November 19, 2020 10:00 AM EST Cincinnati


48-Star Flags Celebrating Gettysburg Reunion and Illinois Women's Relief Corps

Lot of 2 flags. Printed flag on cotton, 6 x 10 in. Stamped overprint: "Gettysburg / Blue And Gray Reunion / 75th Anniversary Battle of Gettysburg 1938. Ca 1938.

The 75th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, the Blue and Gray Reunion, was held July 1-4, 1938. This was the last Civil War reunion and the only time in history when the major veterans’ organizations were assembled on a national stage. All living veterans of the Civil War received formal invitations to the event and were given free railroad passage. A special souvenir medal was struck for the occasion and presented to each of the 1,359 Union and 486 Confederate veterans in attendance.

Pennsylvania’s Governor George Earle welcomed the veterans to the reunion. Other speakers included Secretary of War Harry Woodring, GAR Commander in Chief Dr. Overton Mennet, and UCV Commander in Chief General John Claypool. A lavish parade followed that was described as seven miles long and moved with clock-like-precision.

The lasting contribution of the reunion was the dedication by President Franklin Roosevelt of the Eternal Light Peace Memorial on the Gettysburg battlefield before a crowd of 450,000 visitors. Roosevelt spoke of the sacrifices, healing of wounds, and peace, but most strongly invoked the memory of Abraham Lincoln who chose the dedication of the Gettysburg Cemetery to deliver his famous address in November 1863.

Printed flag on silk, 4 x 6 in. Staggered star pattern. Vertical stamped overprint: "America 31 Department of Illinois W.R.C. Buffalo – NY." Ca 1897.

The Women’s Relief Corps was founded as an auxiliary of the Grand Army of the Republic in Denver in July 1883 and incorporated by an act of Congress in 1962. Organized into state and local chapters, the WRC was established to care for disabled veterans and to see to the needs of Civil War widows and orphans. By 1896 the WRC had grown to 140,300 members, reaching almost every state in the union. The society maintains a national headquarters and museum in Springfield, Illinois.

Flag commemorates attendance by members of the America 31 Chapter, Chicago at the Fifteenth National Convention of the Women’s Relief Corps held at Concert Hall, Buffalo, New York. At the time, the Department of Illinois was third in membership and exhibited strong influence nationally within the WRC.

Provenance:J. Richard Pierce Collection of American Parade Flags


Gettysburg flag: very fine condition. Professionally mounted using stitch on board. 

Relief Corps flag: scattered fabric separation. Stain in top right corner. Toning to flag. 

Estimate: $400 - $600
Price Realized Including Buyer's Premium

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