Blog Post: Star Spangled Women: Mary Pickersgill

Grade Range: 8-12
Resource Type(s): Reference Materials
Date Posted: 7/10/2012

In this post, students will learn the story of Mary Pickersgill, the woman who created the Star-Spangled Banner. Mary Pickersgill learned the art of flagmaking from her mother, Rebecca Young, who made a living during the Revolution sewing flags, blankets, and uniforms for George Washington’s Continental army. Rebecca lived with Mary during the time the Star-Spangled Banner was created, but since she was 73 years old at the time, we have no idea how much she was able to contribute. We do know that Mary’s daughter Caroline, her two teenage nieces Eliza and Jane, and an indentured servant named Grace Wisher did help with the onerous task of sewing the 30 × 42 foot flag. Grace was an African-American teen who had entered into a six-year indentured apprenticeship with Mary in order to learn “the art and mystery of Housework and plain sewing.” Written by Megan Smith, Education Specialist in the Department of Public Programming, this post is published on the Museum's "O Say Can You See?" blog.