Archives On The Air 23: The Monarch of the Plains—The Design of Wyoming's Flag

Jul 18, 2018

In 1919 Wyoming held a competition to design the state flag; a flag that would embody Wyoming’s heritage and accurately represent its ideals.

Thirty-seven designs were submitted to the competition by members of the Daughters of the Revolution. Verna Keyes submitted the winning design

The blue reminds us of the open sky and distant mountains.

The emblematic buffalo serves as the “monarch of the plains”

A professor at UW, Grace Raymond Hebard, later edited the flag so the bison faced left – a clear representation of westward expansion.

The red border represented in the words of Keyes “Red Men who knew and loved our country long before us” and the blood of the pioneers who fought to “reclaim it.”

White surrounds the flag to demonstrate the “purity and uprightness over Wyoming.”

The symbols of our state flag are drenched in the Manifest-Destiny vernacular used at the time of westward expansion.

What do you think our flag represents now?

Come decide for yourself in the Grace Raymond Hebard or Verna Keyes’ Papers at UW’s American Heritage Center.