Betsy Ross: The Life behind the Legend


American Antiquarian Society
185 Salisbury Street
Worcester, MA 01609
United States

Legend has it that Betsy Ross created the first American flag. The truth is far less certain and far more interesting. In this program Marla Miller, author of the recently published Betsy Ross and the Making of America, describes how she came to research and write the first scholarly biography of Ross. The story she uncovers is a richly textured study of Ross's long and remarkable life, which included three marriages, seven children, and a successful career as a seamstress and upholsterer. The book also examines the world of Philadelphia artisans and provides new insights into the world of middle-class crafts people, women, and work during the tumultuous years of our nation's founding.


Marla R. Miller is an associate professor of history at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and is director of the public history program there. She has won the Organization of American Historians' Lerner-Scott Prize for the Best Dissertation in Women's History and the Walter Muir Whitehill Prize in Colonial History. Her first book, The Needle's Eye: Women and Work in the Age of Revolution (2006), won the Costume Society of America.s Millia Davenport Publication Award for the best book in the field for that year.