President's Flag
"President's Flag"
By an unknown artist, 1916
Gouache on pape
12" x 16"
National Archives and Records Administration, General Records of the U.S. Government

President's Flag
In 1882 a Navy Department general order prescribed a Presidential flag showing the coat of arms of the United States on a blue field; in 1898 the Department of War designed a different flag for the President; and by 1901 there was considerable debate between the services over which flag was official. In 1915 a reporter spotted the two flags at a Presidential review and again raised the question of which standard was correct. This time Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels wrote to Secretary of War Lindley Garrison and suggested a new design. On May 29, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed Executive Order 2390 setting sizes and proportions for all U.S. flags. Attached to the order was a new design for a Presidential flag. It showed the Presidential seal in its center on a blue background with a white star in each of the four corners. The flag remained unchanged until 1945 when President Harry Truman altered the design so that the seal is surrounded by a circle of white stars, one for each state in the Union.

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