Connecticut’s Official State Flag – Who Knew?
Blue background with a seal in the middle. Banner under the seal with Latin words.

Flag of Connecticut - Wikimedia Commons


…that Connecticut did not adopt an official state flag until 1897?

While Connecticut used variations of flags for state and other official functions before the 1890s, there was no official standard version. In 1895—after asking the legislature for a state flag to decorate their new meeting space—the Anna Warner Bailey Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (D.A.R.) from Groton requested the government adopt an official flag. Inspired by the D.A.R., Governor O. Vincent Coffin introduced the first proposal for the adoption of a state flag and the General Assembly appointed a special committee to take up the matter.

Newspaper clipping of an image of a flag

James J. Goodwin’s design for a state flag, printed in the Hartford Courant – Connecticut State Library

The Anna Warner Chapter of the D.A.R. submitted several designs for a new flag, but Civil War veterans groups felt strongly about the blue Connecticut regimental flags they had fought under. The Merriam Post of the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) argued that “the true blue flag represented by the shot-torn and tattered remnants now so carefully preserved in the Capitol building, should be made, without change of color, form or design, the lawfully adopted emblem of our loved commonwealth.” The president of the Connecticut Society of the Colonial Wars, James J. Goodwin, submitted his own design for the state flag that the Hartford Courant printed numerous times and the D.A.R. eventually submitted one of their revised designs as well. After hearings and debate, interested parties and the legislature compromised on a flag design that honored the traditional blue and also retained the D.A.R.’s rococo-style shield but dropped unnecessary elements such as the proposed cornstalk imagery. The legislature then included a provision that allowed the women of the Anna Warner Bailey chapter to present to the state the first flag created under the new law.

Adopting the official state flag in 1897, the General Assembly also prepared the official description: “Five feet, six inches in length and four feet, four inches in width, of azure blue silk, with the armorial bearings in argent white silk with the design in natural colors and border of the shield embroidered in gold and silver. Below the shield there is a white streamer, cleft at each end, bordered in gold and browns, the streamer bearing in dark blue the motto “Qui Transtulit Sustinet.”” The motto translates to “He Who Transplanted Still Sustains” and has been part of various iterations of Connecticut’s seal since before statehood.

Learn More

Reports

Connecticut Secretary of State. “State of Connecticut Register & Manual.” State of Connecticut, 2021. Link.

Newspapers

The Hartford Courant. “A Grist of Hearings: State Flag and Naval Aid,” February 11, 1897.
The Hartford Courant. “A Salute Will Be Fired,” August 10, 1897.
The Hartford Courant. “A State Flag: Special Committee of the General Assembly Will Consider Designs,” May 30, 1895.
The Hartford Courant. “James J. Goodwin’s Design for a State Flag,” November 13, 1895.
The Hartford Courant. “State Flag Adopted,” June 3, 1897.
The Hartford Courant. “The General Assembly: The State Flag,” June 26, 1895.
The Hartford Courant. “The Grapevine Flag Forever,” June 6, 1895.
The Hartford Courant. “The State Flag,” February 19, 1897.
The Hartford Courant. “The State Flag: Hearing Before the Military Committee Yesterday Afternoon,” February 20, 1897.

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