Update - August 2016

The Federal flag is back!  We are delighted to report that conservation work on the Federal flag belonging to the First Delaware Regiment has been completed, bringing this important preservation project, which began back in 2014 as a way to celebrate the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, to a successful close! This flag went out for conservation treatment in September 2015 and returned to us on July 15, 2016.  

Like the Regimental flag which preceded it to the conservator, this flag is also made of silk and had its own unique set of conservation challenges, not the least of which was many, many tiny fragments, which had to be painstakingly put back into place like a jigsaw puzzle, and a fragmented fringe, which had to be carefully disentangled and arranged in an aesthetically pleasing way.  The completed flag was then also enclosed in a pressure mount frame to keep everything in place and allow the whole flag to be viewed without fear of further damage or lost fragments. We are so happy to have had the chance to preserve these two key pieces of Delaware history for future generations to enjoy.

Federal flag, after conservation, July 2016   Federal Flag, Delaware Historical Society Collection, prior to conservation. Photo courtesy of Steve Boyden.
Federal flag belonging to the First Delaware Regiment,
after conservation, July 2016
  Federal flag belonging to the
First Delaware Regiment, prior to conservation.
Photo courtesy of Steve Boyden.

 

Update - September 2015

The flag is back!  Click here or watch the video below to view the conservation of the regimental flag of the 1st Delaware Volunteers of the Civil War.  Thank you to our many supporters.

Please scroll down to view conservation details.


 

Click here to see a report by Charlie Paparella from Delmarva Life (Travels with Charlie)

 

Update - July 2015

Conservation work on the First Delaware regimental flag is progressing nicely, and, up to this point, has been to the back side of the flag; it was recently carefully flipped over to face the right way for framing.  It has been a careful and painstaking process to get the ingrained creases in the silk fabric of this large flag flattened out and realigned nicely, but we are finally more or less there (see image below). 

While working on flattening out the painting, the conservators made an exciting discovery: It turns out that there is what looks like a manufacturer’s mark on the lower part of the painting that reads, “Hurstmann / Fla…” Yet another interesting piece of information that will further add to the flag’s story!

1st Delaware Volunteer Colors,as seen at the conservators, July 2015

1st Delaware Volunteer Colors,
as seen at the conservators, July 2015

1st Delaware Volunteer Colors, Delaware Historical Society Collection, Photo courtesy of Steve Boyden

1st Delaware Volunteer Colors,
Delaware Historical Society Collection,
Photo courtesy of Steve Boyden

 

Update - April 2015

We are excited to announce that the regimental flag was delivered to the conservator in early April 2015 and the US flag will be delivered when the first flag returns.  Treatments for each flag will take approximately two months to complete.

April 8, 2015_ the regimental flag being removed from storage to start its journey to the conservator's studio April 8, 2015_ the regimental flag being removed from storage to start its journey to the conservator's studio April 8, 2015_ the regimental flag being loaded onto the van to start its journey to the conservator's studio. April 8, 2015_ DHS Staff and members of the "Rally Round the Flags" committee say "Goodbye, and see you soon" to the First Delaware Volunteer Infantry regimental flag.
Left to right, the regimental flag being removed from storage to start its journey to the conservator's studio. Far right: Delaware Historical Society staff and members of the "Rally Round the Flags" committee say “Goodbye, and see you soon” to the First Delaware Volunteer Infantry regimental flag.

 

The flags are being conserved in their present state.  They will not be restored to their original appearance because their tears are part of their history.

The conservation process includes several steps:

- The flags will be humidified so that they can be flattened

- The fabric will be stabilized

- The flags will be installed in pressure mounts, like that of the Society's Revolutionary War Dansey Flag,  that will allow them to be exhibited and transported

 

 

The US colors are 50” wide and 80” long.  The flag was made by Mintzer of Philadelphia, in business from 1818 until shortly after the Civil War.


US flag belonging to 1st Delaware Volunteers, Delaware Historical Society, Photo courtesy of Steve Boyden

US flag belonging to 1st Delaware Volunteers,
Delaware Historical Society
Photo by of Steve Boyden

 

 

 

The flag is silk and has 31 (should be 35 to be accurate) gold stars on a blue canton and the remains of 13 very faded red & white stripes. Some of the original, very discolored, red, white and blue silk fringe remains at the outer edge but most of it is now gone.


Detail marked "Mintzer, maker, Philadephia"

Detail marked "Mintzer, maker, Philadephia"
Photo by of Steve Boyden

 

 

 

The oak staff with brass tips also survives. It has a black-painted banner inscription with a gold border and text that wraps around the staff. Most of the painted text is worn away and only partially legible: ”Presented to [?] [la]dies of Wilm[ington] [?] ...Nati...(n?)...[?].” ”JM Dunn” and ”1 Re” (for First Regiment) are also carved into the staff. There is also an old adhesive paper label with typed text: ”First / Delaware Regiment / John M. Dunn, Bearer.”


Detail of oak staff with "JM Dunn"

Detail, Oak flagstaff with the
initials of John M. Dunn.
Photo by of Steve Boyden

 

 

 


The flag is 59” high and 68” long, and is made of silk

The flag has a dark blue field with a painted state seal at the center and gold silk fringe border.  The words ”Liberty and Independence” are painted in a banner format above the painted seal of the state. The blue and white tassels also survive. This is the earliest known record of the use of the Delaware state flag” (Delaware Public Archives Blog)


1st Delaware Volunteer Colors, Delaware Historical Society Collection, Photo courtesy of Steve Boyden

1st Delaware Volunteer Colors,
Delaware Historical Society Collection
Photo courtesy of Steve Boyden

 

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