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Dig Antiques - Real stuff without the fluff.

May 2012

Memorial Day Brings Out Patriotic Bunting

For as long as there has been war, there have been loved ones placing flowers on the graves of the fallen. Memorial Day as we know it today, was conceived in the shadows of the Civil War. Even before the end of the war, organized women’s groups in the South were decorating graves of the fallen. Together with teachers and missionaries, Blacks in Charleston organized a May Day ceremony in 1865, which was covered by the New York Tribune and other national papers. Hence, the first Decoration Day began during the civil war among freed slaves as a celebration of both black and white Union soldiers who fought for liberation and justice.

Notwithstanding Charleston’s first Decoration Day, the primary source of the holiday is claimed by over two dozen different places. In May 1866, Waterloo NY began a tradition of an annual town commemoration and 100 years later, in May of 1966, President Lyndon Johnson recognized Waterloo NY as the official birthplace. After World War II, the holiday extended beyond the focus of decorating graves of fallen soldiers to include parades.

Even before the Civil War, during the early 19th century, patriotic themes started appearing in all different ways. In 1840, William Henry Harrison first used a red, white and blue flag in a presidential campaign. Women began to include patriotic themes in their quilts during this time period. And, patriotic bunting began to appear as decorations for events and homes.

Antique Patriotic BuntingBunting (or bunt) was a specific type of lightweight worsted wool fabric known as tammy which was manufactured from the turn of the 17th century. Tammy was especially used for making ribbons and flags because the fabric could undergo a hot-pressing process that would give it a high glaze, making it especially suitable for outdoor use.

Early bunting is coarse but has a soft feel to it. Worsted cloth is made from fibers that have been combed to ensure they all run in the same direction and remain parallel to each other. Because the early fabric was made from wool, it is resilient and quickly returns to its natural shape. Worsted cloth that hasn’t been hot-pressed can still end up shiny with use or from rubbing together.

Patriotic bunting can be found in narrow but long pieces that are made with red, white and blue colors and can include stars and stripes. Bunting was used to decorate events such as campaign stops. It was heavily used along parade routes and also used to decorate homes, particularly Victorian porches.

As you celebrate Memorial Day, check out antique patriotic buntings on Dig Antiques–and get ready for July 4th–it’s just around the corner!

Additional Resources:

Memorial Day, Wikipedia.
Bunting (textile), Wikipedia.
Textile Manufacturers in Early Modern England, Eric Kerridge, Manchester Univ Pr, 1985.
Birthplace of Memorial Day? That Depends Where You’re From, Campbell Robertson, New York Times, May 26, 2012.

Memorializing Our Past
Written by Guest Columnist: Lyn Andeen

On Memorial Day, our thoughts go to our beloved veterans of our country’s past.

Memorial Day actually had its beginning after the Civil War with people honoring their fallen heroes.  Since then, it has grown to extend to our fallen heroes from all wars.

Honoring Our PastThere have been many ways that people have chosen to show their appreciation, from decorating graves, parades, memorials, and donning a paper poppy. Today some feel it is another opportunity to have a sale. Somehow this doesn’t seem to be honoring anyone. I see discounts given to the military as a more fitting gesture.

I think all of us collectors honor our past in a very genuine way, by preserving and enjoying objects and their history. Whether these are actual military antiques, or colorful patriotic buntings, or photos and ephemera to everyday items, we honor the memories of those who used them when we appreciate the "wear" of a much loved piece. Although many like their antiques to be in pristine condition, some have always found that those things that have been well used and loved show more of their history.

This Memorial day hoist the flag, don a poppy, and enjoy our forefathers past by preserving and enjoying their well loved objects.

About Lyn Andeen
Lyn Andeen has been an avid collector and dealer for the past 28 years. She has been in group shops, setup at countless antique shows and has a true artistic eye. Lyn's passion is for quality 18th through early 20th century Americana, decorative arts, Shaker and folk art. You can find Lyn online through Andeen Antiques.


Springing into Summer Antiques Shows

June is just about here, which means that the summer antiques show season is poised to launch into full swing! We too are looking forward to exhibiting at and attending many a show over the next few months.

The first show you can find us at it the California Country Antiques Show, which is Sunday June 10 in Los Altos, CA. Tammy Martin is doing a fantastic job having taken over promoting the show from us. We are looking forward to seeing many of you on the West coast at this show...and the rest of you at antique shows on the east coast.

Please welcome our newest Shop on Dig Antiques, Patricia Hersey Antiques. You too can open your own Shop. Learn more here.

Don't forget to join us on Dig Antiques and Shop Antiques and Search for Antiques until you drop! Our website works well from your cell phone broswer too, making Dig Antiques a great resource while you're on the road too.

Tom & Sheila Baker

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