Title information is available upon specific request. Additional information available upon request to researchers, writers and others demonstrating special circumstances. In some situations, information may not be available.
Exhibition Copy Exhibited as #222 in "Our Unknown Flag" 14 June, 1978 to 28 July 1978" at the US Customhouse, Plaza Level, 6 World trade Center, New York, New York.Gallery Copy, "THE BLUE STARS FLAG. REVOLUTIONARY, CIRCA 1780-1790 (HAND LETTERED BAND ADDED FOR PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1880)13 STARS, 12 STRIPES. COTTON (CALICO) AND (WOOL) SERGE"

Presidential Debate -
Washington University at St. Louis
October, 2004
13-Star, 12-Stripe United States Flag Early 19th Century; Modified for the 1880 Presidential Campaign
This flag is believed to be one of the oldest surviving 13-star flags from the early period of American history. The placement of blue stars on a white canton, a motif that dates from the 1790s, is extremely rare.
The flag was modified with the names of the Democrat candidates during the 1880 presidential campaign. Winfield S. Hancock was the famous Union General, commanding the Army of the Potomac's II Corps, who repulsed Pickett's Charge on the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863. He and his running mate, William H. English, were defeated by Republican candidate and Civil War veteran James A. Garfield in one of the closest elections in American history.
Exhibition History - Private Showing

Night of Flags
In celebration of
George Washington's Birthday
The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in California
Patriotic Services Committee
James Ferrigan, Curator, Flag Center
Ben Zaricor, Director, Flag Center
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Octagon House, San Francisco
5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
This was a power point slide presentation on the period 13 star flag and Presidential flags in the Flag Center/Zaricor Flag Collection and comments by Ben Zaricor wherein the image of this flag was displayed.

PBS Text
13 Star US Flag - "Hancock English Flag"
Blue stars on an American Flag?
More white than red stripes?
Recycling old flags?
"One of the oldest 13 star flags in existence reflects the chaos surrounding the creation of the United States flag. In the absence of official guidelines many early flag makers both interpreted and modified the early versions of the American flag. This unique variant of the Stars and Stripes is perhaps the best evidence we have of the "peoples flag", demonstrating that our flag was a product of the popular and expedient imagination rather than official writ.

This striking flag, now called the "Hancock English Flag", because of the an 1880 presidential election campaign panel added to the fly edge, is a period 13 star flag. One of the few in existence, homemade flags like this one were the norm between 1777 and 1795, when this star count was current. While ships chandlers routinely made flags for maritime and naval use; local governments, the militia and private citizens were left to their own enterprises when a flag was desired.

This flag is constructed out of a variety of fabrics: red wool bunting, white cotton cloth and printed calico blue stars in a very uncommon reversal of the traditional American motifs. There are more white stripes and the star field is the reverse of the normal white stars on blue. Yet it still captures the essence of the Stars and Stripes.

Adding to the distinctiveness of the flag is the unusual stat pattern - a circle of nine with four stars on the center. The flag was probably made out of the material the seamstress had at hand.

A previous owner of the flag identified it as treasured family relic from New England. Perhaps it was, for at some point the flag was lovingly repaired by removing the bottom white stripe in order acquire fabric to mend and patch this relic of the Early Federal period. Later, demonstrating their support for the Democrat ticket, the fly panel that gives the flag its current name was added - recycling this 13 star flag in the 1880's.

Thirteen star flags are quite rare and we are fortunate to have had this historic flag be preserved and conserved by the family that passed it down to us today."
Exhibition Images
Washington Debate Poster

Washington Debate Poster

PDF for Publications
Robb Report - June 2014


Title information is available upon specific request. Additional information available upon request to researchers, writers and others demonstrating special circumstances. In some situations, information may not be available.
Publication Copy Publication History:
Madaus, Howard M., Dr, Whitney Smith, The American Flag: Two Centuries of Concord and Conflict. Santa Cruz: VZ Publications, 2006, pp. 12-13.

"This star pattern, the single ring of nine with four center stars, is identical to the canton on the flag of the Bucks of America. A Massachusetts militia unit composed of freemen of color who were presented this flag in the late 1780s. While circumstantial, it supports the use of this motif during the revolutionary era; a 13 star design literally unknown at any other time in American history. The number nine was an auspicious number in this era because nine represented the number of colonies that attended the Stamp Act Congress and were symbolic of 45 the pamphlet published in 1763 by the civil-rights activist John Wilkes, whose influence on the American revolutionary movement was second only to Tom Paine's Common Sense.

Later, the symbolism of 9 came to represent to the nine states needed to approve the Constitution on September 17, 1787; although Benjamin Franklin had urged unanimity, decided they only needed nine states to ratify the constitution for it to go into effect. Once the Congress of the Confederation received word of New Hampshire's ratification, on June 21, 1788, it set a timetable for the start of operations under the Constitution, and on March 4, 1789, the government under the Constitution began operations; and so 9 came to also represent the nine states which ratified it into existence.

The use of the single ring of nine stars is a symbolic design element that would have been immediately understood the late Colonial, Revolutionary and early Federal Period. Considering the flag from its construction elements and discounting 19th & 20th century repairs and additions, the original portions of this flag contain nothing that would exclude it from being a product of the 18th century. The presence of cotton thread is not a disqualification as recent scholarship has demonstrated the use of cotton in the 1760s and the fabrication of cotton sewing thread in New England as early as 1792. The numerous repairs and remakes also attest to the importance placed upon this flag by subsequent owners. "

Druckman, Nancy, Jeffery Kohn, The American Flag: Designs for a Young Nation, New York, Abrams, 2003.P.71.
Flag Books
The Stars and The Stripes - Mastai

The Stars and The Stripes - Mastai

Title information is available upon specific request. Additional information available upon request to researchers, writers and others demonstrating special circumstances. In some situations, information may not be available.