36-star US flag


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(NEVADA). Thirty-six star printed U.S. flag. No place: circa 1865. Printed cotton flag measuring 43 by 27 inches, with five-point stars arrayed in a double-medallion pattern with haloed center star; top and bottom stripes red, blue canton extends to the seventh stripe and rests on the eighth [white] stripe. Framed, entire piece measures 51 by 36 inches.

36-star printed American flag commemorating Nevada statehood, the first flag to appear after the Civil War.

Nevada's Civil War past is reflected in the state motto, "All For Our Country, Battle Born." "Although Nevada became a state while the Civil War was in progress, its membership in the Union was not officially recognized by Congress until July 4, 1865, several months after the war was over" (Druckman & Kohn, 56). However, 36-star flags were officially issued to Army regiments that required new flags; the flags used officially for Lincoln's funeral in April 1865 were 36-star flags. This flag was official until 1867, when a star was added for Nebraska; Andrew Johnson was the only president who served under this flag. "The United States expanded rapidly during the second half of the 19th century as new states joined the union…. Until 1912, no regulation governed the arrangement or uniformity of the stars" (Pierce Collection, 9). "The 36-star flag, which became official on July 4, 1865, typically contained five rows of stars" (Leepson, 94). The flag offered here instead has stars arrayed in a double-medallion or wreath pattern, with the haloed center star representing the new state. "The noble classicism of the great 'medallion' flags is serenely timeless, transcending purely national connotations by virtue of superlative design merit" (Mastai & Mastai, 160). Given its condition, this flag was obviously flown for an extended period of time, causing soiling and light wear. This flag was likely purchased to either celebrate the end of the Civil War or to mourn the death of Lincoln, or both. See Keim & Keim, 128; Mastai & Mastai, 118-121; Pierce Collection, 18.

Flag shows light soiling and some offsetting of red dye to the top and bottom of the canton and the sixth through eighth and tenth stripes, indicating that the flag was folded while damp. It has some small tears, notably to the red 11th stripe, typical of a flag flown outside for some time. A lovely example of a double-medallion flag.

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