Object Name: Kerchief
Dimensions: Overall: 30 x 30 in. ( 76.2 x 76.2 cm )
Place made: North America, U.S.A., Philadelphia
Description: Cotton block-printed kerchief with a portrait of George Washington on horseback in center medallion, surrounded by an inscription and flags and cannons; floral border; red ink on a white ground.
Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. J. Insley Blair
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Object Number: 1952.63
Marks: printed: around medallion: "GEORGE WASHINGTON, ESQ. FOUNDATOR AND PROTECTOR OF AMERICA'S LIBERTY AND JNDEPENDENCY"
Likely printed by Philadelphia calico printer John Hewson, this kerchief was long believed to have been made at the personal request of Martha Washington in 1775. The reference to "America's Independency" indicates that the kerchief may have been printed shortly following the Declaration of Independence, while the absence of the official Stars and Stripes flag suggests a date before July, 1777. The kerchief has been described as an early attempt by George Washington at "image" management.
Ramirez, Jan Seidler. "A History of the New-York Historical Society." The Magazine Antiques 167 (2005): 138-145.
"Campaigns on Cotton," New-York Historical Society, June 22-November 3, 2004.