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Framed William Henry Harrison Presidential Campaign Banner

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American Furniture & Decorative Arts - 2444
Date / Time :
February 15, 2009 11:00AM


Framed William Henry Harrison Presidential Campaign Banner, made by W. Howard of Roseville, Ohio, c. July 4, 1840, paint on linen, signed and dated "1840 E.W.H. Roseville O." u.l., with ink inscription on paper above describing the image portrayed: "Battle of Tippecanoe 1811. Express Rider with the news ['Harrison has Whipt the British & Indians'] and the Irish Schoolmaster's exclamation 'Boys do you hear that?' This banner carried in the procession at the Great Harrison Barbeque in Zanesville Ohio July 4th 1840," (imperfections), 24 1/2 x 26 1/2 in., in a later carved and gilded molded wood frame.

Note: This banner is an example from what is considered by historians to be the first modern presidential campaign. Vying for election in the 1840 were William Henry Harrison, the Whig party's nominee, and President Martin Van Buren. The campaign implemented slogans, paraphernalia, songs, parades, barbecues, and image-making. The image being projected for Harrison was that of a war hero and "the log cabin and hard cider candidate," a rustic frontiersman of the common people. The war hero image refers to his experience at the Battle of Tippecanoe, a battle which occurred twenty-eight years earlier in 1811, and Harrison's military victory over a group of Shawnee Indians at a river in Indiana called Tippecanoe; and a victory over the British allied with the Indians at the Battle of the Thames, in Canada, in the War of 1812.

But in fact, after the Battle of Tippecanoe, Harrison had been criticized for his actions at the time. The Shawnee warriors had surprised his troops, and casualties had been high for the soldiers under Harrison's command. As for his "common man" identity, Harrison actually came from a wealthy, prominent family. His father was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and a Governor of Virginia.

Harrison's campaign was a success but his victory was short-lived, for after delivering a two-hour inaugural address on the steps of the Capitol on a very cold day in March of 1841 he developed pneumonia, and died after only one month in office.

A small article headlined "Hurrah for Harrison!" clipped from a probable Zanesville, Ohio, area newspaper sometime before the November 1840 election is affixed at the top right of the banner. According to the article, the banner offered here was carried in a great procession at the barbecue in Zanesville, Ohio, July 4, 1840, where twenty thousand people were assembled. It was also was on exhibition on the stage of the opera house and "will probably figure conspicuously during the campaign, and until 'Hurrah for Harrison' shall be uttered by schoolmasters and all after the November election." It was painted by artist W. Howard, rather rough in execution but aptly illustrating "an incident published in the Harrisonian, a campaign paper of that date, related by a Pennsylvanian in connection with the battle of Tippecanoe, in which he participated."
Estimate $3,000-5,000

Condition: Toning, stains, several pieces of cellophane tape and tape residue on edges. 1 1/2 x 2 in. loss on c.r. edge filled with similar fabric from behind.


William Henry Harrison, Ohio, W. Howard, Shawnee Indians, Express Rider , 4th of July, Whig party, Martin Van Buren, President , cabin and hard cider candidate , Indiana, Thames, after the Battle, Declaration of Independence, Virginia, pneumonia, Zanesville, Harrison family of Virginia, United States presidential election, War