied and clipped red, white, and blue silk threads in a pattern that formed an image of the flag.

FLAG NOS. 13-24 Patriotic Party Paraphernalia

Noisemakers, party favors, and other objects with Stars and Stripes themes have been a part of every Fourth of July celebration since the country declared its independence from England in 1776. Parade Parasol

FLAG NO. 25 Scout Knife

The Stars and Stripes figure prominently in Boy Scout gear, along with the teaching of loyalty, patriotism, and duty to country. Part of Scout training is the Pledge of Allegiance and the proper handling and respect for the flag.

FLAG NO. 26 Fund-Raising Product

Circa 1930, flag manufacturers would help Boy Scout troops earn money to buy a flag by providing them with a free box of thirty paper flag pins. The scouts would in turn sell the lapel pins for ten cents a piece, raising three dollars per box-enough to buy a 3- by 5-foot cotton flag.

FLAG NO. 27 Needle Case

The top of this needle kit is made with a petit point stitch sewn onto a felt back with a beaded star.

FLAG NO. 28 Penny-Stitch Flag

About the time of the Civil War, thrifty homemakers began using wool scrap threads, sewn onto a wool background, to make decorative coverings and wall hangings. Pennies were used as a circular template, hence the name penny stitch.

FLAG NO. 29 Friendship Kimono

This kimono, with flags of both the United States and Japan, was probably created in 1912, the year that Mayor Ozaki of Tokyo presented President Taft with three thousand cherry blossom trees to be planted along the Potomac as a gesture of friendship.

FLAG NO. 30 Patriotic Flag Dress

With four million Americans drafted into the Army during World War I, patriotic fervor ran high. A mother made this dress for her little girl to wear in a Fourth of July parade, circa 1917.

FLAG NO. 31 Cornhusk Bag

Designed for the tourist trade, this cornhusk bag was made by Pueblo Indians. Over the centuries, the Pueblos mastered the technique of wrapping the inner layer of cornhusks tightly around twine in a false embroidery technique. The husks would be dyed before being woven into bags, hats, and belts.

FLAG NO. 32 Navajo Chevrolet Flag Weaving

After the railroad reached Gallup, New Mexico, in 1882, Navajo weavers were encouraged to create rugs and patterns that appealed to non-Indian buyers. This rug once hung in a Chevrolet dealership in Gallup.

FLAG NO. 33 Woodland Indian Whimsy

Forced into reservations, Native Americans struggled to survive by creating craftwork for the non-Indian tourist trade. Around the early twentieth century, Woodland Indians made small beaded "whimsies" and sold them as souvenirs to tourists at Niagara Falls.

FLAG NO. 34 Beaded Flag Violin Case

This elaborately beaded violin case bears the initials R and B, which stand for the name of its owner, Rubin Bass. The symbolism and style of beading are representative of the work done by Brule Sioux in South Dakota. "Rubin Bass, Elk Falls, Feb. 11, 1891" is inscribed in deer hide on the back of the violin case.

FLAG NO. 35 Lakota Gauntlet Gloves

Gauntlet gloves intended for commercial sales to non-Native Americans often featured realistic images rather than geometric designs. This pair of gloves was made by Lakota Indians during the reservation period that began in the late nineteenth century. The flag and domestic flower design was probably inspired by an image seen in a magazine.

FLAG NO. 36 Cheyenne Flag

Moccasins Moccasins and other items such as armbands, breastplates, and pouches were often elaborately beaded by Cheyenne Indians. These moccasins feature lane or lazy stitch beadwork, a method by which eight or so beads are strung together then sewn tightly onto the animal hide surface.

FLAG NO. 37 Navajo Weaving

This Navajo flag weaving, representing a forty-nine-star grid, was created in 1959 to commemorate Alaska's entry into the Union. Forty-nine-star flags are relatively rare because of Hawaii's statehood the following year, raising the number of stars to fifty.

FLAG NO. 38 Second U.S. Calvary Guidon

Military units would fall into formation behind a guidon, or flag held aloft on a staff. This guidon was made for the Second U.S. Calvary, which fought in the Battle of Gettysburg in the Civil War as well as in Cuba during the Spanish- American War. Printed in 1890, this forty-two-star flag immediately became invalid due to the last-minute admission of Idaho as the forty-third state on July 3, 1890.

FLAG NO. 39 Tobacciana

Between 1890 and 1910, the American Tobacco Trust waged a major marketing campaign to monopolize all forms of tobacco production. The effort gave the American Tobacco Company control of roughly 90 percent of the tobacco production in the United States and Europe by 1903. To woo smokers, the company offered all kinds of premiums, including cigar "felts," cigarette cards, cigar bands, and decorated boxes. A favorite theme was the Stars and Stripes, which appealed to the consumers' sense of patriotism and reminded them that tobacco originated in America, where the best tobacco products were still being produced.

FLAG NO. 40 Presidential Cigar Bands

Thousands of cigar and cigarette brands existed in the early twentieth century. Tobacco companies vied for repeat customers by offering promotional items that they would want to collect, such as this series of presidential cigar bands.

FLAG NO. 41 Victorian Trade Card

In the late nineteenth century, companies distributed decorative trade cards to promote their products. Sewing machine makers often issued cards featuring sweet little girls to imply that the machines made the task so easy that even a child could sew. Women and girls collected these cards to paste in their scrapbooks.

FLAG NO. 42 Fruit Can Label Before Congress

enacted an official code of flag etiquette in 1923, advertisers wrapped their brand image around the flag and all the patriotic values that the public connects to it.

FLAG NO. 43 Patriotic Airplane Livery

The Sopwith Camel-the plane flown by Snoopy in the Peanuts comic strips-is the best remembered military aircraft of the First World War. Its agility in the air accounted for destroying nearly 1,300 enemy aircraft. Produced in Great Britain, the Sopwith Camel was flown by two U.S. squadrons assigned to the British forces, hence the Stars and Stripes design of this model.

FLAG NO. 44 Flag Domino Tiles

The thirty-eight stars shown on the flag on the back side of these domino tiles offer a clue that the set was probably created sometime between 1877 and 1890, the year that five more states entered the Union.

FLAG NO. 45 Stix Puzzle

Flag Stix puzzles helped young children increase their dexterity, identify familiar icons, and use logic to assemble the sticks to recreate the flag. Stix puzzles were available in the flags of many nations.

FLAG NO. 46 Flag Bearer Toy Soldiers

A flag bearer is an integral figure in every set of toy soldiers. Over the centuries, toy soldiers have been cast from metal, carved out of wood, and made from composition (sawdust and glue), and then hand-painted. Among collectors, the flag bearer is highly coveted for the symbolism of his role and the intricate workmanship required to reproduce the flag.

FLAG NO. 47 Mickey Mouse

The American flag and Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse are two of the most recognizable symbols of the United States. The debut of the first Mickey Mouse film in 1928 made the animated character an instant star, with fans seeing the best of America in Mickey's optimism and resourcefulness.

FLAG NO. 48 Bed Doll

Bed dolls were not meant to be children's playthings; rather, they were used as decorative accents. As a result, they were rather large and delicate and were often made of exceptionally fine materials.

FLAG NO. 49 Uncle Sam Folding Fan

Over the years, flag fans have been made in a number of cylindrical forms, including the likeness of Uncle Sam. The body of this Uncle Sam is made of papiermâché and the head is of clay.

FLAG NO. 50 Cigar Cockade Fans

The patriotic cigar cockade fan was introduced at the 1893 Columbian Exhibition in Chicago. This fan style is called "cockade" because when the top of the faux cigar is pulled up, a full 360-degree fan reveals itself.

FLAG NO. 51 Uncle Sam Bank

David and Susan Kirk created this mechanical Uncle Sam bank in the late 1970s. Uncle Sam's eyes recede and his tongue extends to receive the coins. David Kirk is the creator of the much-loved Miss Spider children's book series.

FLAG NO. 52 Homemade Puzzle

Crafted from scrap materials, this homemade puzzle is designed to teach a young child how to match sizes, shapes, and colors.

FLAG NO. 53 Pencil Assemblage

For an American Institute of Graphic Arts exhibition and auction, Texas-based graphic designer Chris Hill created this original piece out of twenty-four hundred red, white, and blue pencils.

FLAG NO. 54 Pencil Box

Uncle Sam and the Stars and Stripes decorate this pencil container designed for schoolchildren.

FLAG NOS. 55 & 56 Tattooed Sailor

Sailor William Ray, who served in the United States Navy circa September 1917, according to the date tattooed on his back, embellished his torso and arms with patriotic images and nautical themes. His tattoo art was photographed and printed as postcards.

FLAG NO. 57 Junior

Mechanics Flag The Junior Order of United American Mechanics, an antiimmigrant fraternal organization formed in Germantown, Pennsylvania, in 1853, centered its symbol-a compass and mason's square framing labor's arm and hammer-amid the flag's canton of stars.

FLAG NO. 58 Twenty-Nine-Star Flag

This twenty-nine-star parade flag from 1847 presents the stars in a medallion configuration with the center star larger than the others. Printed on buckram, the flag was probably produced for use in James K. Polk's campaign for president.

FLAG NO. 59 Army Blanket

On the eve of the United States's entry into the First World War, a soldier whose initials were E. H. embroidered patriotic images on an army blanket for his parents.

FLAG NO. 60 Pearl Harbor Blanket

A mother's grief for a son killed on the USS Arizona in 1941 is expressed on this crocheted blanket, which shows battleships, warplanes, machine guns, and pistols, along with the exact time of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

FLAG NO. 61 Hickam Field Flag

This flag flew over Hickam Field, adjacent to the Pearl Harbor U.S. naval base in Hawaii. The slogan on the flag was the rallying cry in the war against Japan and also was used to encourage citizens to buy war bonds.

FLAG NO. 62 Admiral Dewey Pin

This pin and silk flag featuring a brass bust of Admiral George Dewey commemorated the Navy's Great White Fleet. As president of the General Board of the Navy, Dewey was instrumental in developing a greater naval presence for the United States, including a global voyage of the Great White Fleet in 1907 to demonstrate America's sea power.

FLAG NO. 63 Eagle, Flag, and Shield Label

After defeating the Spanish fleet in the Battle of Manila during the Spanish-American War of 1898, Admiral George Dewey was viewed as a national hero, with his picture even appearing on a whiskey flask. His popularity prompted him to run for president in 1900, but he quickly withdrew his candidacy.


Copyright © 2008 by Delphine Hirasuna. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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From the Publisher

"How can you not savor the flag-embossed poker chips with Uncle Sam as the king, Miss Liberty as the queen and Adolf Hitler as the joker?"
–Washington Post Book World, Inaugural Issue

 "...a little gem of a table-topper, a fine host or hostess gift for any flag-waving friend this holiday."
-Houston Chronicle

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