Tag Archives: vintage scarf

Celebrating the Bicentennial, a Few Years Early

In 1976 the United States celebrated the bicentennial of the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain.  Any American who remembers that year will tell you it was a very big deal.  And it wasn’t just that year.  People started getting ready for it in the early 70s.

A nice reader from Canada, Sarah, recently sent this U.S. Bicentennial scarf my way.  What makes it really interesting is that the label has the date on it.

Yes, there was a lot of money to be made on history, and it was best to get a headstart.

For those of you unfamiliar with US history (and I hope I’m referring to people outside of the US!)  I’ll identify some of the images.   In the center of the scarf, starting at the top you see Independence Hall in Philadelphia, where the Continental Congress was meeting, and where the signing of the Declaration (and years later, also the US Constitution) took place.

Moving clockwise the big blue blob shows the five members of the committee that was in charge of writing the document.  The tall guy is Thomas Jefferson, who gets most of the credit.  Next is the brave and strong Minuteman, who stood his ground at Lexington:

Here once the embattled farmers stood
And fired the shot heard round the world.

And to the left you see Washington Crossing the Delaware, which led to the Continental Army defeating a lot of holiday-happy Hessians at Trenton, New Jersey in December 1776.  Note the flag, which did not exist until well into 1777!

At the left is Paul Revere, who left Boston to warn the countryside that the British were coming.  Revere got lucky.  Two other guys made the trip that night, but few remember their names because they were not chosen by Longfellow to be in his famously inaccurate poem.

Skipping the drum, the next figure is Molly Pitcher, or  Mary Ludwig Hays, who followed her soldier husband into war (a common practice; someone had to do the laundry) .  In 1778 he was hit while firing his cannon, and Molly, who had been delivering pitchers of water to the fighters, took up his place at the weapon.  She was actually granted a pension by the state of Pennsylvania.

I’m not sure that that thing on the left is.  Any ideas?  The bell is the Liberty Bell, with its big crack.  Historians are pretty sure that the bell was not rung on July 4, 1776, but it may have been rung on the 8th when the document was publicly read.  The crack did not appear until some years later.

I came up empty on information about Selann, but if you want to see a thousand photos of Selena Gomez with a scarf around her neck, just google images “Selann scarf.”

The Banash label says the firm was founded in 1888, which does seem to be the case, as it was  located on Washington Street, Boston, as Banash and Kornfeld, Milliners.

My thanks to Sarah, who gave me this opportunity to put my history teacher’s hat back on for a little while.


Filed under Collecting, Curiosities, Novelty Prints

Ad Campaign – Vera Scarf, 1955

Vera makes a big commotion in jazz… in colors from sweet and low-down to red hot!

Suddenly, it seems, Vera Neumann is everywhere.  You may have read about the latest Target collaboration, which is a grouping of Vera scarves.  The scarves hit the shelves last week, but I did not have a chance to see them until yesterday.  At this point in time, I have no illusions about designer collaborations with discount retailers.  For that reason I was not disappointed by what I found.  I expected cheap poly, and that’s what I got.  The scarves are $19.99, and the designs are lovely.  But a quick look on etsy revealed over 300 vintage Vera scarves for $10 or less, and they are mostly silk or cotton.   This is a case where the vintage version is the clear winner.

image copyright Target.com

The scarves are printed with the signature and ladybug, and there is also an attached label that clearly identifies the scarf as a Target product.

In other Vera news, if you are a Mad Men watcher, I’m sure you noticed that stunning beach cover-up Megan wore in the first episode of this season.  I was sure it was a Vera, and I was right.  Note the Vera signature at the hem, on one of the orange spots.

photo copyright AMC Network Entertainment

And if that does not make you yearn for a sunny day at the coast and a Vera dress, then you are beyond hope.

I spotted a very early Vera scarf at the Liberty Antique Festival, but did not buy it because it was so damaged; it had literally cracked along the lines where it was folded.  It’s been widely written that her first scarves were made of surplus parachute silk after WWII, and this one sure had the look and feel of that type silk.  It was screen-printed with a geometric print in gold paint.   Why it did not occur to me to take a photo, I haven’t a clue.

The very earliest Vera scarves were quite simple in design, and were often screenprinted in just gold or gold and black.  The ad above is from 1953, which was very early in Vera Neumann’s long, fruitful career.


Filed under Advertisements, Designers