Monday, November 12, 2012

South Dakota's State Flag: Designed by Father and Son

The official flag of South Dakota.
South Dakota is the 40th state. It's statehood date in November 2, 1889. It's flag is distinctive in terms of its clear colors, uncrowded symbols, and the fact that it originally was designed by a father and then, years later, revised by his son.

In 1909, when it had been a state for just 20 years, South Dakota designed its first state flag. Doane Robinson, president of the South Dakota Historical Society, designed the flag with Senator Ernest May. It featured a large sun on one side and the Montana State Seal on the other side. Robinson was a newspaper editor, historian, and school teacher. He is credited with being a driving force behind Mount Rushmore.

Fifty-four years later in 1963, the flag was redesigned by Doane Robinson's son, Will. Will Robinson combined both images into the new flag's design so that the state seal is featured in the center of a light blue field. The seal, which dates to 1885 and the South Dakota Constitutional Convention, has a yellow border of sun rays surrounding it. The state name is above and the state nickname, the Mount Rushmore State, is below.

An alternate version of the South Dakota flag with the sun symbol, State Seal, and original state motto.

The original South Dakota flag, c. 1909, had two sides. One side had the sun emblem and the other, the State Seal. "The sunshine state" was the original state motto but as it became better associated with Florida, the state motto was changed to the completely distinct, Mount Rushmore State.

Let it fly!

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