Mary Pickersgill and the Star Spangled Banner

Presidential History Blog

Most people today know the story, true or legend or both, of Betsy Ross.

The Original Flag

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The legendary Betsy Ross

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The original design

In 1776 (or thereabouts) it is said that George Washington himself, or a small delegation from Congress, approached seamstress Betsy Ross of Philadelphia to design and make the flag, which she did. That may be debatable, but her house still stands in Philly, and visitors are always welcome.

Fast Forward Nearly 40 years

By 1812, the USA had rooted and grown. As new states were admitted, the flag had been adjusted accordingly: Fifteen stripes and fifteen stars. But the addition made the flag design unwieldy, and while the original thirteen stripes would remain, only new stars would be added. But that had not been in effect by the War of 1812.

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The unwieldy 15 stars and stripes

Also by 1812, Baltimore, MD had become the third…

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