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What Is the History of Wyoming's State Flag?

Wyoming's state flag was adopted in 1917.
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  • Written By: Marjorie McAtee
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 09 October 2014
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Wyoming's state flag was designed in 1916 by Verna Keays, winner of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) contest for a state flag design. The flag Keays designed was officially adopted on 13 January 1917. It depicts a white silhouette of a bison upon a blue background, with the state seal of Wyoming superimposed over the bison. Wyoming's state flag is bordered with two stripes — a narrow white inner stripe and a thicker red outer stripe.

The Wyoming DAR, headed by state regent Dr. Grace Raymond Hebard, are credited with being the first to recognize Wyoming's need for an official state flag in 1916. The organization spearheaded efforts choose a flag by sponsoring a design contest and offering an honorarium of $20 US Dollars (USD) to the chosen designer. About 37 designs were submitted to the DAR. Verna Keays, a graduate of the Art Institute of Chicago, submitted the winning design, which she claimed came to her in the middle of the night.

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The colors and symbols found on Wyoming's state flag are representative of that state's history, resources, and pride. While the colors of Wyoming's state flag mimic the colors of the United States flag, they are also generally interpreted as being specifically symbolic of the values of Wyoming residents. The white that appears on Wyoming's state flag symbolize the state's land and sky, as well as its people's faithfulness, strength, and equability. The use of the color red for Wyoming's state flag honors the settlers who risked their lives to found the state of Wyoming, as well as the Native Americans who lived there prior to European-American expansion into the area.

The bison appears on the flag because it is Wyoming's official state animal symbol. The state's seal, which appears on the flag, depicts a miner and a cattle rancher. These images represent the importance of these industries to the state's history.

A female figure holding a flag that reads "Equal Rights" is depicted on the Wyoming state seal. This is considered a reference to Wyoming's status as the first state to grant female suffrage. Wyoming women gained the right to vote in 1869.

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