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17 September 1788 flag (U.S.)


Last modified: 2018-12-31 by rick wyatt
Keywords: united states | 17 september 1788 |
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[17 September flag] image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 27 February 2016
based on photo submitted by John Switzer, 14 November 2012

See also:

Description of the flag

I have seen a picture of it at the Indiana state house, and researched it. After the ratification of the Constitution, evidently, it was carried in a procession in Philadelphia. Here is the story from the President Nixon Library:
John Switzer, 14 November 2012

This is a reference to one of several flags carried in the 4 July 1788, Federal Grand Procession in Philadelphia. See Hopkinson, Francis, Account of the Grand Federal Procession, Philadelphia, July 4, 1788, Philadelphia, M. Carey, Printer, 1788.

"AN ACCOUNT OF THE GRAND FEDERAL PROCESSION PERFORMED AT PHILADELPHIA ON FRIDAY THE 4TH OF JULY 1788" by Francis Hopkinson, Page 3, Section XI. CONVENTION OF THE STATES. The honourable Peter Muhlenburg, esq. on horseback, carrying a blue flag, with the words SEVENTEENTH OF SEPTEMBER, 1787, in silver letters.

This flag, and others from the described by Hopkinson as being in the procession, were reproduced by Annin & Co. at the request of the National Flag Foundation in the 1980s for sale to the general public as a fund raiser.
Jim Ferrigan, 15 November 2012

According to the article it's a 1788 invention. It says:
"The Daughters of the American Revolution will commemorate America's nationwide Constitution Week by flying the Constitution flag at the Richard Nixon Library beginning Monday, September 17 through Friday September, 21. The week long tribute celebrates the Constitution's stand as America's defining document of liberty. The Constitution flag reads "SEVENTEENTH of SEPTEMBER 1787," to honor the day that the Constitution was adopted by the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The original Constitution flag was carried through the streets of Philadelphia in the Grand Federal Procession parade, a celebration on the adoption and ratification of the Constitution, on July 4, 1788."

A version with what looks like a lighter shade of blue, can be seen in this article:, about the DAR active in Little Rock.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 15 November 2012

From Hopkinson's "Account of the Grand Federal Procession,"
"The honourable Peter Muhlenberg, esq. on horseback carrying a blue flag, with the words--'Seventeenth of September, 1787,' in silver letters."

This was one of several flags commemorating key dates along the way from the declaration of independence to the Constitution, such as:

For the Declaration of Independence: "John Nixon, esq. on horseback, bearing the staff and cap of liberty; under the cap a white silk flag, with these words, 'Fourth of July, 1776' in large gold letters."

For the French alliance: "Thomas Fitzsimons, esq. on horseback, carrying a flag of white silk, bearing three fleurs de lys, and thirteen stars in union, over the words, 'Sixth of February, 1778,' in gold characters."

Hopkinson also mentions a number of other flags carried by craft guilds and other civic groups, as well as flags honoring General Washington, the various allies of the U.S. during the war, etc.

Joe McMillan, 17 November 2012