1931: The Dansey Flag

The Dansey Flag.  DHS Museum Collection
The Dansey Flag
DHS Museum Collection

In 1931, the Society cataloged into the collection an extremely valuable historical treasure known today as the Dansey Flag. The flag was originally a Revolutionary War trophy captured by the English Captain William Dansey from a Delaware militia unit a few days before the Battle of the Brandywine on September 11, 1777. The flag returned to England with Dansey and remained in the Dansey family until it was put up for auction and purchased by the Delaware Historical Society by subscription in 1927. The Society also purchased a collection of William Dansey’s original letters at the same time. These letters are available for review in the Society library.

The Dansey Flag is a hand-stitched, plain weave silk militia flag that originally had a green field (now faded to a gold color). The field is undecorated. The canton consists of thirteen horizontal silk stripes of alternating red and white plain weave silk (seven red and six white stripes). The hoist edge is turned and stitched to create a pole sleeve. The 1” fringe along the fly edge was created by removing weft threads from the silk ground and then using a silk thread to whip stitch sections of the fringe. Two passementerie tassels made from interlaced green, blue, and yellow silk hang from green and gold silk cords secured to the upper corner of the pole sleeve.

The Society minutes of 1931 indicate the death of Judge Henry C. Conrad, who was Vice President of the Society at this time.  Conrad,  a former Society president and an avid historian and supporter of the Historical Society in general, had moved to Georgetown by 1931. Although he was often unable to make the trek to Wilmington for official Society business, his colleagues saluted his dedication to the Society throughout the early 20th century.

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