Liberty Banner, 1790s

Liberty Banner, 1790s

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This rare silk banner was probably carried in a public parade in Philadelphia in the mid to late 1790s. Its elaborate design suggests the importance of such festivals, which provided a place for many Americans, voters and non-voters, to express patriotic sentiments or partisan views on current events.
The banner, mostly likely made by women, is embroidered on both sides, so that it could be viewed as it was carried down the street or hung from a prominent building. The Liberty figure here wears a Grecian garment, carries a pole with a “liberty cap” on it, and nourishes the American eagle—all while standing triumphant over the fallen crown and broken chains of monarchy.
Object Name
date made
Physical Description
silk (overall material)
overall: 55 in x 46 in; 139.7 cm x 116.84 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
See more items in
Political and Military History: Political History, General History Collection
Government, Politics, and Reform
American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith
American Democracy
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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Hello! Just saw this on exhibition in DC today! I embroider, but THIS is something. How was the two sided “flag” achieved? Were their two separate panels attached together? Is the embroidery thread also silk like the base materials? Was a hoop used, to hold the work, while it was being stitched? Would there have been a fringed border and the weight caused it to separate from the silk? I am so intrigued by this piece. Thank you,

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