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Illinois State FlagIllinois State Flag

Adopted July 1, 1970.

The State Flag of Illinois was adopted on July 1, 1970. It shows the emblem portion of the official state seal on a field of white. Beneath the seal is the word "Illinois" in blue.

Illinois's original state flag was designed in 1913 by Lucy Derwent (who had won a contest), but was redesigned in 1970 by Mrs. Sanford Hutchinson. The flag's design is based upon the state's seal, which was designed by Sharon Tyndale, Illinois' secretary of state, in 1868.

The flag has a white background, and much of the Illinois state seal is pictured in the center. There is a bald eagle perched on a rock holding a red, white, and blue shield in its talons (the stars are white on a blue background and the stripes are red and white). The shield has 13 stripes and 13 stars, representing the original 13 colonies of the USA. The eagle is holding a banner in its beak which reads "STATE," "SOVEREIGNTY," "NATIONAL," and "UNION." The word sovereignty is upside down.

 The rock has the dates 1818 and 1868 written on it; 1818 refers to the year Illinois became a state and 1868 refers to the date the state seal was redesigned.

The Illinois State Flag

The Great Seal of the State of Illinois is the official emblem of the state, and signifies the official nature of a document produced by the state of Illinois. The flag of the state of Illinois consists of the seal of Illinois on a white background, with the word "Illinois" underneath the seal.

Illinois has had two official state flags.

Illinois Flag Initial Adoption, 1915

The first was officially adopted on July 6, 1915, after a vigorous campaign by Mrs. Ella Park Lawrence, State Regent of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Early in 1912, Mrs. Lawrence began visiting local D.A.R. chapters throughout Illinois seeking cooperation in promoting selection of an official state banner to place in the Continental Memorial Hall in Washington, DC.

A prize of $25 was offered to the Chapter submitting the best design for the banner and four judges were selected to choose the winner. Thirty-five designs were submitted and the Rockford Chapter entry designed by Miss Lucy Derwent, was chosen.

State Senator Raymond D. Meeker introduced the bill which was to legalize the flag. The measure passed both Houses of the General Assembly and automatically became a law on July 6, 1915, when Governor Edward F. Dunne failed to affix his signature to the bill.

Illinois Flag 1969 alterations

The move to design a new state flag was initiated by Chief Petty Officer Bruce McDaniel of Waverly, then serving in Vietnam. The Illinois flag was one of many state flags which were hung on the walls of his mess hall; its identity was always questioned, so McDaniel requested that the flag carry the state's name.

A bill to amend the original flag act of 1915 was sponsored by Representative Jack Walker of Lansing and was passed by the General Assembly and approved by Governor Richard B. Ogilvie September 17, 1969. This authorized a new flag to carry the word "Illinois".

Governor Ogilvie appointed a committee consisting of the State Historian, the Director of the Illinois Information Service, and the State Records Archivist to develop specifications for the new state flag to ensure uniformity in reproduction of design and color by flag makers.

Mrs. Sanford Hutchison of Greenfield who had previously done extensive research on the official design of the state seal, submitted a flag which contained all the required elements of the design as specified by law, this was accepted by the committee, the Secretary of State and the Governor; on July 1, 1970, it became the official flag of Illinois.

Illinois Flag Law

Illinois Compiled Statutes, Chapter 5.

(5 ILCS 460/) State Designations Act.
(5 ILCS 460/5) (from Ch. 1, par. 2901-5)
   Sec. 5. State seal. (a) The reproduction of the emblem only on the "great seal of the State of Illinois" is authorized and permitted when reproduced in black or in the national colors upon a white sheet or background and bearing underneath the emblem in blue letters the word "Illinois" and being an actual reproduction of the great seal, except for the outer ring, for use as a State banner or insignia under the conditions and subject to the restrictions provided by the laws of the United States and the State of Illinois as to the United States or State flag or ensign.
   (b) It is lawful for the Secretary of State as custodian of the "great seal of the State of Illinois" to permit at his or her discretion the inspection and examination of the seal for the purpose of copying or reproducing the emblem only on the great seal for the uses and purposes authorized by this Section. (Source: P. A. 87§273.)


State Flags
State Flags
The flags of the US states exhibit a wide variety of regional influences and local histories, as well as widely different styles and design principles.
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