Vice Presidential Flag
This month we highlight a Vice Presidential flag as our featured artifact. As with the Presidential flag, it was the Navy that first recognized the need for a Vice Presidential flag, such that it could be flown when the executive was aboard a ship. In anticipation of a trip in 1915 on which Vice President Thomas R. Marshall would be representing President Woodrow Wilson, Navy officials noted that there was not yet a flag for the Vice President, and that one should be created. The Secretary and Assistant Secretary of the Navy chose to use a version of the Presidential flag of the time, but with a white background instead of blue. On the white background was centered the image of the Great Seal of the United States—essentially the eagle holding arrows in one talon and olive branches in the other, with a cloud containing thirteen stars above. This flag was used a few times, but was never officially adopted.
In 1936, President Franklin Roosevelt issued the executive order that authorized the first official Vice Presidential flag. Once again, the flag acted as a sort of “inverse” Presidential flag, using a white background instead of blue, and a blue eagle instead of a mostly white one. Like the Presidential flag and that of other high government officials, the flag had a star in each corner.
background. In this version the eagle holds only one arrow and olive branch, and is surrounded by a ring of thirteen stars. This particular example is 12’ high by 6’ 8” wide, made primarily of wool bunting, and dates to about 1950.
The version featured here is not the one in use today however. The flag would undergo another redesign in 1975, as President Ford’s Vice President Nelson Rockefeller was unhappy with the 1948 design. This current version largely returns to the look of the 1936-1948 flag, with the white background, Vice Presidential Coat of Arms in the middle, and four large blue stars surrounding it. In this version however, the eagle is brown and white instead of the blue used in the earlier example.