Betsy Ross: Girl of Old Philadelphia

Betsy Ross: Girl of Old Philadelphia

Childhood of Famous Americans
by Ann Weil, Al Fiorentino (Illustrator)
Publisher: Bobbs-Merril Co
©1961, Item: 85140
Hardcover, 200 pages
Not in stock

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Betsy insisted to her little brother George that she could make doll furniture. But when she tried, the saw jumped the wood and cut her finger. "Every time I want to do something," she said, "I can't do it because I'm a girl, or because I'm too little. Little girls can't do anything!"

But Betsy was only six years old when she said that. And she never said it again. She was too busy doing things and doing them well! Her Quaker family was large—nine girls and a boy—and Betsy was a big help to her mother kneading bread, looking after the babies and sewing with the silver thimble her mother gave her.

She was busy too after she started to school but she could always find time to visit interesting places in Philadelphia. There was the wonderful day when Benjamin Franklin invited her and George into his print shop. And the exciting visit aboard a big ship in the harbor. And of course the Liberty Bell. Betsy especially liked the big bell, for it had come to America the same year she was born—1752—and her father had helped build the belfry for it.

Betsy's fine stitches graced clothes and quilts and one day made a terribly torn dress as good as new. But her favorite project was a sampler showing the Liberty Bell against a dark sky filled with stars. The perfect five-pointed stars she cut with a single snip of her scissors. The sampler was the favorite of the judge at the fair, and he awarded her first prize—a perfectly-made example of true American design, he called it.

Everyone knows the story that has come down through the years which tells how Betsy Ross made the first American flag. It is said that George Washington came to her house in 1776 with plans for a flag and asked if she would make one. She was sure she could but asked if five-pointed stars might be better than six. Washington was in a hurry to have the flag and thought such stars might be more difficult to cut. He quickly changed his mind as Betsy showed him how easily she could cut a five-pointed star.

In 1952 the United States government celebrated Betsy Ross's 200th anniversary. A new postage stamp was issued in commemoration, and on it was a picture of her showing the first flag to George Washington.

Every year thousands of visitors come to Philadelphia to see where Betsy Ross lived. The Betsy Ross Home is truly an American shrine.

Children love the story of Betsy Ross and the flag and will be doubly delighted with this charming tale of her childhood. Ann Weil is the author of many juveniles, including two books about boys in the Childhood of Famous Americans Series—John Quincy Adams: Boy Patriot and Franklin Roosevelt: Boy of the Four Freedoms. In Betsy Ross she demonstrates equal skill in writing of an appealing little girl who was to figure charmingly in our heritage.

—from the dust jacket

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