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 Mary Young Pickersgill

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Mary Young Pickersgill

Flag maker. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania she became a successful entrepreneur and philanthropist whose flag making skills had a major impact on United States history. She grew up in Baltimore and honed her flag making skills at the feet of her mother. After the death of her husband she opened up a business in 1807 making flags for merchant ships that frequented Baltimore Harbor as well as the US Navy and US Army. Her business was so successful that she was able to support her aging mother and young daughter. She was a social activist who fought to acquire financial assistance and safe housing for under privileged women. Under her leadership she helped establish a home for the elderly which today still serves the aging and is named in her honor. Her greatest national contribution lies in the fact that she made the 30 X 42 foot American flag that flew over Baltimore Harbor on the night the British attacked the Maryland city during the War of 1812. Major George Armistead commissioned the seamtress to make a flag so large that the British would "have no difficulty seeing it from a distance". Over 400 feet of fabric was used to make the flag. The fifteen stripes were two feet wide and the fifteen stars two feet from tip to tip. It was this flag, seen by British prisoner Francis Scott Key after a twenty five hour bombardment of Baltimore, which inspired him to write a poem that became the lyrics to the US National Anthem. Today the flag can be seen at the Smithsonian Institute.

Bio by: Bigwoo

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 1 Jan 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 2140
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Mary Young Pickersgill (12 Feb 1776–4 Oct 1857), Find A Grave Memorial no. 2140, citing Loudon Park Cemetery, Baltimore, Baltimore City, Maryland, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .