Sunday, July 3, 2016

The Go To Guy For the Fourth of July

Who do you think of first 

for the 4th of July?

For me that would be

Uncle Sam and his Lady Friend.

Uncle Sam as a patriotic figure

dates back to the War of 1812.

A man by the name of Samuel Wilson 

from Troy, NY, contracted with

the government to provide beef to 

the troops during the war.

The barrels were stamped US, for country of origin,

but folks jokingly began to say the initials stood for

 Samuel Wilson, the meat purveyor. 

Soon the term "Uncle Sam" became

linked with national pride and the US government.

The symbolic character, when illustrated,

was generally featured with a goatee

and wore red striped pants, blue jacket, and a top hat.

As with collecting other holiday pieces,

I found that my collection grew as I came across

interesting pieces that had been hand carved from wood

or sculpted in paper maché or as a cloth doll.

Most basically remain true to the original tall, lean, and lanky

 cartoon character of political cartoonist, Thomas Nast.

I have come to appreciate the different personalities given each 

figure by the artist who created these patriotic guys.

As is often the case with collections, I didn't start out

to collect Uncle Sam figures, but somewhere along the way

they captured my interest and and one led to another.

Like this guy, faded and rather small,

and signed and dated 1940.

I found him at an estate sale along

with a companion piece of a carved army officer.

How I wish I knew the story of the individual who 

carved this wonderful piece of folk art. 

Normally my "guys" are at home

on a set of shelves in a guest bathroom,

but during the summer months they can be found

sitting about in vignettes in our home.

This summer I filled my Nantucket baskets with flowers

and gathered a few of the figures on a wicker tray.

They make a festive centerpiece 

on the dining room table.

I shared a complete post on my collection of Americana

in July of 2011.  You can read more about each of the figures

as well as other Americana I collect here.

My collection is not historically valuable, but simply 

pieces that appeal to me, picked up through the years.

If interested in starting a collection of your own

you might find this book of interest.

THE FOREMOST GUIDE TO UNCLE SAM COLLECTABLES, by Gerald Czulewicz, Sr. Available here at Amazon.

Wishing each of you a Happy 4th of July!