Mary Pickersgill (1776 - 1857)
Mary Pickersgill was an American business woman and well-known seamstress who created the Great Garrison Flag that flew during the 1814 Battle of Baltimore. Her flag, which was the largest garrison flag ever flown at the time, became the inspiration behind a poem written by Francis Scott Key now known as the United States National Anthem. Today, the original 30 by 42-foot flag created by Mary resides in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History. Aside from her flag making business, Mary also addressed social issues for disadvantaged women, including housing, employment and financial aid. As President of the Impartial Female Humane Society, she opened a home for elderly women that later expanded into an entire retirement community named in her honor, as was the World War II Liberty ship, the SS Mary Pickersgill.