An exhibit at The New York Historical Society which paid homage to the history of iconic Uncle Sam ended ten days ago on September 3rd 2017. Banners announcing the exhibit, such as the one seen in the image atop this entry, are still flying from street lamps on NYC's Upper Westside.
A web-page for The New York Historical Society states that "since the 19th century, the familiar figure of “Uncle Sam,” with his beard and stovepipe hat, has represented the U.S. in recruitment posters, political cartoons, and advertisements. But long before he first appeared, artists drew upon a visual tradition stretching back centuries to depict America as an evocative woman."
The image posted directly below (by Corrado Serra) is included within the aforementioned page.
It seems appropriate that I should pay my own homage to Uncle Sam within this blog post because today, September the 13th, is Uncle Sam Day.
According to The American Presidency Project, the holiday became official under Proclamation 6016 in 1989 when then President George Bush, on September 5, 1989, stated, "Now, Therefore, I, George Bush, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim September 13, 1989, as Uncle Sam Day and call upon the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities. In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this fifth day of September, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fourteenth."
The aforementioned web-page also states: "The tall, white-haired figure of Uncle Sam -- his stern, sagacious face graced by a flowing beard, and his distinguished top hat adorned by stars and stripes -- is a beloved symbol of the United States. Recognized around the world, the striking visage of Uncle Sam recalls the pride and strength of the American people, as well as the freedom we enjoy."
I own figurines of Uncle Sam, and I wouldn't exactly say that they depict having a "stern, sagacious face," as evidenced in the next set of images.
They come from More and More Antiques,
the exquisite (and unique) shop on Manhattan's Upper Westside, which has been selling packaged sets of My Fauna-Flora-Insect-Themed Cards (seen in the pictures below).
As you may know, dear reader, each image on a given postcard is from the book, Words In Our Beak Volume One, which is currently available in soft-cover format via MagCloud.
But getting back to Uncle Sam, on his day, The American Presidency Project also states the following:
"In 1961, the Congress recognized Samuel Wilson of Troy, New York, as the progenitor of this celebrated American symbol. Hardworking and self-reliant, Samuel Wilson was a man of unwavering integrity. He was also an important source of food for the Army during the War of 1812. The marking 'U.S.' stamped on casks of meat that his packinghouse prepared for American troops represented 'Uncle Sam' to many soldiers and eventually the name was associated with the U.S. Government itself.
During Samuel Wilson's lifetime, which spanned the exciting years of 1766 to 1854, Americans won our country's independence; formed a system of self-government under our great Constitution; explored and settled the frontier; and raised the hopes of freedom-loving peoples around the world. Because the character derived from his nickname embodies the proud and industrious spirit of the American people, it is fitting that we pause to remember "Uncle Sam" Wilson and his place in our Nation's history."
Uncle Sam is represented by another figurine, who came to my place this past July 4th, and he is featured in the picture directly below.
Both of the figurines in this particular photo (above) are from The Wooden Duck. You might recall, from a previous post, that Art and Jane, who are also from there, were responsible in my being able to bring the beach to my home, since (as of this posting), I was not able to travel to one.
In any event, the rendition of Uncle Sam, which is seen above, resembles the iconic character as described on a web-page for National Day Calendar. Here's what they say:
"Sam Wilson, a meatpacker from New York, supplied barrels of meat to soldiers during the war of 1812. To identify the meat for shipment, Wilson prominently stamped 'U.S.' on the barrels. It wasn’t long before the soldiers dubbed the grub a delivery from Uncle Sam. As such nicknames tend to do, its popularity spread. The first illustration of Uncle Sam is unlike the one we know today. Published by Harper’s Weekly in 1861, the young government representative (a starred bandana on his head and wearing a striped vest) is depicted dividing up Virginia like a butcher. The image of Uncle Sam would take many forms over the years..."
And, there you have it, dear reader, enough wisdom re the back-story of Uncle Sam Day, to keep you from being at a loss for words; should the subject of today's holiday be a part of your dealings with others on this day.