Benjamin Harrison and Levi Morton Campaign Bandanna | Includes a Patriotic Shield and Protection Overprint | Circa 1888

Benjamin Harrison and Levi Morton Campaign Bandanna
Benjamin Harrison and Levi Morton Campaign Bandanna
3. Harrison and Morton Campaign Bandanna.jpg
4. Harrison and Morton Campaign Bandanna.jpg
5. Harrison and Morton Campaign Bandanna.jpg
6. Large Distressed Gold.JPG
7. Medium Frames.JPG
8. Large Frames.JPG
Benjamin Harrison and Levi Morton Campaign Bandanna
Benjamin Harrison and Levi Morton Campaign Bandanna
3. Harrison and Morton Campaign Bandanna.jpg
4. Harrison and Morton Campaign Bandanna.jpg
5. Harrison and Morton Campaign Bandanna.jpg
6. Large Distressed Gold.JPG
7. Medium Frames.JPG
8. Large Frames.JPG

Benjamin Harrison and Levi Morton Campaign Bandanna | Includes a Patriotic Shield and Protection Overprint | Circa 1888

from 2,250.00

Frame Size (H x L): 32.75” x 34”
Bandanna Size (H x L): 22.75” x 24”

Offered is a patriotic campaign bandanna for the Harrison and Morton campaign of 1888.  It is made of cotton, and features a patriotic shield with “PROTECTION” overprinted thereon.  The upper portion of the shield includes a plurality of stars, and the lower portion includes vertical red-and-white stripes.  The upper left and lower right corners feature presidential candidate Benjamin Harrison, while the upper right and lower left corners feature vice-presidential candidate Levi Morton.  The image of Morton was based on an engraving by the Atlantic Publishing Company.  A ring is positioned between the shield and the flanking images, and includes an overprint of “FOR PRESIDENT | BENJAMIN HARRISON | FOR VICE-PRESIDENT | LEVI P. MORTION.”  This combination of colors, images, and overprints is one of the best in late nineteenth century campaign textiles.     

Campaign bandannas were initially produced beginning in the first quarter of the nineteenth century, and 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 Harrison and Morton bandanna is documented in the Threads of History.  The referenced example is shown as item 585 and was held in a private collection.  The Threads of History was written by Herbert Ridgeway Collins, who 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. 

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 Conservation Clear Acrylic (standard) or behind Optium Museum Acrylic (per request).

Frame: This offering is in our Large Distressed Gold Frame.  However, it can be reframed and would look great using any one of our Medium or Large Frames, which are shown in the final two images.  The pricing associated with the different framing options may vary.  Reframing of an offering may delay shipment by up to two weeks.  

Condition Report: This bandanna includes fading at its upper left and along its right edge.  In other respects, it is bright and crisp—much more so than most of its counterparts, which are typically faded throughout.

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

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