Theodore Roosevelt Banner with an Exquisite Portrait Image in Rough Rider's Garb For Sale
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Theodore Roosevelt Banner with an Exquisite Portrait Image in Rough Rider's Garb


THEODORE ROOSEVELT BANNER WITH AN EXQUISITE PORTRAIT IMAGE IN ROUGH RIDER'S GARB, COPYRIGHTED BY GEORGE ROCKWOOD (INVENTOR OF THE CDV), PRINTED IN BOSTON; ALMOST CERTAINLY MADE FOR USE ON THE 1900 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN, DURING WHICH T.R. MADE 673 STUMP SPEECHES IN 24 STATES; THIS EXACT TEXTILE IS THE PLATE EXAMPLE FROM "THREADS OF HISTORY" BY COLLINS: Cotton banner, printed in deep blue ink, with a highly detailed portrait engraving of Theodore Roosevelt. Show here in Rough Rider's garb, the image of the future president was expertly rendered by enlarging the head and shoulder portion of a exquisite photograph, taken by George G. Rockwood. Below the right breast pocket is a signature that reads "Rockwood. N.Y. Copyright 1900." This was the year when Teddy agreed to run for vice president on the Republican ticket, with incumbent President William McKinley. At this time in American history, it was still considered relatively unbecoming of a gentleman for the presidential candidate to boast of himself in campaign speeches. It wasn't until 1840 that presidential candidates really began to campaign at all, at least outwardly. By 1900, circumstances still hadn't reached what they have become in modern society, and it was generally considered the job of the vice presidential candidate to get on the stump and appeal to the masses. Roosevelt didn't want to be Vice President, but succumbed to the pressures of his party and his own aspirations for the White House. When he signed onto the task, he threw himself into it with all of the gusto that one would expect of the man who led the charge up San Juan Hill. He travelled by rail through 24 states, conducting a “whistle-stop” campaign from the rear of a railroad train. Covering 21,000 miles, he paused along the route and gave no fewer than 673 speeches. In 1900, on the heels of the Spanish American War (1898), if Roosevelt wasn't the most popular man in America yet, he high on the list and soon to seize the title. Large in scale, extremely rare and visually compelling, this is a gem among known T.R. textiles. Banners such as this would have been acquired and hung to welcome the future Vice President and President as he proceeded from town to town. A similar image, though not showing him in military dress (printed on either cloth or paper), actually survives in a period image, hung on the front of a locomotive. In 1901, following the assassination of William McKinley at the Pan American Exposition in Buffalo, Theodore Roosevelt ascended to the nation's highest office. Elected again to the presidency in 1904, he served four more years. Vowing never to run again, he changed his mind and did so in 1912, and lost, though in doing so became the only independent presidential candidate to beat a major party opposition in the popular vote (former fellow Republican William Taft, who achieved 23.2% versus Roosevelt's 27.4%, to put Democrat Woodrow Wilson in the White House with a 41.8% plurality). This exact banner serves as the plate example for the book “Threads of History: Americana Recorded on Cloth, 1775 to the Present", by Herbert Ridgeway Collins (1979, Smithsonian Press), item 825, p. 333. Collins was the Smithsonian's Curator of Political History. I know of one other copy of the textile, in poor condition, and another that is closely related to it, but with different coloration. Both are privately owned. George Gardner Rockwood (b. Apr. 12th, 1832, Troy, NY, d. Jul. 10, 1911, Lakeville, CT) was an inventor and photographer who spent time working as a printer. He was the inventor of the Carte de Visite (CDV) photograph and eventually became photographer to the stars. Rockwood attended private school in Saratoga Springs, NY, and while there met Samuel Morse, who invented the telegraph and would become an inspiration for Rockwood's future achievements. He took up photography in St. Louis around 1853, moved to New York City in 1857, and went into business with his brother, Elihu. In 1858 he invented the CDV. Shortly thereafter the nation was at war. George became a Civil War photographer, while Elihu enlisted with the Army, eventually achieving the rank of Colonel in the 10th Massachusetts Infantry. Through their wartime experiences, both men retained close military ties. George's first CDV of a woman was Ava Belmont. His studio shot more than 350,000 portraits, among which were the most prominent individuals of his time, including Teddy Roosevelt. The studio had several locations, all right in the neighborhood where T.R.'s grandfather, Cornelius Van Schaack Roosevelt, owned most of the real estate. In 1900, Rockwood Studios was actually located in the Roosevelt Building. Constructed in 1894, and the family's most ambitious real estate project to date, this was located at Broadway and 13 Street, just one block from Cornelius' 14th Street mansion and 7.5 blocks from Teddy's birthplace. It was in this studio that Rockwood met and befriended many famous individuals. Continuing to develop new techniques, he actually received an honorary Ph.D. from Columbia University, late in life, for his contributions to the arts. John Henry Bufford (b. 1810, d. 1870) entered the printing business in 1829, working as an apprentice, independent contractor, and manager, in a combination of Boston and New York, before establishing his own business as an engraver on copper and lithographer sometime around 1844. Some of his first published works were views of Boston, published around 1850, and he became particularly well known for his illustrations on sheet music. He also published numerous patriotic and military views. Bufford maintained studios at 204-206, then 260, then 313, then 490 Washington Street, Boston, with receipts that read: "J.H. Bufford Practical Lithographer". Following his death, sons Frank G. and John Henry, Jr. continued the business. By 1879 they were operating as "J.H. Bufford's Sons from 141-147 Franklin Street, Boston, as "Manufacturing Publishers of Novelties in Fine Arts." Between 1881-1882 it is reported that they expanded to both Chicago and New York, where they may have come in contact with the Rockwood Studio. As I was unable to discover a NY address, the location may have simply been an office from which salespersons took on work. By 1900 the name had evidently changed to Bufford Sons Engraving Company. This is how the name appears on the Teddy Roosevelt textile, below the left breast pocket. Mounting: The flag was mounted and framed within our own conservation department, which is led by expert staff. We take great care in the mounting and preservation of flags and have framed thousands of examples. The black-painted, hand-gilded and distressed molding is Italian. The glazing is U.V. protective plexiglass. Feel free to contact us for more details. Condition: There is minor to modest foxing throughout, but the overall condition is excellent. Frame Size (H x L): 52" x 41" Flag Size (H x L): 39.5" x 29.25"


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  • Dimensions
    H 39.5 in. x W 29.25 in. x D 2.5 in.H 100.33 cm x W 74.3 cm x D 6.35 cm
  • Seller Location
    York County, PA
  • Seller Reference Number
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About the Seller

5 / 5
1stdibs seller since 2008
Located in York County, PA
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