1905 - 1910 Presbyterian Ladies Society Patriotic Banner

This is one of two banners or wall hangings made in the late 19th-early-20th century by the Ladies Society of the First Presbyterian Church, New York City, as a fundraising project. The donor referred to them as “Autograph Quilts” as they contain many signatures of prominent political personages of the period. The banners belonged to her husband’s grandmother, Margaret Clarke Goodall Bradley, and were donated in her memory. This banner, made about 10 years after a similarly designed banner, was also raffled as a fundraiser, possibly for a 1919 addition of a chancel to the church. Although she did not win the raffle, it was presented to Margaret Bradley because of “her efforts for the projects.”
Similar in design to an earlier (about 1890) banner made by the same group, it has a black satin ground with an appliquéd American flag made of red silk and white satin ribbon and a printed 46-star flag. Inked signatures of Theodore Roosevelt (president 1901-1909) and his cabinet members are on the flag. The center 6 ¾-inch blue silk circle is embroidered "E PLURIBUS UNUM.” It is surrounded by 47 rays representing 46 states (one ray is empty). Utah and New Mexico had joined the Union since the earlier banner had been made. Made of red and white silks, each ray has the name of a state and inked signature of the governor at that time.
The patriotic center is enhanced with appliquéd and embroidered flags of many nations. Some of these have pencil or ink signatures, over 300 in total. Seven metal rings are sewn to the banner's top edge, an indication that it was meant to be hung. It does not have a lining.
The donor recalled in a letter that she remembered hearing that the quilts and banners were “a money-making project, and all the ladies of the church participated in the assembling of the ‘Autograph-Swatches’ and the stitching and embroidery. The signatures on the flags were probably by members and friends of the congregation, (and possibly charged a small fee for the privilege) and when the quilts were completed they were raffled off.”
Margaret J. Clarke was born December 1858 to John and Matilda McKinney Clarke in New York City. Her parents were born in Ireland. She married Edward F. Goodall on September 18, 1877. He was killed by a train in 1880 and she married Samuel Bradley on February 25, 1885. She died November 21, 1929, in New York.
Margaret's daughter Louise, from her first marriage, married John Gordon Noakes. Their son, Donald Gordon Noakes, married Emilie, the donor. He died in 1948 and Emilie later married John Manley. In 1979 Emilie Noakes Manley gave the quilts to the Museum in honor of the family and Margaret Clarke Goodall Bradley. Another granddaughter, Marjorie Blampied, wrote that the quilts “. . . most certainly are where they belong . . . where they will be treasured and appreciated.”
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Physical Description
fabric, satin, silk (overall material)
thread, cotton, silk (overall material)
overall: 87 in x 106 in; 220 cm x 268 cm
place made
United States: New York, New York
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Government, Politics, and Reform
Family & Social Life
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Textiles
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Emilie Noakes Manley
Additional Media

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