L312 Spring 2019 The Flag of the United States: Origins, Myths, and Legends
Tuesdays, 9:40–11:05, May 7–May 14
Instructor: Peter Ansoff
The flag of the United States is a familiar and popular symbol, and it is the subject of hundreds of books. However, our knowledge of its origins is actually rather sparse, and writers’ attempts to fill the void have produced a thicket of mythology and misinformation. This course will cover the historical evidence for the origins of the American flag and some of the many myths that have become attached to it over the years, including the famous story of Betsy Ross. It will also discuss the patchwork of rules for handling and displaying the flag and some of the controversies these rules have generated.
Peter Ansoff retired in 2018 from a career as a support contractor for US Navy ship acquisition programs. He is a member of the North American Vexillological Association (an international organization dedicated to the study of flags) and is currently serving as its president. His other interests include maritime history and lighter-than-air aviation history.