MISSOURI STATE SYMBOLS
On March 22, 1913, nearly 100 years after achieving statehood, Missouri adopted an official flag. The flag was designed by Mrs. Marie Elizabeth Watkins Oliver, wife of former State Senator Robert B. Oliver. The Olivers’ nephew, Sen. Arthur L. Oliver, introduced a bill to the General Assembly in 1909, 1911 and again in 1913 when it was finally adopted. The flag consists of three horizontal stripes of red, white and blue: the three colors of the United States flag. The Missouri coat of arms is centered over the stripes and encircled by a blue band containing 24 stars, which denotes that Missouri was the 24th state to join the Union.
Marie Oliver’s original flag was donated to the Missouri Secretary of State (SOS) in 1961 by the Olivers’ son Allen. The flag is silk with a hand-painted coat of arms. It was displayed in the Capitol Building from 1961 to 1980 when it was removed because of its fragile condition. Eight years later, SOS Roy Blunt, with the help of a penny drive by Missouri’s elementary school students, sent the flag to a conservator for restoration and conservation. Today, the SOS is proud to display the original state flag permanently in its lobby in Jefferson City.
Revised Statutes of Missouri (RSMo)
§10.020. Flag, official – design of – original design – where kept. – The official flag of the state of Missouri is rectangular in shape and its vertical width is to the horizontal length as seven is to twelve. It has one red, one white and one blue horizontal stripe of equal width; the red is at the top and the blue at the bottom. In the center of the flag there is a band of blue in the form of a circle enclosing the coat of arms in the colors as established by law on a white ground. The width of the blue band is one-fourteenth of the vertical width of the flag and the diameter of the circle is one-third of the horizontal length of the flag. In the blue band there are set at equal distances from each other twenty-four five pointed stars. The original copy of the design shall be kept in the office of the secretary of state. The flag shall conform to the design set out on adjoining page 154, RSMo 1949. (Laws 1913, p. 349, H.B. 329; R.S. 1919, §11609; R.S. 1929, §14313; R.S. 1939, §15438; R.S. 1949, §10.080; A.L. 1957 S.B. 82 §10.020)
approved 13 June 1957
effective 28 August 1957
Click on an image below to enlarge and read a caption. This will open a new window in the Missouri State Symbols Flickr album.
See the Secretary of State’s kids page online here.
The Missouri State Archives maintains a manuscript collection MS435 Marie Oliver State Flag Collection, finding aid online here.
Oliver, Allen L. “The Missouri State Flag.” Missouri Historical Review, 52 no. 1 (October 1957): 35-39.
Oliver, Robert Burett. “History of the State Flag of Missouri.” Missouri Historical Review, 13 no. 3 (April 1919): 226-231.
Soodalter, Ron. “The History of Missouri’s Flag.” Missouri Life Magazine, July 11, 2019. https://missourilife.com/the-history-of-missouris-flag/
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