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Great Star Flags (U.S.)

Historical

Last modified: 2019-08-01 by rick wyatt
Keywords: united states | great star | star |
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Overview

There have been many "Great Star" flags over the years. The first most people know about was Peter Wendover/Samuel Reid's proposal to have the U.S. Flag bear the stars in a "Great Star" pattern for use on land and on private ships and in rows for the navy, proposed in 1818. Congress did not accept this idea, in fact Congress purposely did not specify how the stars were to be arranged.

Prior to this proposal, however, this pattern can be found. It probably had its origin in the U.S. Crest, which shows 13 stars in the shape of a six-pointed "Great Star." The pattern can be found often in the 19th century, particularly prior to 1865 and particularly used on private ships.
Dave Martucci, 31 March 1998


20 Star Design

[U.S. 20 Great Star flag] image by Blas Delgado Ortiz, 28 July 2001

This flag flew over the Capitol dome for at lease six months of 1818.
Blas Delgado Ortiz, 27 July 2001


26 Star Designs

[26 star Great Star Design of 1837] image by Steven M. Schroeder, 18 November 2000

26 Star Design (1837) - As depicted in the postage stamp, it consists of 13 stripes, blue canton with 26 5-pointed stars arranged: with one very large star in center, 5 smaller stars in each angle of center star, 5 smaller stars between each of the previous 5, and 3 yet smaller stars at each ordinal point, giving impression of a large star pointing down.
Steven M. Schroeder, 18 November 2000


[Great Star Pattern 26 Star U.S. flag] image by Blas Delgado Ortiz, 28 July 2001


[Inverted Great Star Pattern 26 Star U.S. flag] image by Blas Delgado Ortiz, 28 July 2001

This beautiful 'upside down' star-within-a-star-within-a-star design is a fine example of early design variations. Akin to the "Circle within a circle" design, this one has a large star in the center, with five stars forming a star pattern around it and the remaining 20 stars forming a large star around them.
Blas Delgado Ortiz, 28 July 2001


33 Star Design

[U.S. 33 Great Star flag] image by Blas Delgado Ortiz, 27 July 2001

This printed silk, made in 1859, evidences the continued popularity of the "Great Star" pattern on the eve of the Civil War.
Blas Delgado Ortiz, 27 July 2001


34 Star Design

[Great Flower Design 34 Star U.S. flag] image by Blas Delgado Ortiz, 28 July 2001

The "Great Flower" flag, also known as "The Candy Stripe" flag because of the red and white "candy stripe" running down the left side. Five asymmetric petal shapes loop out from the off-center heart of a graceful "Great Flower" pattern of thirty-four stars. The designer and locations that used this 1861-1863 flag are unknown.
Blas Delgado Ortiz, 28 July 2001


36 Star Design

[U.S. 36 Great Star flag] image by Blas Delgado Ortiz, 27 July 2001

This brilliant "Great Star" flag was edged with black crape on the occasion of Lincoln's funeral. This was not removed and the flag served again in this guise for the mourning of the other assassinated American presidents, including that of President Kennedy.
Blas Delgado Ortiz, 27 July 2001


 
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