Antique Protection to Home Industries Campaign Bandanna | Circa 1888

Antique Campaign Bandanna - BONSELL | AMERICANA
267. Protection for Home Industries (Framed) (Photo Corrected) - Copy.jpg
267. Protection for Home Industries (Framed) (Photo Corrected).jpg
Antique Campaign Bandanna - BONSELL | AMERICANA
267. Protection for Home Industries (Framed) (Photo Corrected) - Copy.jpg
267. Protection for Home Industries (Framed) (Photo Corrected).jpg

Antique Protection to Home Industries Campaign Bandanna | Circa 1888

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Frame Size (H x L): 30” x 32”
Bandanna Size (H x L): 24” x 26”

Offered is a great, patriotic campaign bandanna for the Benjamin Harrison campaign.  It is made of blue cotton and is covered in stars.  A flowing ribbon extends across its face and states, “PROTECTION TO HOME INDUSTRIES,” a slogan and theme for the 1888 Harrison campaign.  Campaign bandannas were initially produced beginning in the first quarter of the nineteenth century, but became a particularly popular campaign tool in the time period between 1850 and 1920.  Campaign bandannas were worn, presented in store fronts, waved in parades, flown at political rallies, and hung from buggy whips.

An example of this bandanna is documented in the Threads of History, written by Herbert Ridgeway Collins (see item number 645).  The referenced example was held in the Ralph E. Becker Collection.  Mr. Collins was the curator of the Division of Political History at the Smithsonian Institute.  His book is the best reference available for political textile collectors and includes over fifteen-hundred examples, dating from 1775 to 1979.  In writing his book, Mr. Collins sent thousands of letters to collectors, museums, and universities, and requested their assistance in his quest to document every known political textile.  And while we do encounter textiles that are undocumented, they are rare—highlighting how successful Mr. Collins was in his endeavor.   

Harrison was a moderate Republican, and elected the 23rd president in the election of 1888.  Harrison ran against Grover Cleveland, the incumbent President and a Democrat.  Harrison lost the popular vote, but won the electoral vote with 233 electoral votes to Cleveland's 168.  Harrison signed into law the Sherman Antitrust Act in 1890, the first legislation prohibiting business combinations in restraint of trade.  Despite this, many Americans viewed Harrison and the Republicans as being too closely aligned with the wealthy elite, and as wasteful.  Upon Harrison's election, the treasury had a great surplus, but the "Billion-Dollar Congress" spent enormous sums on soldiers' pensions and business subsidies, erasing the surplus.  By 1890, the Democrats recaptured the House of Representatives by a large majority, and in turn, Harrison had little influence on legislation.  In the election of 1892, Harrison lost the electoral vote with 145 electoral votes to Cleveland's 277. 

Conservation Process: This bandanna was hand sewn to cotton fabric, and both were hand sewn to a mounting board.  To prevent the black dye in the cotton fabric from seeping into the bandanna, it was first washed in a standard wash and then in a dye setting wash.  The bandanna is positioned behind a UV resistant acrylic, and spaced apart therefrom using spacers. 

Frame: The frame is gold in color and highly distressed.  

Condition Report: The colors are generally very bright, but there is fading across the upper portion of the bandanna and across the word “PROTECTION.”  This bandanna also has some minor stains.  Despite this, it presents very well and is a statement piece, particularly for those who appreciate American industries and ingenuity.   

Collectability Level: The Great – Perfect for Rising Collectors  
Date of Origin: 1888  

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