Design for American Flag with Fifty Stars
Design for American Flag with 50 Stars
By Donald Edwards, 1959
Construction paper collage
12" x 17"
Dwight D. Eisenhower Library, National Archives and Records Administration

50-Star Flag Designs
In 1958 two U.S. territories, Alaska and Hawaii, were poised to become America's 49th and 50th states. A federal law dating from 1818 required that a star be added to the U.S. flag on the Fourth of July following a new state's admission. However, the law failed to describe how a new pattern for the stars should be configured. As the probability of Alaska's and Hawaii's admission to the Union increased, thousands of citizens, especially school children, sent their suggestions for a new flag design to the White House. In response to this interest, President Dwight Eisenhower appointed a committee to advise on the new design. After examining many creative and fanciful submissions, the committee recommended a design similar to the existing 48-star flag. It would contain seven rows of seven stars in a slightly staggered arrangement. On January 3, 1959, President Eisenhower issued an Executive order changing the design of the flag. When, a few months later, Hawaii became a state, the committee recommended a similar layout, and President Eisenhower issued another order describing that design. This exhibit contains two flag designs selected from the many designs submitted for consideration.

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