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    Description

    Theodore Roosevelt White House Fabric U.S. Great Seal. U.S Great Seal fabric/rug fragment from White House West Wing and the Theodore Roosevelt administration, 1901-1909.

    This is a 48" circular, applique, and hand-painted rendition of the 1884 realization of the US Great Seal as designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany. The design appears on one side only. The reverse reveals the outline of the seal executed in a zig zag stitch over a reinforcing gauze, which in turn has been partially cut way. The seal is surrounded by a white circle, the whole fragment having been removed from a larger fabric. The reverse is inscribed on two lines, "Edith C.R. to C.R. FAIRBANKS V.P" and, in cursive "From Oval Office with New Rugs."

    Edith C.R. is a reference to Theodore Roosevelt's First Lady, Edith Carow Roosevelt. She was the first president's wife to engage a social secretary and established the elevated status of the First Lady. She initiated the practice of referring to the President's residence as the White House in lieu of Executive Mansion and supervised the separation of the White House office space from the living quarters. She placed her office next to her husband's in the new West Wing. The name C. Fairbanks refers to Vice President Charles Warren Fairbanks, Roosevelt's presumed successor.

    It is documented that Theodore Roosevelt took an active interest in the symbols of the office, especially the Presidential flags. The fragment is referred to as a "rug" but its applique and painted construction seems unlikely for a floor rug. Photographs of Roosevelt's office do not indicate a "Great Seal" rug. Additionally, from 1902 to 1909, Theodore Roosevelt did not use the oval room in the West Wing as an office, instead utilizing an interior room, the current Roosevelt Room. The room that President Taft turned into the Oval Office in 1909, was a secretary's office during the Roosevelt administration. The exact use for this fabric panel remains unknown.

    This rendition of the U.S. Great Seal represents an opportunity for a collector of U.S. Presidential, Theodore Roosevelt, Edith Roosevelt, C.W. Fairbanks, or White House artifacts.

    Condition: The fragment is in good condition. It is used, and worn with some cracking of the blue paint in the seal's chief and glory, but otherwise complete.

    This flag was formerly in the collection of Dr. Clarence Rungee, and is accompanied by his original museum inventory sheet with identifying information.

    For those who did not receive a hard copy of the auction catalog, we present here the introductory comments and history of Dr. Rungee and his remarkable collection. If you scroll further, you will also find various contemporary newspaper articles, as well as a selection of the many letters of donation and transmittal which accompanied the collection.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2020
    6th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 8
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,444

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