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Comparing Depictions of Betsy Ross

Focusing on Details: Compare and Contrast

All documents and text associated with this activity are printed below, followed by a worksheet for student responses.

Introduction

Explore the following three depictions of Betsy Ross from artworks in the 19th and 20th centuries. 

  • How does the image depict Betsy Ross?
  • What does it show her doing?
  • What are some of the similarities? What are some of the differences?


Name:
Class:

Worksheet

Comparing Depictions of Betsy Ross

Focusing on Details: Compare and Contrast

Examine the documents included in this activity and write your response in the space provided.



Your Response




1

Activity Element

The first flag being made




2

Activity Element

The making of the flag by Betsy Ross




3

Activity Element

Betsy Ross Making the First Flag [According to Legend]




Conclusion

Comparing Depictions of Betsy Ross

Focusing on Details: Compare and Contrast

Why do you think the myth of Betsy Ross has endured?

Your Response




Document

The first flag being made

1777 (artwork ca. 1893)

This primary source comes from the Records of Commissions of the Legislative Branch.
National Archives Identifier: 532944
Full Citation: The first flag being made; 1777 (artwork ca. 1893); The George Washington Bicentennial Commission, 1931 - 1932; Records of Commissions of the Legislative Branch, ; National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD. [Online Version, https://docsteach.org/documents/document/the-first-flag-being-made, December 5, 2022]


The first flag being made

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Document

The making of the flag by Betsy Ross

1777 (artwork ca. 1900)

This primary source comes from the Records of the Bureau of Public Roads.
National Archives Identifier: 135797864
Full Citation: The making of the flag by Betsy Ross; 1777 (artwork ca. 1900); File Unit: Men, 1896 - 1963; Series: Historical Photograph Files, 1896 - 1963; Records of the Bureau of Public Roads, ; National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD. [Online Version, https://docsteach.org/documents/document/making-of-the-flag-by-betsy-ross, December 5, 2022]


The making of the flag by Betsy Ross

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Document

Betsy Ross Making the First Flag [According to Legend]

1776 (artwork ca. 1954)

According to legend, Betsy Ross created the first American flag after a visit from General George Washington, commander-in-chief of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. However, Ross's involvement in the design and creation of the first flag seems largely fictitious. It is likely that her grandson, William J. Canby, developed the story in the 1870s and that her only connection to the American flag was as a Philadelphia flag maker who sewed flags and banners for the United States military.

This is a copy of a 1954 painting attributed to Frank McKernan.
This primary source comes from the Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer.
National Archives Identifier: 530982
Full Citation: Photograph 111-SC-92968; Betsy Ross Making the First Flag [According to Legend]; 1776 (artwork ca. 1954); Photographs of American Military Activities, ca. 1918 - ca. 1981; Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer, ; National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD. [Online Version, https://docsteach.org/documents/document/betsy-ross-flag, December 5, 2022]


Betsy Ross Making the First Flag [According to Legend]

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