World Civic Heraldry Guide: coats of arms and flags of cities, regions, states
Kentucky's State Flag was authorized by an Act of the General Assembly in 1918, but the design of the flag was not approved until 1928.
The act designated that the flag should be of navy blue silk or bunting, with the Seal of the Commonwealth of Kentucky encircled by a wreath of goldenrod. This could be embroidered, printed or stamped in the center. Dimensions of the flag were not specified.
The first official state flag was made in early 1920 for a ceremony at Camp Zachary Taylor, in Louisville. The flag had been hastily put together, with little artistic design and was barely passable as the flag of the Commonwealth. Following the ceremony, the flag was sent to Credo Harris for creative improvements. A committee was formed, and three designs were agreed upon. These three were then combined into one design, which was to be sent to the Governor for approval. The design was forgotten or lost during its bureaucratic shuffle, and nothing ever resulted. After a long period of time, the 1920 flag was finally returned to Frankfort, placed in the custody of the Kentucky Historical Society.
During the administration of Governor Flem D. Sampson, an official flag was needed for another military ceremony. Jouett Cannon, then secretary of the Kentucky Historical Society, commissioned Jessie Cox Burgess, an art teacher in the Frankfort city school system, to come up with a design. Burgess' design consisted of ink sketches of the state's seal, embellished with goldenrod branches, done in oil paints, encircling it. Three flags were then made in Philadelphia; only two of these found their way to Frankfort, one being lost during a Chicago ceremony needing a flag representing Kentucky.
It was not until 1961 that the Kentucky Legislature officiated the design, colors, and specifications for the state's flag. Major Taylor L. Davidson, while serving the Adjutant General, speerheaded the project by researching the history and early designs of the state flag. Harold Collins, artist, was then asked to produce three color designs to be presented to Governor Bert Combs for a decision. Once the design was chosen, a template was made, and then detailed specifications were transcribed by Major Davidson into a new bill. The bill (KRS 2.030), the first and only bill with illustrations included in to the Kentucky statute, was passed into law during the 1962 session.
adopted (dd.mm.yyyy): 1928
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