Appraisal Report:
United States 45-star flag

September 10, 2007, Rebecca Romanchuk, Accessions Archivist

Agency: Originating agency or donor unknown

Contact(s): none known

Obsolete record series? No.

Replaced by:

Ongoing record series? Artifact

Annual accumulation: n/a

Agency holdings: One 45-star United States flag, possibly once kept in a drawer with other flags in the TSLAC Pease Room, according to Chris LaPlante, State Archivist. This flag was found in a records storage box in G1 with six other flags that may have been flown in front of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission building (a current United States flag, a Confederate flag with seven stars, a Texas Republic/State flag, a Mexican flag, a French fleurs-de-lis flag, and an ANV Confederate flag, all five feet by eight feet except the last flag in the list, which is four feet by six feet; no Spanish flag was found.) These six other flags were turned over to Eric Carleton, Inventory Service Technician, for disposal. Since the TSLAC building was completed in 1961, well after the era this 45-star flag was in use, it seems highly unlikely that this flag was ever flown in front of it.

Description: This is a 45-star United States flag, with the canton containing six rows of stars; the first, fourth, and sixth rows having eight stars; the other three rows having seven stars (all centered with the eight-star rows, except for the third row, which is flush left with the eight-star rows). It measures 4 feet by 7 feet and is made of thin woolen fabric that has faded, with a 3.5 inch by 3.75 inch patch of white cotton fabric on the second white stripe to repair an L-shaped loss of fabric. The flag has many areas of weakened fabric on close inspection. There are four brass grommets on the cotton twill edging along the hoist end, on the back of which is written in blurred black ink (apparently by a large felt-tip marker), "F." near the top, and "IV IIX." near the bottom, next to a purple-ink stamp of "Ladd and Tilton (Bank)" (the last word is possibly "Bank" but difficult to make out.) "Ladd Tilton" is written in faded black pen ink on the front bottom of the twill edging, and another purple-ink stamp of "Ladd and Tilton Bank" is at the front top of the twill edging, with "Bank" being nearly legible. Ladd and Tilton was a banking firm established by William Sargent Ladd (1826-1893) in Portland, Oregon in 1859, as the first bank north of San Francisco on the west coast. The bank was acquired by U.S. National Bank (also of Portland) in 1925 (known as U.S. Bancorp since 1968, and having a presence in Texas since 1980; after several mergers it has been based in Minneapolis since 1997). Ladd was elected mayor of Portland in 1854, was a successful businessman and philanthropist, and his estate was worth over ten million dollars when he died. I have found no connection between Texas and Ladd or the Ladd and Tilton Bank in biographies of Ladd I located on the Internet, although he was a leading advocate and benefactor for the first subscription library in Portland.

The 45-star flag became the official United States flag on July 4, 1896. A star was added for the admission to the Union of Utah on January 4, 1896. The 45-star flag was in use for 12 years, until July 4, 1908 with the addition of a star for the state of Oklahoma, admitted to the Union on November 16, 1907. Charles A. Culberson, Joseph D. Sayers, S.W.T. Lanham, and Thomas Mitchell Campbell were Governors of Texas during this period. Presidents to serve under this flag were Grover Cleveland, William McKinley, and Theodore Roosevelt.

Purpose: Possibly flown by the Ladd and Tilton Bank in Portland, Oregon at the corner of First and Stark Streets, between 1896 and 1908.

Agency Program: n/a

Arrangement: n/a

Access Constraints: n/a

Use Constraints: The flag is not exceedingly fragile and can be handled without causing visible damage, but weaknesses in the fabric have caused a few holes and near-holes, and its preservation requires proper storage. Ideal storage would be flat in an oversized map drawer, but an alternative would be to roll in acid-free tissue onto an acid-free core and keep in an acid-free enclosure. It would also benefit from cleaning and stabilization by a professional conservator, if its value warranted it.

Indexes or finding aids required for/or an aid to access? n/a

Problems: See Use Constraints above.

Known related records in other agencies: none known

Previous destructions: n/a

Publications based on records: none known

Internet pages based on records: These are the web pages I found having to do with William Ladd and the Ladd and Tilton Bank:

Google Book search for "ladd and tilton" resulted in links to the Biographical Dictionary of American Business Leaders, page 747; Sixty Milestones of Progress, 1859-1919: Ladd and Tilton Bank, Portland, Oregon; and the Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science, page 131, which notes that Ladd was the first president of the Board of Directors of Portland's first subscription library in 1864, and provided space for the library in his bank building.

Biographical information for William S. Ladd, without references, but mirroring the facts from the published sources found through Google Book search.

U.S. Bancorp history, including its predecessor's early merger with the Ladd and Tilton Bank.

A blog entry with a well-documented architectural history of the ornate Ladd and Tilton Bank building (inspired by the Libreria Vecchia in Venice, another library connection), which was torn down and replaced with a parking lot in the early 1950s.

Series data from agency schedule: or Equivalent series from state Records Retention Schedule: n/a

Texas Documents Collection holdings: none found

Archival holdings: none found

Archival holdings of related records: none found

Gaps? n/a

Appraisal Decision: I recommend keeping the flag until further research can be carried out (as detailed below), housing it in an appropriate manner described above, and in the future possibly contacting an appraiser knowledgeable in flags to determine its value, if an appraisal fee is affordable. The 45-star flag may be the third most-common antique flag, after the 13-star and 48-star flags, according to one Internet source I have not been able to determine any further provenance other than, from its markings, that it may have been flown by the Ladd and Tilton Bank in Portland, Oregon at the corner of First and Stark Streets, between 1896 and 1908. Its chain of custody between that presumed origin and the Texas State Library and Archives Commission is as yet unknown, as is any connection it may have to Texas history.

Is the Texas State Archives the most appropriate repository for this flag? The Oregon Historical Society Library has 2.5 cubic ft. of William Sargent Ladd papers, as well as Ladd correspondence in other collections. Would they be interested in this flag? I found no other holder of Ladd material in NUCMC, other than a portfolio of dictated reminiscences by Ladd and his wife, contained within another collection; and business records of A.E. and C.E. Tilton which include Ladd and Tilton records, both at the University of California-Berkeley.

If, after a reasonably thorough search, no documentation is found in our agency and donor files to shed light on this flag's provenance and chain of custody, and no connection between the flag and Texas history is apparent, and the flag is found to have no significant monetary value that would benefit TSLAC through its sale, I recommend offering it to the Oregon Historical Society, or to the University of California-Berkeley, to add to their holdings related to the Ladd and Tilton Bank. If neither repository expresses an interest in accepting the flag, I recommend finding another appropriate home for the flag, perhaps through a vexillologist group.

Page last modified: August 10, 2011