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  • Ariel Morabito

☆★☆ The Answer is: 42 ☆★☆

Donations to the Local History Collection take all forms. Though photographs and documents are our most-received items, our holdings include a diverse collection of artifacts that vary from silver baby spoons to heavy plumbing tools.

A recent addition to the artifact collection was a gift from Brian Pearsall, the son of E. Arrell Pearsall whose autobiography features in our Black History portal. When Mr. Pearsall visited the Local History Collection this past March, he presented us with a framed American flag. While rare items can be difficult to date to the exact year of manufacture, we know that that this flag was made in 1890 because it has 42 stars.

Referred to as a "flag that never was", the 42-star flag was created in anticipation of Idaho's admittance as a state after the date of July 4th. However, Idaho was admitted on July 3rd, which made the 42-star flag out-of-date for Independence Day, 1890. The 43-star flag was made the official Star-Spangled Banner for exactly one week, when it also became outdated upon Wyoming's admittance on July 10th. Unlike that flag, the 42-star flag was never declared official despite its creation.

Though we have little information about our 42-star flag, we know that it belonged to Eugene and Marcellena Pearsall, who raised eight children in Roslyn during the late 19th and early to mid-20th centuries. 131 years of existence have left the flag with considerable damage, however its zig-zagging six-by-seven grid of stars is mostly intact. Handsomely matted and framed behind glass, the flag has found its permanent home in the Local History Collection.

☆★☆From the Bryant Library Local History Collection, have a safe and happy July 4th!☆★☆


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