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William J. Canby Papers: Finding Aid
mssHM 46017 (1-39)  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
This collection contains papers related to the speech of William J. Canby, the grandson of seamstress Betsy Ross (1752-1836), before the Pennsylvania Historical Society in 1870, which was the first time that Canby publicly shared his family's tradition that Ross had made the first United States American flag. There is also correspondence relating to George Canby and his research, and genealogical data on Canby, Ross, and Claypoole families.
Background
William J. Canby, grandson of the seamstress Betsy Ross, read a paper in March, 1870 in the Pennsylvania Historical Society relating for the first time in public his family's tradition that Betsy Ross (Elizabeth Claypoole) made the first U.S. American flag. His theory was criticized for the lack of corroborative evidence. Upon Canby's death, his brother George continued research on the story, and his findings were published by Lloyd Balderston in The evolution of the American flag / from materials collected by the late George Canby by Lloyd Balderston (Philadelphia : Ferris & Leach, 1909).
Extent
110 pieces; 2 boxes.
Restrictions
The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.
Availability
Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.