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Great Finds

A Banner CDV

October 19, 2019

Political banners were a staple of 19th century political parades and torchlight processions. Ten of thousands were produced, but few have survived. Newspaper accounts of the period sometimes give detailed descriptions of these folk-art banners, as do letters written by eye-witnesses. After the introduction of the carte-de-visite in 1860, examples of such banners were occasionally photographed and sold as political mementoes. We picture just such an item that recently sold on-line. Issued in 1864 by Wood & Cory of Port Jervis, New York, it shows a banner titled “The White House Race”. A rather poor representation of the White House appears on the left. A much more recognizable depiction of Abraham Lincoln appears in the middle, as the driver of a sulky in a two-horse race. The other driver (a poor likeness of McClellan) trails behind Lincoln and figures to be “distanced” as his horse has balked and is sitting on his haunches. The banner was likely used at a pro-Lincoln event in Port Jervis in the fall of 1864 and may have been reported upon by the local newspapers, but a Google search has failed to yield any results. Still a neat piece and an interesting window on an event otherwise lost to posterity.