Myth: Betsy Ross designed the first American flag.
Fact: The legend is that General George Washington visited Betsy Ross at
her shop in Philadelphia in June of 1776 where they discussed various flag designs and settled on seven red and
white stripes and thirteen stars arranged in a circle. While it has has been verified that Washington was in
Philadelphia in June of 1776 there is no mention of this in his diary.
It is known that on New Year's Day of 1776, Washington flew a flag over his camp near Boston
consisting of thirteen red and white stripes along with two crosses (familiar British Symbols). The earliest
documentation of a flag consisting of thirteen red and white stripes and thirteen stars on a blue field was in a
resolution of the Continental Congress on June 14, 1777.
It wasn't until 1870 - almost 100 years after the fact - that the legend began when it was told
by Betsy Ross's grandson William J. Canby. Supposedly, she had told him this story in 1836. While it is
possible that Betsy Ross sewed the flag, the evidence does not support the claim that she designed it.
INTERESTING BOOKS ABOUT
THE AMERICAN FLAG
Stars and Stripes: The Story of the American
The American Flag (Welcome Books)
The Flag We Love