Betsy Ross and the Flag

Discussion in 'American Flag History' started by 13Stars, Jun 11, 2012.

  1. 13Stars

    13Stars New Member

  2. csaanv

    csaanv Member

    President Woodrow Wilson when asked his opinion of the story. He replied, "Would that it were true!"
  3. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    It looks like the information on that site was paraphrased (without attribution) from this one:

    Historic Analysis

    which is a rather unconvincing series of "straw man" arguments. To take the first one as an example: the issue isn't whether Ross or Canby deliberately fabricated the story. Nobody seriously believes that they did. The issue is that memories become distorted over time, and that stories change as they are retold to others. The account we have is based on what an 11-year-old boy remembered hearing from his grandmonther, who, in turn, was describing from memory events that had occured more than a half a century earlier. As historian John Bell has pointed out in his excellent Boston 1775 blog (Boston 1775), there are many other examples of such "grandmothers' tales" that place the teller's ancestors in the middle of famous historical events, and involve historical personages such as Washington.

    I had the opportunity to read some of Canby's correspondence at the American Antiquarian Society a few years ago. He came across (to me) as an honest man who sincerely believed what he was saying, but realized that there was no real evidence to support it. Since his time, there has been quite a bit of research on biographical memory, which seems to confirm the fact that memory alone is very prone to distortion.

    Peter Ansoff

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