I always commemorate Presidents Day by remembering all (or many) of our presidents rather than just Washington and Lincoln: different themes each year have yielded interesting perspectives on both the institution and the individuals. This year, for instance, as I looked through several archives of textiles associated with presidential campaigns and commemoration, I was surprised to ascertain a certain focus on William Henry Harrison, not really one of our more notable presidents as he died only a month after swearing his oath. Not being an American historian, I was not aware of the coordinated tactics of the 1840 “Log Cabin Campaign” of Whig candidates Harrison and John Tyler, involving popular symbols (the log cabin and whiskey barrel), slogans (“Tippecanoe and Tyler Too”) and silk banners, which dislodged incumbent Martin van Buren. The bulk of Presidential textiles are banners, ribbons, handkerchiefs and bandanas (along with flags, of course), but I also sought out bolts of fabric which could encourage campaign creativity on the part of the constituency, and which likely ended up in quilts in the nineteenth century and on all sorts of creations in the twentieth–when first Teddy Roosevelt and then Dwight Eisenhower dominated textile tactics. In the 1950s, I believe that you could dress yourself exclusively in “I like Ike” garments: I found hats, socks, dresses, underwear, and all manner of accessories for men, women and children so embellished.
All fabrics (Jackson, Harrison in three colorways, Grant, Cleveland fabric and bandana, TR bandana, and Eisenhower items) from Cornell University’s Collection of Political Memorabilia, except the TR pillow cover (from 1906–commemorating the signing of the Treaty ending the Russo-Japanese War, from the George Washington University/Textile Museum exhibition entitled Your Next President . .. ! The Campaign Art of Mark and Rosalind Shenkman) and the Millard Fillmore and Calvin Coolidge “swatches”, which I created myself via Spoonflower.
February 19th, 2018 at 8:46 am
Great job. You always come up with something appropriate for every occasion by navigating these archives and historical sites.
I particularly like that TR red square (pillow cover?) with the western hat motif. Jolly good.
February 19th, 2018 at 8:47 am
LOVE that! And yes, it is a pillow cover.
February 19th, 2018 at 1:00 pm
[…] via Presidential Fabric — streetsofsalem […]
February 19th, 2018 at 1:27 pm
..again you are out for the very best and the marvelous posting. I always check my email to read more of your writings. Any courses or books you wrote?
February 21st, 2018 at 3:30 pm
Here’s a plea for the also-rans for next year! Names that ring down the ages, such as Charles Pinckney, Lewis Cass, and Alton B. Parker!