11 Things You Might Not Know About Betsy Ross

Painting depicting the story of Betsy Ross presenting the first American flag to General George Washington, by Edward Percy Moran. Public Domain.

Painting depicting the story of Betsy Ross presenting the first American flag to General George Washington, by Edward Percy Moran. Public Domain.

Today is Flag Day, commemorating the date in 1777 on which the Continental Congress passed a resolution that read: “Resolved. That the flag of the United States be 13 stripes alternate red and white, that the Union be 13 stars white in a field of blue representing a new constellation.” It wasn’t much to go on — which came first, a white stripe or a red one? What shape was that “new constellation”? — and it isn’t really clear whether the legislators intended this new flag to be the flag, or simply a flag. (The resolution came from the Marine Committee.) But this is America, and hey, we never let a little uncertainty stand in the way of a great myth, which is how we come to Betsy Ross. Did she make that flag, or didn’t she? Here are 11 things you might not know about our famous First Seamstress.  Read more »

Behind the Flag: An Interview With Betsy Ross

betsy

I’m sewing for the first time, and it’s with Betsy Ross.

I’m helping Betsy stitch a final ring onto one of the bed curtains she’s been sewing. Or, rather, the linens Carol Spacht and two other women who portray the character at the Betsy Ross House have been sewing. Yes, the women who portray Betsy Ross at her eponymous house actually hand-sew — just like Betsy would have.

Most of the rooms at the Betsy Ross House used to be protected by plexiglass barriers. A few years ago they took down many of the barriers and made a room in Betsy Ross’s house into an actual workshop. For the last year, Spacht and two other women who portray Betsy Ross have been sewing the dressings for Betsy’s bed.

Read more »