“I have a hand sewn, 16’ X 22’ wool American flag with 48 stars. I know it is pre-1959. I’m looking for any information you can find about it.” The Newton Falls Public Library staff was fascinated by this, considering the size of the flag.
Flag: an American biography by Marc Leepson [p.223] confirmed that the flag was indeed from before 1959 as the 48th state, Arizona, joined the Union on February 14, 1912 and Alaska, the 49th joined by proclamation on January 3, 1959. The 49 star flag become official on July 4.
According to the book, Saga of the American Flag: an illustrated history by Candice M. DeBarr and Jack A. Bonkowske [p.50], a survey taken in 1912 “revealed that governmental agencies were using flags of 66 different sizes, most of varying proportions. Nongovernmental flags were even more widespread in the irregularities.” Several websites have information about the dimensions of American flags. USFlag.org gives the ratio of hoist [width] X 1.9 = fly [length]. “Executive Order of President Taft dated June 24, 1912 - established the proportions of the flag and provided for arrangement of the stars in six horizontal rows of eight each, a single point of each star to be upward. This flag was official for 47 years, longer than any other flag.” The blog, The Daily Flag states “Flags today come in easy to remember sizes, 3X5, 4X6, 5X8, but the flag code clearly indicates that the size ratio for the US Flag is 1:1.9.” According to the flag code our patron’s flag should actually be 16’ X 30.4’ or by common standards, 16’ X 24’. This would indicate that it was indeed handmade.