View Full Version : Flag question......if, I can trouble you?

Laura K
12-04-2008, 03:59 PM
My Ladies Aid society unit is struggling with a banner question.

Our unit banner is plainly lettered in black magic marker on an unpainted canvas background, about 2.5'x3.5' hanging from a rough square dowel and twine. The more I look at it, the more farby it looks to my eyes, esp for a Ladies Aid Society.

I want to create an official banner of silk for "permanant encampments". It would have a dark red backgound, inside of which there would be an encircling border of appliquéd dark green laurel leaves, and wheatgold silk framing black block printed lettering. It would be hung from a wrought iron dowel with wrought iron finials.

I had planned to also make a "field station" banner of plain duck. It would follow the same color scheme above, but use oil paint and be hung with a round dowel and simple wood finials.

There is one person in the unit who does not want any change to the original canvas banner. She is very vocal and a bit emotional about her attachment to the orignal banner. However, the unit comander assigned me to fix the farby banner as I'm the official unit seamstress, and I want to do it right.

I argue that this was an age where banners and flags had a great deal of sentimental attachment and pride, and would have gotten the best of fabrics and skills. I also point to the numerous examples of preserved flags of that era, very often made of silk, and elaborately quilted, appliqued and embroidered. I also argue that a Ladies Aid Society would have access to the finest sewing skills and would certainly not have settled for canvas inking over a display of sewing skills.

None of these arguements move this worthy lady. Her taste is for simplicity and primitiveness of the current banner. I'm loathe to further offend her......

Am I on the right track, or is this just not worth the work and fuss?

12-04-2008, 04:03 PM
I definitely think you're on the right track. Perhaps if she was offered the old banner has a keepsake, she would be less upset about the change.

12-06-2008, 02:47 PM
How about going over the areas done in magic marker with black fabric paint?

12-07-2008, 12:25 AM
And ask her to help with the new one.

Regiments that got new colors kept the old ones in reserve. Some of the flags that found their way into museums were "reserve" flags sent "home" so they wouldn't get lost. The 12-star silk flag of the 6th SCVI is believed to have been preserved that way when it was sent home to Col. Bratton's wife after the regiment got a new issue bunting flag sometime after 2nd Manassas. But they could also be kept with the colonel's baggage. Federal officers were very suspicious of claims of captured colors right before Appomattox, believing some of the Confederate colors came not from the unwilling hands of a standard bearer but from a box in a wagon....

You can keep your old banner in reserve the same way. That maybe mitigates the sting a little? People's pride is a touchy thing to work around sometimes.

Laura K
12-15-2008, 01:54 PM
there's no disagreement that the banner needs to be fixed?

The comments above are really about how to appease this worthy lady. Believe me, I've already tried all of your excellent suggestions on how to do that. Sometimes, it just can't be done.

However you all think my plans will replace a farby banner with one that is significantly more true to the period, then I will risk the bruhaha in the hen house. :eek:

12-15-2008, 04:22 PM
I'd say you'd be better off seeking the consensus of the group before investing yourself in the project. It could be enlightening and you could learn things from it. If they think it's more important not to go against this lady than to have a historically plumb banner, perhaps you've misjudged more than just her. Scary thought, but it's a wide world and believe me you can find people who think like you do.

This is a road a lot of us have traveled already, with mixed results. It boils down to reconciling your goals with group goals. Sometimes it's no big deal, other times you find out the organization exists for fine reasons that have nothing to do with your goals.

Let us know how it all turns out. We can commiserate if things go badly. :)

Curt-Heinrich Schmidt
12-15-2008, 05:18 PM

With an apology to President Lincoln...

You can please some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not please all of the people all of the time.

IMHO, sometimes it comes down to good old fashioned "democracy" in that the majority vote wins.
And when you try to please everyone, you often end up pleasing no one.

Change can be harder for some folks than others. She will come around in time.. or not.

Others' mileage will vary...