TheNorthernLight

/February2009

9

39stars,which,accordingtoalabelwiththeflag,was
onlylegalforthreeseconds.Theflagdatesto1889
whenNorthandSouthDakotabecamestates.There
wassomedebateastowhethertherewouldbeone
Dakotastateortwo.Themakerofthisflaggambled
ontheideathattherewouldbeonestate.Instead,the
officialAmericanflagchangedfrom38starsto43in
1890,recognizingnotonlytheadditionofthesepa-
ratestatesofNorthDakotaandSouthDakota,but
alsoMontanaandWashington(addedinNovember
1889)andIdaho(addedinJuly1890).The39-star
flagwasneveraformaldesign.

Toconclude,wereturntotheimagethatbegan

thisarticle—theyoungmandressedinKnights
TemplarregaliacradlingtheAmericanflag.Frater-
nalsandflagsseemtogohandinhand;themuseum
collectionincludesasmallselectionofflagsrepre-
sentingspecificfraternities.Oneofthemorerecent
additionstothisgroupisaflagfortheFraternal
OrderofEagles,probablydatingtotheearly1900s.
Foundedin1898,theFraternalOrderofEagles
beganwhensixSeattletheaterownerscametogether
todiscussamusiciansstrike.Afterhandlingthat
issue,themenagreedtoburythehatchetandforman
organizationcalled“TheOrderofGoodThings.”A
coupleofmonthslater,theyadoptedtheirnewname
andwroteaconstitutionthataskedmembers“to
makehumanlifemoredesirablebylesseningitsills
andpromotingpeace,prosperity,gladnessandhope.”

Mostearlymemberswereactors,stagehandsand
playwrightswhowereundoubtedlyattractedtothe
medicalandfuneralbenefitsofferedbytheorganiza-
tion.Withinitsfirsttenyears,theFraternalOrderof
Eagleshad1800lodgesintheUnitedStates,Canada
andMexicowithover350,000members.

AmericanFreemasonsandmembersofotherfra-

ternitiesroutinelyusedbothAmericanandfraternal

flagsintheirlodges,atevents,inparadesandintheir
homes.RegaliacompanyWhiteheadandHoagof
Newark,NJ,publishedcatalogsdevotedsolelytoflags
inadditiontotheirfraternalsupplycatalogs.TheVan
Gorden-WilliamsLibrary&Archiveshasalargecol-
lectionofregaliaandsupplycatalogs,including“Flag
CatalogueNo.7”fromWhiteheadandHoag,pub-
lishedin1894.Thecompanyofferedawidevarietyof
Americanflags—insatin,cotton,buntingand
muslin,sewed,printed,trimmedanduntrimmed.
Pricesrangedfrom14½centsto$78,dependingon
size,materialsandtrimming.Theyalsoreminded
customersthattheyhadtheflagsof50differentna-
tionsinstock.And,thecompanyofferedavarietyof
smallflags,mountedonsticks,foralistoffraternal
organizationsincludingFreemasons,KnightsTem-
plar,theGARandagroupcalledtheSonsofVeter-
ans.Unfortunately,theFraternalOrderofEaglesflag
inthemuseum’scollectiondoesnothaveamaker’s
label,butitsexistenceincatalogs,suchasthatof
WhiteheadandHoag,showthattheseflagswereeas-
ilyavailable.

AttheNationalHeritageMuseum,weuseflags

fromourcollectiontoteachourvisitorsaboutthe
pastandalsotoremindthemofconnectionstothe
presentandfuture.Anenduringsymbol,theflaghas
evolvedovertheentirecourseofAmericanhistory.
Whatdoesitmeantoyou?Doyouhaveanunusual
flagoronefromaMasonicorfraternalorganization
thatyouwouldliketodonate?Pleasecontact

AimeeNewell,CuratorofCollection,byemail
atanewell@monh.orgorbyphoneat
781-457-4144.

NL

Fraternal Order of
Eagles Flag, 
1898-1930, probably
American, National
Heritage Museum,
gift of Barry and 
Barbara Bayon.  
Photograph by 
David Bohl.

Carte-de-visite

of unidentified

boy, ca. 1880, 

National 

Heritage 

Museum, 

gift of 

Jacques Noel 

Jacobsen Jr.