“Betsy Ross” is a signed reproduction of original artwork, by Scott LoBaido,
depicting the original stars and stripes of America with a sepia overlay.
12” x 16” mat poster print.
Hand signed by Scott Lobaido.
Made in USA
The pattern of the Betsy Ross flag is 13 alternating stripes--7 red, 6 white--with stars in a field of blue in the upper left corner (canton). Its distinguishing feature is thirteen 5-pointed stars arranged in a circle to represent the 13 colonies that fought for their independence during the American Revolutionary War.
This flag is known as the Betsy Ross flag because it was originally thought to be the first design of the flag of the United States, named for early American upholsterer and flag maker Betsy Ross.:?107? In truth, this flag would have been unknown at the time of the Revolutionary War according to Grace Cooper, a former flag historian at the Smithsonian Institution. She dates the earliest appearance of this flag as 1792 but with six-pointed stars.
The earliest connection between the flag maker, Betsy Ross, and this flag design with 13 stars in a circle was Charles Weisgerber's 1893 painting, "Birth of Our Nation's Flag." The 9 x 12-foot painting was first displayed at the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago and depicts Betsy Ross with the flag on her lap. In developing his work, Weisgerber was in touch with the descendants of Betsy Ross. He would have needed a design for the flag in his painting. The most likely source of his design is the 1882 edition of History of the Flag of the United States of America by George Henry Preble, a flag scholar in the late 1800s. Preble himself did not discuss the arrangement of the stars on the 1777 design. The book's illustrators, however, did provide a flag design for the 1777 flag. The illustrators may have used the flag design from Emanuel Luetz's 1851 painting, Washington Crossing the Delaware. Consequently, the editions of Preble's book in 1872, 1880, and 1882, all show the 1777 flag as having a circle of 13 stars. It is also possible that Weisgerber used a July 1873 issue of Harper's Weekly Magazine as his source to find out what a 1777 flag looked like. This article published one year after Preble's first edition, showed this flag with the label, "Flag Adopted by Congress, 1777."
Preble states in his 1882 text that no one knows who designed the 1777 flag.
He goes over the evidence provided by Betsy Ross' grandson, William Canby in an 1870 paper to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. He also considers letters from Canby written after Canby delivered his paper. Preble concludes that no stars and stripes flag was in common use prior to the passing of the Flag Resolution in June 1777. As to the actual design including stars and stripes, Preble thinks it may have come from the Marine Committee.
Betsy Ross (1752–1836) was an upholsterer in Philadelphia who produced uniforms, tents, and flags for Continental forces. She was also acquainted with George Washington, having known his wife Martha and also doing sewing for him, making shirts and repairing his uniforms. Because of this, he personally discussed with her the making of a national flag for the new nation. While she agreed with his design wholeheartedly, she did make one change in that, rather than the stars being 6-pointed, they be 5-pointed for as she stated, "A 5-pointed star could be made with one snip". She went on to make the flag, and on June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress, seeking to promote national pride and unity, adopted the National Flag. "Resolved: that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation."
Ross became a notable figure representing the contribution of women in the American Revolution, but how this specific design of the U.S. flag became associated with her is unknown. An 1851 painting by Ellie Sully Wheeler of Philadelphia displayed Betsy Ross sewing a U.S. flag.:?109? The National Museum of American History suggests that the Betsy Ross story first entered into American consciousness about the time of the 1876 Centennial Exposition celebrations.
In 1870, Ross's grandson, William J. Canby, presented a paper to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in which he claimed that his grandmother had "made with her hands the first flag" of the United States. Canby said he first obtained this information from his aunt Clarissa Sydney Wilson (néeClaypoole) in 1857, twenty years after Betsy Ross's death. In his account, the original flag was made in June 1776, when a small committee – including George Washington, Robert Morris and relative George Ross – visited Betsy and discussed the need for a new U.S. flag. Betsy accepted the job to manufacture the flag, altering the committee's design by replacing the six-pointed stars with five-pointed stars. Canby dates the historic episode based on Washington's journey to Philadelphia, in late spring 1776, a year before Congress passed the Flag Act. Ross biographer Marla Miller notes that even if one accepts Canby's presentation, Betsy Ross was merely one of several flag makers in Philadelphia, and her only contribution to the committee's design was the change in star shape from 6-pointed to 5-pointed.:?176?
In 1878, Col. J. Franklin Reigart published a somewhat different story in his book, "The history of the first United States flag, and the patriotism of Betsy Ross, the immortal heroine that originated the first flag of the Union." Reigart remembers visiting his great aunt, Mrs. Betsy Ross, in 1824 during the time of General Lafayette's visit to Philadelphia. In this version, Dr. Benjamin Franklin replaces George Washington. Together with George Ross and Robert Morris, they request that Mrs. Ross design the first flag. The Canby version and the subsequent 1909 book with the Ross family affidavits never specify the arrangement of stars. Reigart, however, describes Mrs. Ross' flag with an eagle in the canton with 13 stars surrounding its head. The cover of Reigart's book shows the 13 stars in a 3-2-3-2-3 lined pattern in the canton.
The circle pattern was again attributed to Elizabeth Griscom Ross in an 1893 painting by Charles H. Weisgerber. The 9 x 12 foot painting was first displayed at the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Weisgerber later helped start the foundation that restored 239 Arch Street in Philadelphia as The Betsy Ross House. Weisgerber promoted the story of Betsy Ross by sending prints of the painting to foundation donors. It was reported in 1928 that he received donations from 4 million children and adults. In 1897, the New York City School Board approved the order of framed prints for all schools in their system.