The flag of the state of Kentucky was officially authorized on March 26, 1918. The 1918 flag act, which was adopted by the Kentucky General Assembly, mandated that the Kentucky state flag have a dark blue background. The flag must include the seal of the Commonwealth of Kentucky in the center, and the seal must be encircled by the goldenrod, Kentucky’s state flower. The original dimensions of the flag were not specified.
The original Kentucky state flag was not created until 1920, when a ceremony at Camp Zachary required its use. After this ceremony, a committee was formed to improve the design of the flag, but unfortunately, the committee’s work never reached the governor.
In 1927, Jouett Cannon, the Secretary of the Kentucky Historical Society, commissioned a Frankfort art teacher, Jesse Cox, to design an official Kentucky state flag. The flag Cox designed is very similar to the current Kentucky state flag.
The Kentucky state flag’s design was officially codified in 1961–1962, when Kentucky Adjunct General, Major Taylor L. Davidson researched historical designs of previous Kentucky state flags and commissioned artist Harold Collins to produce three designs of the Kentucky state flag. After Kentucky Governor Bert Combs approved one of the designs, the Kentucky Legislature passed a more detailed bill in 1962 to codify the design of the state flag and eliminate uncertainties.
The Kentucky state flag we see today adheres to the original flag act and includes the dark blue background, seal of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and goldenrod flowers. The seal of the Commonwealth of Kentucky depicts two friends, a frontiersman and a statesman embracing. According to popular belief, the frontiersman is Daniel Boone, who explored much of Kentucky, and the statesman is Henry Clay, Kentucky’s most famous politician; the official explanation of the seal, however, claims that the figures represent all frontiersmen and statesmen. The words “UNITED WE STAND, DIVIDED WE FALL,” encircle the men in the seal and refer to lyrics from the popular American Revolution tune, “The Liberty Song.” In addition to the goldenrod flowers, the words “COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY” also encircle the seal.