Obverse - edit
Obverse - edit

Obverse - edit



Canton +, Vertical

Canton +, Vertical

Canton - Vertical edit

Canton - Vertical edit

Image of Opening Day showing flags

Image of Opening Day showing flags




U.S. 36 Stars Flag - Brooklyn Bridge.

Sub-collection: Mastai - Early American Flags

36 Stars U.S. Flag, re-used at opening of Brooklyn Bridge.
On May 24, 1883, President Chester Arthur and New York Governor Grover Cleveland participated in the ceremonial opening of the Brooklyn Bridge. The Brooklyn Bridge was the first bridge to be built across the East River linking New York City and Brooklyn. The bridge, at that time the longest in the world, was an engineering marvel, utilizing numerous construction techniques that had never before been attempted on such a massive scale.

For the opening ceremony, elaborate preparations were made which were intended to awe the viewers and make them feel proud to be New Yorkers. Schools and businesses were closed for the whole day in Brooklyn, while Manhattan had a half-holiday. Both cities were decorated with flags and banners. The bridge's central pedestrian walkway, over which the dignitaries strolled, was flanked with United States flags. The opening ceremony was attended by several thousand people and many ships were present in the East Bay for the occasion. Further festivity included the performance of bands, military reviews, and salutary gunfire from ships. On that first day, a total of 1,800 vehicles and 150,300 people crossed what was then the only land passage between Manhattan and Brooklyn. Emily Warren Roebling was the first to cross the bridge. Fireworks displays lasted far into the night. Thousands more watched and cheered the ceremony, procession and fireworks.

Originally referred to as either the New York or Brooklyn Bridge or as the East River Bridge, it was first dubbed 'the Brooklyn Bridge' in a January 25, 1867 letter to the editor of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, and formally so named by the city government in 1915. One contemporary Brooklyn ship-owner wagged, "Babylon had her hanging gardens, Egypt her pyramids, Athens her Acropolis, Rome her Athenaeum; so Brooklyn has her Bridge." Since its opening, it has become an iconic part of the New York skyline

This 36 Star flag was there. It is a wool, machine-sewn, with muslin double-applique stars, with a two-piece blue wool bunting canton; the canton, wool bunting stripes and canvas heading are all hand-sewn; the heading is finished with two brass grommets and the ink inscription 5/24/83 FOSTER/Opening of the NY & Brooklyn Bridge.

This flag bears all the hallmarks of a flag made in the closing part of the American Civil War era; namely a combination of hand and machine sewing and a header finished with brass grommets, a feature introduced for widespread use in flags during that conflict, when huge quantities of flags were made and used. Nevada was the 36th state; admitted in October of 1864, the 36 star flag became official on July 4th 1866, and was used until 1867. Sufficient quantities of the 36 star flag were made that they were often put to use as both decorative and political flags, even after the star count was outdated by the admission of Nebraska as the 37th state.

Weather this flag was simply an outdated flag put to use as a decoration on the Brooklyn Bridge, or a treasured memento of the Foster family, who carried it on the opening day of the Brooklyn Bridge, has been lost to history; a history of which this flag is now a silent witness.

This 36 star flag was formerly part of the acclaimed collection of noted antique dealer Mr. Boleslaw Mastai and his wife Marie-Louise d'Otrange Mastai, formerly of New York City, and later Amagansett, Long Island. Their collection was the result of fifty years of collecting, research and study by the late husband-wife team. Mastai, started collecting in the mid 20th century and amassed to greatest private flag collection in the United States; which he detailed in his ground breaking book The Stars and The Stripes; The American Flag from Birth of the Republic to the Present, published by Alfred Knopf, New York 1973, and was hailed as a revelation of the American Flag as art and as social history. This flag is depicted on page 229.

This flag is included with a period hemp rope.

Exhibition history:

flew at opening of Brooklyn Bridge.

Publication history:
Depicted in Mastai (1973), p. 229.
Depicted in American Flags, p. 58.

• Acquired by Foster family, New York, NY.
• Displayed at Opening of Brooklyn Bridge, 1883.
• Acquired by Mr. & Mrs. Boleslaw & Marie-Louise D'Otrange Mastai, New York City, and Amagansett, NY, The Mastai Collection, until 2002.
• Sold via Sotheby's Auction in New York City to the Zaricor Flag Collection, 2002.

ZFC Significant Flag


Mastai, Boleslaw and Marie-Louise D'Otrange, The Stars and The Stripes: The American Flag as Art and as History from the Birth of the republic to the Present, Knopf, New York, 1973.

Opening Ceremonies, Opening Day Celebration , 11 November 2011. From: http://mapsites.net/gotham/webpages/gabbyl/opening.htm

Brooklyn Bridge, Wikipedia, 11 November 2011, from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brooklyn_Bridge

36 Star Flag - (1865-1867) (U.S.), Flags of the World, 11 November 2011, from: http://flagspot.net/flags/us-1865.html

Image Credits:
Zaricor Flag Collection

Opening Ceremonies, Opening Day Celebration, 11 November 2011. From: http://mapsites.net/gotham/webpages/gabbyl/opening.htm

Hoist & Fly

Width of Hoist 49
Length of Fly 83.5


Width of Union/Canton 25
Length of Union/Canton 28.5


Comments on Star Measurements 6-6-6-6-6-6 horizontal rows
Size of Stars 2.5


Width of 1st Stripe 4.5
Width of 3rd Stripe 4.5
Width of Last Stripe 5
Size of Hoist 1.5


Is it framed? no


Number of Stars 36
How are the stars embeded? Machine Stitched
Are there stars on obverse? yes
Are there stars on reverse? yes
Star Pattern 6-6-6-6-6-6 horizontal rows


Number of Stripes 13
Color of Top Stripe Red
Color of Bottom Stripe Red
Has a Blood Stripe? no


Nation Represented United States


Fabric Wool
Comments on Fabric Stars are cotton.


Stitching Machine


Type of Weave Plain


Comments on Method of Attachmen Rope inside storage box.
Method of Attachment Headings & Grommets


Applique Sides Single Faced = Mirror Image Reverse


All original documents and drawings are held in the Zaricor Flag Collection Archives.
All original documents and drawings are held in the Zaricor Flag Collection Archives.
Research Documents
All original documents and drawings are held in the Zaricor Flag Collection Archives.
Public Copy & Signs
All original documents and drawings are held in the Zaricor Flag Collection Archives.


Condition Good
Damage Used, worn
Displayable yes


Date 1865-1883


Publication Copy Druckman, Nancy, Jeffery Kohn, The American Flag: Designs for a Young Nation, New York, Abrams, 2003.P.58.
Flag Books
The Stars and The Stripes - Mastai

The Stars and The Stripes - Mastai