Photos courtesy of Museum Textile Services

The Peace Flag was given to Mary Baker Eddy late in April 1907, by Augusta E. Stetson of First Church of Christ, Scientist, New York City, after the conclusion of The National Arbitration and Peace Congress held in New York April 14-17. The records are not entirely clear as to how Stetson obtained the flag. A number of Christian Scientists were involved in the Peace Congress, and several of them were members of First Church of Christ, Scientist, New York City – Stetson’s church. In fact, during the Peace Congress Andrew Carnegie was recognized for his great support of the movement and presented with one of the two peace flags that hung behind the podium during the sessions. It was presented to him by Helen Beach Tillotson and Richmond P. Hobson, of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Tillotson, a Christian Scientist, was likely involved in donating the remaining flag to Eddy. Eddy felt this flag should belonged to all Christian Science churches and so gave it to The Mother Church in Boston.

In the spring of 1936, the Peace Flag received its permanent home on the second floor mezzanine of what was then the Christian Science Publishing House. It was placed in a custom-built bronze and glass case made by the Gorham Company of Providence, RI, and has been hanging there ever since. Eventually the seal on the case became deteriorated, allowing dust and dirt inside. Library Curator Pamela Winstead realized the need to conserve this flag, as well as have it cleaned to remove the dirt that had collected since its hanging. She worked with Camille Myers Breeze from Museum Textile Services to carefully remove the flag from its case and pack it for transport to their facility.

Peace Flag consevation

Photos courtesy of Museum Textile Services

The first task Camille and her staff undertook was to clean the flag. After several tests to find the best cleaning method, they decided to use vulcanized rubber sponges. This work required great patience and a light touch, so as not to damage the silk. Next the white silk border was replaced  with a new piece of custom-dyed silk. This was done because reinforcing the original border was not viable. Once this was done, they cleaned the original outer fringe and sewed it back on. As you can see from the photos above, the side of the flag that had been displayed for almost 80 years was considerably faded. The bottom right photo shows how the other side of the flag had remained vibrant.

Peace flag being put back into place.

Photos courtesy of Museum Textile Services

Once all conservation work was complete, the flag was carefully transported back to The Mary Baker Eddy Library and returned to its case on the wall. This bronze and glass case had also undergone its own conservation and was ready to once again house the flag.

We’re so glad to have this beautiful item conserved and back on display for our visitors to enjoy!

Interested in all the details of how this flag was conserved, as told by Museum Textile Services? Read their blog here:
http://www.museumtextiles.com/blog/the-mary-baker-eddy-peace-flag-part-i

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