- 1 Download Our Bandana Book Today and Find Out What Makes Bandanas the All-American Clothing Accessory
- 2 Our Bandana Book on Amazon
- 3 Origins of the Bandana
- 4 Bandanas in American History
- 5 The Bandana Today
- 6 And There’s Even More to Know About America’s Beloved Bandana
Download Our Bandana Book Today and Find Out What Makes Bandanas the All-American Clothing Accessory
Have you ever wondered why bandanas are still so popular today? Did you know that the bandana has its roots in ancient Persia? Are you aware that bandanas have played a key role in our nation’s history – in sports, politics, and even the workers’ rights movement?
Now you can find out all about the bandana’s long, colored, and utterly American history in our fascinating bandana book. And you can discover some cool new uses for your bandanas, as well as having some fun along the way.
Our Bandana Book on Amazon
First, to get an idea of what you’ll find in this unique little bandana book, take a look at the description from the Amazon book page:
Well, here’s what you’ll discover inside this book:
- How Martha Washington created the first American bandana used to help win the Revolutionary War
- Why bandanas were critical items for cowboys on trail drives
- How bandanas played a vital role in American politics
- The role of bandanas in one of our most famous (and very illegal) boxing matches
- How a certain bandana saved the day for the Minnesota Twins in the 1987 World Series
- The vital role red bandanas played in workers’ rights movement of the 1920s
- How African American women used bandanas as a sign of pride and subversiveness
- The varied career of bandanas throughout the American twentieth century
- Tons of uses for your bandana that you never thought of
- Where to get quality bandanas at great prices and with top-notch customer service
The American bandana, born in this country when we strove for independence against British tyranny, is an approximately 20-inch by 20-inch cloth square. You see them mostly dangling from back pockets, around heads and necks, tied to straps, and used for everything from wiping foreheads and noses to signifying group affiliations.
But the bandana is a lot more than that, really – even an upscale fashion accessory now. In this little book. you can find out why and how it is the all-American garment. So go ahead and dig in.
Pretty cool, huh?
Origins of the Bandana
You may not be aware of it, but the bandana (well, the proto-bandana) goes back a long way, as you’ll discover in our bandana book, The American Bandana Story.
- The bandana is the modern American counterpart of the kerchief, which dates as far back as ancient Greece. It has, pretty much in its present form, been around for going on 300 years. Although the European kerchief was its progenitor, the bandana has roots that go deep into ancient time.
- The name bandana itself is believed to derive from the Hindi word bandhana or Sanskrit badhnati, both meaning to bind or tie. Bandana colors and patterns (before it became the bandana as we know it today) were originally created with the traditional resist dye techniques found in Turkey and India, dye techniques still used by artisans today.
- The favored and common paisley pattern that characterized bandanas early on was a distinctive pattern that originated in Kashmir in the ancient Persian empire. (The pattern did not, contrary to popular legend, come from Paisley, Scotland.) It’s a pattern we’re all familiar with – curved, feather-like shapes spread across the fabric in a repeating pattern. It is said that it can be traced back to a pine-cone design in ancient India.
- In the eighteenth century, the Dutch East India Company imported woven cashmere buta-print bandanas. They soon became hugely popular as shawls for women. They also served as status symbols because they were very expensive, with demand soon outstripping supply, and only the well to do could afford them. As a result, companies in England and Scotland soon began production of their own shawl-like bandanas to meet the demand.
- The bandana has a long and colorful (literally) history in this country – having served as everything from a cultural marker to a symbol of unity in the struggle for worker’s rights to use as an effective marketing tool.
Bandanas in American History
Bandanas are indeed truly American. They have played an instrumental role in several aspects of American life throughout our history. Here, for example, are few interesting tidbits from our new book . . .
In the American Revolution
In 1775, Martha Washington commissioned John Hewson, a renowned print maker, to design and produce a token for her husband, a square kerchief to be presented as a gift to her husband. And this was despite the British-imposed Colonies-wide ban on printing as an effort on the part of the British to curtail revolutionary “propaganda.”
The bandana was printed and reproduced and became a rallying point in the revolutionary struggle. By the summer of 1776, Patriots across the Colonies that had become states were cheering at the sight of Washington’s bandana.
In the West
Shortly after the Civil War ended, the great cattle drives started. All those ex-soldiers needed work, and people back East wanted beef steak. The simple solution, then, was to drive herds of cattle to towns and cities with major railheads where the cattle could be loaded onto trans and then shipped to those markets with the hungry consumers.
The cowboys on a cattle drive were divided, based on experience and demonstrated skill, into definite classes and jobs accordingly assigned. Those low down the totem pole would be assigned the task of “riding the drags” – riding in the rear of the herd, pushing the cattle along, keeping them from stopping and simply grazing. And that spot in the rear, because 12,000 hooves were kicking up dust, was a dusty, choking place to be.
That’s what the cowboy bandana was for. The cowboys bringing up the rear would pull those bandanas up over their noses, just like the bank robbers, to filter out some of that dust so they could breathe. In some situations, without the bandana, suffocation would have been a real danger.
In 1912 Theodore Roosevelt was seeking the Republican nomination for a shot at a third term as president. After Taft’s election, Roosevelt had become disheartened as he saw Taft abandoning the policies he favored. The only course for Roosevelt, then, was to go after another term when Taft faced re-election.
A special bandana was created for this nomination campaign, particularly to drum up support at a rally in Milwaukee. Printed on the bandana were the lyrics to the campaign song “We Want Teddy.”
The most famous bare-knuckle boxing match of all time – John L. Sullivan vs. Jake Kilrain – took place on July 8, 1889, in a secret location, a clearing in the Mississippi woods on a farm near Richburg. The temperature soared to over 100 degrees, and the humidity was oppressive, making it hard to breathe and making clothes stick to skin.
It was highly illegal. And many fans paid a week’s wages for a ticket. But with no sound system or TV monitors, it was hard for many fans to keep track of the action. Bandanas provided the solution.
Each fighter chose his own distinctive bandana color. Then, a No. 3 bandana of that color was tied to the post in his corner. In addition, each fighter had a bandana in his chosen color tied around each wrist. This simple solution allowed spectators in that crowd of 3,000 to be able to keep up with each fighter, where he was and what he was doing. The bandanas around the wrists helped the fans know who landed a punch and where.
The Bandana Today
Today, as you’ll discover in our bandana book, The American Bandana Story, bandana options and uses have exploded and expanded. The bandana now is everything from a sign of group allegiance to an upscale fashion accessory to a pet adornment. And the bandana has also taken on new forms, such as its morphing into the doo rag and the tube bandana.
Consider the bandana’s twentieth-century use evolution . . .
1920s and ’30s
During this period, the bandana was appropriated by workers of all kinds, both for its practical uses and symbolic function. Miners, for example, wore bandanas and used a bandana to signify unity in the Coal Miners’ March of 1921 in West Virginia.
During this decade, the bandana became a functional fashion statement among women. Remember the iconic Rosie the Riveter with her bandana?
Besides becoming a valuable promotional tool in political campaigns, bandanas began to be used in a range of issues and causes chiefly because they were such a versatile item of clothing.
It was during the ’60s that the paisley pattern made a major come-back. Speculation has it that paisley bandanas enjoyed a resurgence owing to the fact that John Lennon had his Rolls Royce painted in paisley after the Beatles’ trip to India.
This is when bandanas began to serve as a group identifier again, especially for people with alternative lifestyles.
In the 80s, bandanas came into widespread use by urban gangs. These bandanas helped foster gang identity and promote unity (much the same as with the protesting miners).
This was the era of signature bandanas among musicians ranging all the way from country performers to rock and hip-hop stars.
And There’s Even More to Know About America’s Beloved Bandana
As interesting as all this may be, there are many more intriguing facts in this bandana book. You’ll also have a chance to find out about . . .
- Patrick Moriarty, world-renowned paisley designer, who has created some of our own paisley patterns
- How a bandana, the “Homer Hanky,” helped the Minnesota Twins win the 1987 World Series
- The history of the doo rag, how it grew out of the headwrap that was used as a sign of racial pride and subversiveness
- How bandanas were a symbol of unity in the West Virginia Coal Miners March of 1921 and became the source of the term “redneck”
- Much, much more
Not only is the bandana a fascinating cotton square, but it’s also the truly all-American garment.
Dive into its fascinating history in this unique little bandana book.
Download copy of The American Bandana Story today!