Congratulations to Carla D. Hayden!

Carla D. Hayden, winner of 2015 Mary Pickersgill Award for Women’s Leadership in Business and CEO of the Enoch Pratt Free Library since 1993, will become the first woman and the first African-American to oversee the nation’s largest library as head of the Library of Congress. Hayden was nominated by President Barack Obama in February and was confirmed by the Senate on a 7418 vote.

“She moved the Enoch Pratt into the digital age,” said Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, a Maryland Democrat. “She’s a transformational leader.”

Read more at the Baltimore Sun.

Congratulations to Nicole McFadyen!

Path to Excellence Cover, 3.4.16Congratulations to Head Orioles groundskeeper and 2016 Mary Pickersgill Award winner, Nicole McFadyen!

“The no-nonsense head groundskeeper at Oriole Park spends 12 to 14 hours at the park on game days. She was only the second woman head groundskeeper ever on a Major League team and is still one of only two currently in the league.

It is for her leadership in the field, innovative approach and her ability to create opportunities for other women that on March 10 she is receiving the Mary Young Pickersgill Award for Women’s Leadership in Business.”

See more coverage at The Daily Record and WJZ, WMAR and WBFF

Posters of Summer 2015!

Every Friday over this summer on our Facebook page, we shared a series of posters from the generous gift made by Mr. and Mrs. Robert Hall to the Flag House in 1965. Most of the posters were from the World War I and II eras.

Here, we’ve put them all together for viewing and we’re looking forward to sharing more treasures from our collection on social media next summer!

Inaugural Flag House Art Contest!

U.S.D. of 1812 New York State Flag House & Star-Spangled Banner Museum Committee Announces the Inaugural Flag House Art Contest!

Join youthful artists everywhere in the Flag House Art Contest!

Most people do not know who Mary Pickersgill was or why her home, “The Flag House” is important. Mary Pickersgill created the flag in her home, that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the poem that became our national anthem, the Star Spangled Banner! The goal of this contest is to spread awareness of Mary Pickersgill, The Flag House, the Star Spangled Museum and create cool flag house art.

There will be cash prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners. Contest open to K through 12th grade! Winning art to be hung at the Flag House!

See contest rules here and here or contact:
Elfreda Stangland
NYS Flag House & Star-Spangled Banner Museum
Committee Chairman
336 West State Street
Albion,N.Y. 14411 | 585-589-1640

Interview with Josephine Caranci

1907Built in 1793, the historic Flag House is the only remaining structure on the block between Pratt and Albemarle Streets. On June 8, we had the distinct pleasure of hosting Josephine Caranci and her family for a private tour in celebration of her 103rd birthday. Born in 1912, Josephine and her family who immigrated to the United States from Italy, resided in the building that once stood along the east wall of the Flag House facing Pratt Street. On the first floor Josephine’s grandfather established a barbershop while the family lived in the rooms above. Listen to the audio below to hear Josephine confess to sneaking along the roof into the attic of the Flag House and memories of the Jonestown neighborhood.

This interview was conducted in the historic Flag House on June 8, 2015. Image is of the Flag House c. 1907.

The Woman on our $10 Bill – Mary Young Pickersgill

Written by:

— Douglas Westfall, American Historian
— Marko Rudela, Author

This theme on the new $10 bill is not about individuals, not about causes, not about race, nor about gender — but about America and America’s freedom. Who better than to represent that ideal than Mary Young, the woman who made America’s Flag: the Star-Spangled Banner.

The new $10 note should revolve around the theme of democracy — freedom. The current portraits on US bills are not about those Americans, nor do they represent those individuals but the portraits do represent America. All of the bills we American’s see daily carry this message.

George Washington is America’s founding Father; Thomas Jefferson crafted America’s Constitution; Abraham Lincoln held America together in a time of crisis; Alexander Hamilton defended America during the Revolutionary War; Andrew Jackson defended America during the War of 1812; Ulysses S. Grant defended America during the Civil War and Benjamin Franklin — created the forerunner of our American Congress.

While there are two notable women on our present-day coinage, the one woman who has been on our currency for over two hundred years, is Miss Liberty. Representing freedom, her image is the theme of the new bills. Yet in this time of change, there will soon be a woman on our $10 bills.

Again, this theme is not about individuals, not about causes, not about race, nor about gender — but about America and America’s freedom. Who better than to represent that ideal than Mary Young, the woman who made America’s Flag, the Star-Spangled Banner. Flag making was in her heritage as her mother made flags as well.

Mary Young’s mother Rebecca Flower Young, made the flags for Washington’s Army — indeed Rebecca made the flag for Washington’s Inauguration. Rebecca worked with Mary and Rebecca’s granddaughter’s Caroline, Eliza, and Margaret along with an indentured African American girl to craft the Great Flag.

Sewing the pieces in her home, this widow with her aged mother and the young girls, then assembled the great flag in a warehouse. It is not that Mary made this one flag, she made dozens — if not hundreds. As did her mother Rebecca before her. It is not that Mary just made the Star-Spangled Banner — she made two.

Mary crafted the Star-Spangled Banner, a 30 x 42 foot garrison flag along with the 17 x 25 foot storm flag, both of which were flown over Fort McHenry. It was this larger garrison flag which Francis Scott Key watched as he wrote his poem during that great battle of 1814 against the British — while he was held prisoner.

That poem which became America’s National Anthem — the song that we all stand to salute our Freedom at nearly every single event today, was written while looking at Mary’s flag. From a Presidential Inauguration to a high school football game, we American’s stand to our national anthem.

We stand for our American Flag and to our National Anthem. We salute our freedom, our country and our flag — and the anthem that comes from battle, the anthem that means freedom — the anthem that comes from the flag of Mary Young. Who better than to represent that ideal of Freedom than Mary Young, the woman who made America’s Flag — the Star-Spangled Banner.

Flag Day 2015!

11665650_1137915856225468_2364564383491043620_nHere at the Flag House, we had a wonderful Star-Spangled Sunday on June 14! With about a hundred visitors, we were able to share the story of Mary Pickersgill and the Star-Spangled Banner with new friends and neighbors as well as honoring our Flag House Scholar Award recipient, Matthew Z from Montgomery County.

Our Executive Director, Amanda Davis created a PDF to share with everyone who wasn’t able to join us in person and it can be downloaded right here. We look forward to seeing everyone for our Historic Cooking program in September!

NSCAR raises over $20,000 for Flag House!

NSCAR National President Betsy Ehmcke and Senior National President Billie J. Spence

The final year of the War of 1812 bicentennial brought many exciting events and opportunities to the Flag House, including our year long partnership with the National Society of the Children of the American Revolution for their national project O’ Say Can You See. In the spring of 2014 the Flag House was approached by National President Betsy Ehmcke to develop a project that would teach NSCAR members and their families about the history of the American flag, Mary Pickersgill, and support the Flag House’s efforts to update a rehabilitate the flagpoles and flags on the museum grounds. Limited resources had kept us from making these changes, but with the dedication of the amazing kids and families involved in NSCAR our hopes have become reality.


NSCAR Selfies

NSCAR members show their support for the Flag House

Last month, Executive Director, Amanda Davis had the pleasure of attending the NSCAR’s 2015 National Convention, the culminating event to O’ Say Can You See, and was overwhelmed to learn that through the sale of special souvenir pins, donations, and hard work the NSCAR raised over $20,000 in support of the Flag House’s initiative.

Over the last year NSCAR families from across the country have come to visit the Flag House to learn about their national project and Mary Young Pickersgill’s contribution to the history of the American flag as they shared selfies to commemorate their visits. The Flag House also installed items from their permanent collection in the main display case of the NSCAR museum at DAR Constitution Hall.

NSCAR Amanda & Betsy

NSCAR National President Betsy Ehmcke and Executive Director of the Flag House Amanda Davis

The Flag House sincerely thanks the NSCAR for their support and a truly Star-Spangled year! Please consider supporting the 2015 NSCAR National project, Road to Independence. More information can be found by visiting

The Story Behind the Posters!

globeposterHave you gotten your print of the Flag House Bicentennial Poster from our 2014 partnership with MICA’s Globe Printing? We still have some copies left that you can take home for only $20 at our gift shop!

Designed by 2011 MICA graduate Allison Fisher, the design used hand-carved wood blocks from the type used to create posters for everyone from circus acts to Marvin Gaye and James Brown.

For more information on the process, you can check out the Baltimore Fishbowl article from last September here!