48 Star Flag with no marking to identify it...

Discussion in 'Flag Identification and Collecting' started by yarnwoman, Jul 13, 2009.

  1. yarnwoman

    yarnwoman New Member

    I bought this flag at an estate sale. The gentleman whose house it was served in the Korean War at HeartBreak Ridge. I know from pictures I bought at the sale that he was there until some time in 1953. The people running the sale said that this flag had been with his Korean War pictures. There are no stamps of who made the flag anywhere on it. I teach 8th grade history (Civil War to the present) and would love to be able to try to figure out who made this flag.

    <a href="DSCF1533.jpg picture by caking1965 - Photobucket" target="_blank"><img src="http://i325.photobucket.com/albums/k400/caking1965/DSCF1533.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    <a href="DSCF1532.jpg picture by caking1965 - Photobucket" target="_blank"><img src="http://i325.photobucket.com/albums/k400/caking1965/DSCF1532.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    <a href="DSCF1534.jpg picture by caking1965 - Photobucket" target="_blank"><img src="http://i325.photobucket.com/albums/k400/caking1965/DSCF1534.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    <a href="DSCF1535.jpg picture by caking1965 - Photobucket" target="_blank"><img src="http://i325.photobucket.com/albums/k400/caking1965/DSCF1535.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    <a href="DSCF1536.jpg picture by caking1965 - Photobucket" target="_blank"><img src="http://i325.photobucket.com/albums/k400/caking1965/DSCF1536.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    Thank you for any help you can give me.
  2. CultureGeek

    CultureGeek Member

    Well, I am not a vexillologist but, as an avid collector of vintage clothing, I know a few things about textiles and I also know a bit about historical archaeology that may be relevant.

    From what I can see in the pictures, the construction does not appear inconsistent with the context, and its condition is plausible for a 1950s flag as well. What would be inconsistent (and maybe not distinguishable from the photo) would be serging, which you really don't see on midcentury textiles. For an example of what serging looks like, turn a new article of clothing inside out and look at the seams. Serging is that zigzag stitch that you see. It is used to finish seams without using a .5" minimum seam allowance (it is, in my opinion, no substitute, but I digress). I did not see any. Other than that, unless you see a union label, I cannot tell you any more.

    Now, how is historical archaeology relevant to this? Historical archaeologists almost always work exclusively with things that they dug up from under the ground, but take a look at this blog* for some exciting new ideas about context. Do you still have the photographs and letters? Do you know the deceased's name (you don't need me to tell you how to look up military records or go through a letter archive)? Were any of the family members you talked to alive at the time of the Korean War?

    Other than that, one of the things about historical archaeology is that conclusions about particular artifacts tend to be probabilistic rather than certain. You are, no doubt, familiar with the problems that you run into with historiography, and oral accounts are no less biased. I would look at all the evidence and go with the conclusion that seems most probable on balance. If you believe what the family said the flag is probably from that time-- I have seen nothing to indicate otherwise. If you have the papers, take a look at them and you don't need me to tell you how to do that. I doubt that it is possible to be sure that it was found with the Korean War pictures, let alone that it was related to his service. Given my lifelong pacifism, I will defer to other posters on any relevant questions of military custom but I see nothing indicating to me that it could not be somehow related to, or at least contemporary with, the Korean War.

    I hope that this was useful or at least made some kind of sense.

    *I am writing a paper in which I say that the blog raises questions about what constitutes historical archaeology but I will restrain myself from a long digression about vintage clothing sellers, Foucault's "subjugated knowledge," and Willie and Phillips's famous statement that "American archaeology is anthropology or it is nothing." I won't bore you any more than I am probably already doing.
  3. yarnwoman

    yarnwoman New Member

    Thank you! Actually nothing you said was boring. It was actually very interesting. Yes, I do know the the gentleman's name and will see what I can figure out. There is no union label that I can find and no serging.

    Thank you for your help.

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