As “Old Glory” takes center stage later this week when the nation observes the Independence Day holiday, Southeast Missouri State University is celebrating the recent addition of “The 30 Star Flag” to its Special Collections and Archives.
This piece of history, which became the official flag of the United States on July 4, 1848, recently was donated to Southeast by Dr. George Ann Huck of Commerce, Missouri. The flag commemorates the addition of Wisconsin as the 30th state in the Union. Despite having voted against becoming a state four times, Wisconsins voted to approve statehood on May 29, 1848. “The 30 Star Flag” was the official flag until 1851 when a new star was added after California was admitted to the Union in 1850.
The flag recently made its way to Southeast’s Special Collections and Archives in Kent Library thanks to a gift from Dr. Huck after it was discovered in an attic.
Valuing material culture and understanding the importance of historic preservation has always been a part of Huck’s fabric, so naturally she took the steps to ensure its appropriate care and place in history, said Roxanne Dunn, Special Collections and Archives librarian.
“Here in Special Collections & Archives, we are incredibly grateful to Dr. Huck for her willingness to donate such a historic flag,” Dunn said. “This incredible item has already been used in teaching demonstrations about preservation of rare materials, and we’ve shown it off to several tour groups already. It’s an incredible piece that really elevates our collections.”
When the flag arrived in Special Collections and Archives, it had been stored in a wooden frame. Since then, archivists at Southeast have taken preservation quality images of the flag to provide visitors and historians safe access to the flag without damaging its delicate fabric. Dunn said the flag represents a stitch in time and that the University is grateful to be the repository of this extraordinary gift.
About Dr. George Ann Huck
Huck attended Central Methodist University, Autonomous National University of Mexico and Tulane University. She went on to become a professor at Central College in Iowa and the director of the cross-cultural study program in the Yucatan. She has coordinated and worked with various human rights networks, including Indignacion and Por Nuestros Derechos, Mujeres en Red.