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U.S. 48 star Flag FDR & Churchill Signatures

Sub-collection: President Franklin D. Roosevelt

48 Star U.S. Flag - signed by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt & Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
This forty-eight star United States flag, from the collection of Dr. Joseph Plaud, bears the autographs of both U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. They autographed this flag in 1943 whilst together at either the Cairo or Tehran Conferences. Between 22 November and 1 December, FDR and Churchill met with Allied leaders in Cairo, Egypt and Tehran, Iran.

The so-called Big Three, whose other member was Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, met for the first time to devise their climactic strategies for defeating Germany and its Axis allies. Above all they discussed opening a second front in Western Europe - a front ultimately designated as Normandy, in northern France, whose beaches would host the momentous D-Day invasion beginning on June 6, 1944.

FDR's eagerness for the meeting led to the choice of locations in the Middle East, close to the Soviet Union, in the capital of Iran; for the sake of assuring Stalin's appearance. Stalin faced his fear of flying and travelled by airplane for the only time in his life in order to attend the conference, but at least it was a relatively short flight. FDR, on the other hand, willingly made the concession of travelling thousands of miles despite the poor health which would fail him permanently less than a year and a half after the conference ended, on April 12, 1945. The President further exhausted himself by pausing in Cairo on the way to Tehran for additional conferences with Winston Churchill, Chinese Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek and the Combined Chiefs of Staff for the Allied Powers.

Dr. Plaud acquired the autographed flag with other dated material from this Special Mission to the both the Cairo and Tehran Conferences. Flags signed by Franklin Roosevelt are quite rare; but one signed by both FDR and Winston is likely to be unique and made all the more significant by the association with these wartime conferences.

Needless to say, America's alliance with Stalin and the Soviet Union would end upon termination of the Second World War, with far-reaching and often violent consequences for much of the world during the next several decades. But at the Tehran Conference the necessity of defeating the common Nazi enemy led, on December 1, 1943, to the official joint declaration of certainty that 'our concord will win an enduring Peace and a day when all peoples of the world may live free lives, untouched by tyranny, and according to their varying desires and their own consciences'. Putting aside their suspicions of one another, the Big Three announced that they would leave Tehran as friends in fact, in spirit and in purpose.

FDR's bold, five-inch-long signature on this flag does not betray his fragile health. Both the President's signature and the less audacious, three-inch-long signature of Churchill appear on the flags fourth stripe from the top. Their black-ink signatures remain fully legible on the white cotton, despite some fading and crocking of the ink, perhaps as a result of the flag having become wet. Otherwise this historic flag remains in excellent condition.

Besides displaying signatures by two of the twentieth century's defining figures, the flag's expedient manufacture from lightweight cotton sheeting reminds us of wartime material shortages. Its maker, the Dettra Flag Company of Oaks, Pennsylvania, introduced the lightweight Victory Brand sheeting as a response to a shortage of their more durable Bulldog Brand cotton bunting, most of which went to fill government orders.

Previously this flag belonged to the Plauds' collection, exhibited at the FDR American Heritage Center Museum and Special Collection in Worcester, Massachusetts. Their collection represented a labor of love for the Plauds, who shared a fascination with FDR. When the museum lost its public display facilities in 2008, the Plauds chose releasing some of their historical treasures for auction over allowing them to languish in storage.

File:Franklin Roosevelt Signature, , Wikipedia, 31 October 2011, from:

ZFC Significant Flag
Item is Framed

• Acquired by purchase by Dr. Joseph Plaud's Franklin D. Roosevelt American Heritage Center Museum and Special Collection, Worcester, Massachusetts.
• Sold via Heritage Auctions of Dallas, Texas to Zaricor Flag Collection, 2008.

Hoist & Fly

Width of Hoist 32.375
Length of Fly 57.675


Width of Union/Canton 18
Length of Union/Canton 24.75


Comments on Star Measurements 8-8-8-8-8-8 horizontal rows
Size of Stars 1.675


Width of 1st Stripe 2.875
Width of 3rd Stripe 2.875
Width of 8th Stripe 2.675
Width of Last Stripe 2.875
Size of Hoist 1.675


Is it framed? yes
Frame Height 40
Frame Length 65
Comments on Frame Framed 65"x40" corners need attention


Number of Stars 48
How are the stars embeded? Dyed
Are there stars on obverse? yes
Are there stars on reverse? yes
Comments on Stars Full Flag Print
Star Field Design
  • Rectilinear - Horizontal


Number of Stripes 13
Color of Top Stripe Red
Color of Bottom Stripe Red
Has a Blood Stripe? no


Nation Represented United States


Fabric Cotton
Comments on Fabric sheeting


Stitching Machine


Type of Thread Needs Analysis
Thread Material Needs Analysis


Type of Weave Plain


Comments on Method of Attachmen wartime grey metal grommets
Method of Attachment Headings & Grommets


Applique Sides Single Faced = Mirror Image Reverse


Research Documents

Public Copy & Signs


Condition Good
Damage Used, worn, vertical crease & soilage from storage
Displayable yes


Date 1943-1944


Exhibition Copy 2003 - 2008 at the FDR CENTER MUSEUM AND
FDR SPECIAL COLLECTION in Worcester, Massachusetts