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July 4, 2016

24 Alluring Vintage Photos That Capture US Women Making Flags From the Early 1900s

Many of us associate July 4th, Independence Day, with barbecues, picnics and fireworks. But it is also the day when we proudly display the National Flag of the United States. We honor this day by flying Old Glory’s stars and stripes, draping our buildings with American Flag bunting, and outfitting our celebrations in red, white and blue.

Preparing the colors for which gallant warriors are to fight seems to have been an essentially feminine duty which has obtained from very early days. Fair ladies in the Middle Ages embroidered the banners under which their knights fought, and, although flagmaking now is put upon a business basis, it has been the work of women in the United States since the first flag of the country was made down to the present day.

The production of flags has been, and continues to be, highly gendered.

Making flags at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, ca. 1900.

Ironing a flag at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, ca. 1900.

Mrs Margaret McBride and daughters sewing an American flag while sitting on a sofa in a living room, Chicago, Illinois, 1910s.

Birth of the American flag, Washington, D.C., circa 1915.

A child watches as a woman sews a star on a United States flag, 1917.

Flags laid out on cutting table to be sewn by Seamstresses who will make American ensigns during the period of the Great War, 1917.

Women hand sewing an American flag and other flags as a man watches at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, 1917.

Woman cutting stripes for American flags with machinery at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Brooklyn, New York, 1917.

Navy Yard flag shop with women sitting at sewing machines making flags, 1917.

Patriotic old women make flags. Born in Hungary, Galicia, Russia, Germany, Rumania. Their flag-making instructor, Rose Radin, is standing. Underwood and Underwood., ca. 1918.

Claire Windsor sewing the first flag, 1926.

Thelma Todd makes a capable Betty Ross sewing one of the USA's national flag, ca. 1930s.

Evolution of the American Flag as demonstrated in cloth by the members of a Florida WPA sewing project, 1937.

Mrs. Georgeieanna Higgins is responsible for keeping the flag that flies over the Senate wing of the Capitol in proper flapping order, 1937.

Making an American Flag in a South Dakota WPA Sewing Room, 1937.

Women sewing flags, Brooklyn, New York, July 24, 1940.

Woman sewing a signal flag. Early 1940s.

A young woman worker assists in the creation of American flags for military activitities. Philadelphia Quartermaster Corps, 1942.

Verona, New Jersey. Sewing stripes on an American flag at the Annin Flag Company, 1943.

Verona, New Jersey. Sewing the edge of an American flag at the Annin Flag Company. 1943.

A young woman is sewing an American flag. June 1944. Children and two women in the background are watching.

Sewing machine operators sew stars to the blue field on the new 49 star American flags at the Dettra flag making plant, March 2, 1959, Oaks, Pa. At right is plant manager Preston Dunlap. The rest of the workers are unidentified.

The new 49-star American flag is rolling off the assembly lines in ever increasing numbers and the Dettra plant, one of the largest, with a force of 240, is at work filling orders at Oaks, Penn., March 2, 1959.

Mrs. Robert Alexander reenacts the sewing of the first American flag in 1776, with an assist from her daughter Nancy, 1961.



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