1908 Flag Mystery

George Gardner’s granddaughter sent me a scan of a photo of the 1908 Carlisle Indian School band. George’s brother, William, was better known than George due to his exploits on the football field, the sidelines and alongside Eliot Ness. However, George was quite active at Carlisle and also played on the football team. In the photo below, he is in the second row from the top, third from the left.

George’s great-grandson doesn’t think the flag in the photo is a 1908 flag. My eyes aren’t good enough to determine whether it is or not. On Saturday, November 16, 1908 the areas that had previously been known as Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory were admitted into the union as our 46th state. The flag necessarily changed as a result because a star was added.

Below are images of the 45-star flag that was used from 1896 to 1908 and the flag that was used from 1908 to 1912. My eyes aren’t good enough to determine which is in the photo, so I did a little detective work. This photo appeared on the front page of the January 31, 1908 edition of Carlisle’s school newspaper, The Arrow. The photo does not appear to have been taken in the winter. The photo had to have been taken before January 31, 1908 and in good weather. Therefore, it was likely taken when the flag had only 45 stars.

Perhaps someone with sharper eyes or a higher resolution photo can prove me wrong. Keep in mind that US flags never expire. It is always proper to display an older version of the flag provided it is in good shape.

 carlisle band 1908

US Flag 1896-1908

us-1896

US Flag 1908-1912

us-1908

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