Monday, July 1, 2013

My Uncle's Name is Sam

Taking a look around my home and the decor displayed to celebrate Independence Day, a common feature is the image of the American symbol Uncle Sam. 

But what do we know about the origins of this famous icon?

By an act of the 87th Congress of the United States, the following resolution was adopted on Sept. 15, 1961: "Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring) that the Congress salutes `Uncle Sam' Wilson of Troy, N.Y., as the progenitor of America's national symbol of "Uncle Sam."

Samuel Wilson and his brother Ebenezer established a meat packing business in the town of Troy, New York. Their firm won a contract to supply meat to U.S. soldiers after the declaration of war against England in 1812. At the time, meat was packed in barrels and the barrels were stamped U.S. to designate the United States as the customer.

Because Samuel was so well liked by the people of Troy, he was known locally as "Uncle" Sam, and Troy residents associated the “U.S.” stamp on the sides of the barrels with “Uncle Sam” who they knew was supplying meat for the soldiers.

The actual image of Uncle Sam evolved over time.

Prior to the Civil War another character was more commonly used as a symbol of our country – Brother Jonathan. Brother Jonathan was depicted with striped pants, a coat with tails and a tall top hat.  But, the Civil War brought a major transition to the symbol of our country.

People began to associate the image of our country with the face of Abraham Lincoln and it was during this period that our icon aged and acquired a beard.

Brother Jonathan was slowly phased out, being replaced by Uncle Sam. The updated image of Uncle Sam was popularized by Thomas Nast through his political cartoons.

The antique postcards photographed for this post are postmarked or copyrighted during the period 1907-1909.  I hope you enjoyed this bit of American history.


Meet some fabulous new people at:
What's It Wednesday at Ivy and Elephants
Share Your Cup at Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson
Pink Saturday at How Sweet the Sound
Anything Blue Friday at The Dedicated House

Until next time, live and love well.

This forum reveals random thoughts and reflections on topics of interest and events impacting the life of the founder of Doll in the Looking Glass.  Our boutique specializes in custom designed dolls that look like your child. We also design toddler and baby dolls that look real using vinyl doll components manufactured in Midland, Michigan USA by Apple Valley Doll Works.  The goal of Doll in the Looking Glass is to delight our customers with our creations.  We would love to create a special doll for you!


Gina @ VictorianWannaBe said...

Hi Debra,
Love all your Uncle Sam postcards. Yep, your Uncle Sam origin is pretty much the same as what I had in my post from last year. I think it's neat to know the story behind "the man". Have a great Fourth!

Ivy and Elephants said...

What a pretty patriotic post! I love your Uncle Sams. Thanks for the history. Hugs and happy 4th of July!

Tami @ Creative girl Vintage said...

Thank you for History class today that was really interesting. You have such a great collection! Love it.
Have a wonderful holiday weekend and Happy Pink Saturday too!
Tami xo

Elena said...

I hope you had a wonderful 4th Debra. As always I enjoy your info on history. I just love that kind of stuff :)

Terry said...


I love your Uncle Sams! My living room is all red, white and blue. Love the patriotic theme.

I have nominated you for the Liebster Award. You can check it out here:

I hope you choose to participate.


Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson said...

Debra, this was so interesting. I really enjoyed learning about the origin of Uncle Sam. Your postcards are amazing! Love each and every one. I only have one vintage Americana postcard. Hope to find more! Thanks for sharing with SYC.

Clara said...

Great patriotic post and I love your Uncle Sam. Thank you for your sweet and kind visit.

Little Susie Home Maker said...

Wow, this was some really cool history that I didn't know! Thanks for such a wonderful post and wonderful pictures! It is great to learn something new about our country. Thank you!!!

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