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    Remarkable-content Large 1884 Pro-Cleveland Anti-Blaine Banner One-of-a-kind hand-painted banner. Before the days when large banners could be machine-printed, there was an active trade consisting of sign painters who would produce such banners in demand for political, civic, and advertising purposes. This 1884 piece would be a "last gasp" from that now-extinct trade. This particular banner deals with important issues which to a large extent defined that election. Grover Cleveland, pictured on the left, ran a "Reform" campaign which sought to capitalize on the exposure of over a decade of corruption under Republican administrations, using the slogan "Public Office is a Public Trust." Republican-insider James Blaine was dogged by charges and insinuations of corruption, one of the most serious involving the famed "Mulligan letters." During the 1870s a Democrat-dominated House investigation charged Blaine with a highly corrupt relationship with an Arkansas railroad company. The "Mulligan letters" were widely believed to prove his guilt, but Blaine secured possession of them before they could be placed on record, and he never surrendered them! The matter was resurrected in 1884 by Democrats seeking to differentiate their "reform" candidate from the Republican Blaine. In this election banner Cleveland is pictured demanding that Blaine "Tell the Truth." Blaine kneels before Mulligan and beseeches him to keep silent. At the top is lettered "Two Knights" (apparently meaning Blaine and Mulligan). This was a clear satirization of the chivalrous nickname Blaine's supporters had given him, "The Plumed Knight of Maine." Blaine had actually begun his career as a reformer within the party, but by 1884 his insider status made it all too easy to mock the lofty appellation. This highly-important banner is quite literally of "museum quality"; it could be wonderful if some generous bidder would purchase it for donation to the Smithsonian Institution's collection, which has always emphasized banners of significant political content. The material is medium-weight cotton. Condition is very nice free of damage, but having a few fairly minor small stains as seen in the photo. Size is 50" x 69.5".

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    Auction Dates
    June, 2005
    22nd-23rd Wednesday-Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 0
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 218

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