North American Vexillological Association

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Flag of the North American Vexillological Association.

The North American Vexillological Association (NAVA; French: Association nord-américaine de vexillologie) is a US and Canadian membership organization for those two countries devoted to vexillology, the scientific and scholarly study of flags. It was founded in 1967 by American vexillologist Whitney Smith (1940-2016), and others.

The association publishes Raven: A Journal of Vexillology, an annual peer-reviewed journal, the Flag Research Quarterly, for vexillological topics and inter-disciplinary discussion, and NAVA News, a newsletter covering the Association's proceedings and other vexillological news.[1]

The association honors achievement in the field with several honors and awards:

  • Whitney Smith Fellows: an individual who makes an outstanding contribution to North American vexillology may be elected to this honor by the association's executive board. An honoree is entitled to use the postnominals "WSF";
  • Honorary membership: an individual who renders distinguished service to the association that otherwise furthers the purposes of the association may receive this honor. It is restricted to persons who are not members and past presidents of the association;
  • Captain William Driver Award: presented to the individual who presents the best paper at the association's annual meeting;
  • Kevin Harrington Award: presented to the individual who authors the best article to appear in a non-vexillological publication during the preceding year;
  • John Purcell Award: presented to an individual for an exemplary contribution that promotes public understanding of vexillology in North America;
  • Doreen Braverman Award: presented to an organizational member who supports the association’s mission by making a significant contribution to the vexillological community; and
  • Presidential citations: presented to members who make significant contributions to the association or to vexillology but whose accomplishments do not fall within the criteria for other awards.[2]

The association is a charter member of the International Federation of Vexillological Associations, and is among the largest vexillological organizations in the world.

Principal officers, 2018-19[edit]

  • President: Peter Ansoff
  • First Vice President: Steven A. Knowlton
  • Second Vice President: Stanley Contrades
  • Secretary: Ted Kaye
  • Treasurer: Jim Ferrigan
  • Editor, Raven: A Journal of Vexillology: Scott Mainwaring
  • Editor, Vexillum: Steven A. Knowlton

Organization flag[edit]

The association's flag consists of a large white "V" (an inverted chevron) separating a blue triangle above from two red triangles on either side. The length of the top side of the blue triangle is the same as the width of the flag. (Note that a flag's "width" is its vertical dimension when flying from a flagpole.) The flag proportion is 2:3.

The "V" represents vexillology. The colors are taken from the flags of the two countries covered by the association: Canada (red and white) and the United States (red, white, and blue).

Annual meetings and meeting flags[edit]

Since 1967, the association has held annual meetings across the United States and Canada for all those interested in flags to present and discuss research and to honor vexillological achievement. Since 1977, it has marked each meeting with a distinctive flag.

Name Location and dates Meeting flag Designer(s) Meeting flag description
NAVA 0 Boston, MA
3 June 1967
none n/a The flag of the Flag Research Center was used for this meeting.
NAVA 1 Purchase, NY
18 November 1967
none n/a n/a
NAVA 2 Chillum, MD
12–13 October 1968
none n/a n/a
NAVA 3 Boston, MA
6–7 September 1969
none n/a As the site for ICV 3, that meeting flag was used.
NAVA 4 Pittsburgh, PA
10–11 October 1970
none n/a n/a
NAVA 5 Ottawa, ON
23–24 October 1971
none n/a n/a
NAVA 6 Chicago, IL
28–29 October 1972
none n/a n/a
NAVA 7 Valley Forge, PA
2–4 November 1973
none n/a n/a
NAVA 8 Baltimore, MD
12–14 October 1974
none n/a n/a
NAVA 9 Cleveland, OH
12–14 October 1975
none n/a n/a
NAVA 10 Toronto, ON
8–10 October 1976
none n/a n/a
NAVA 11 Washington, D.C.
10–14 June 1977
NAVA11MeetingFlag.png Steve Stringfellow The flag shows the NAVA colors (blue, red, and white) in an emblem resembling a lowercase N, the "77" in 1977, and the number 11.
NAVA 12 Montgomery, AL
7–9 October 1978
Nava12.gif Charles Brannon
NAVA 13 Salem, MA
5–8 October 1979
Nava13.gif Alfred Znamierowski A field of 13 alternating red and black horizontal stripes on which is centered a witch riding a broomstick. It refers to the host city's famous witchcraft trials, and to triskaidekaphobia, fear of the number 13.
NAVA 14 St. Louis, MO
3–6 October 1980
Nava14.gif Dorothy Clayborne The flag is the NAVA flag defaced in the bottom center by a blue fleur-de-lis within a yellow circle, a reference to the host city's flag.
NAVA 15 Ottawa, ON
27–24 August 1981
NAVA15MeetingFlag.png Whitney Smith The flag shows an upright chevron, similar to the NAVA chevron, but in Canadian colours (red and white). Within the chevron is the maple leaf from the Canadian flag.
NAVA 16 Pittsburgh, PA
8–10 October 1982
Flag of NAVA Meeting 16.svg Alfred Znamierowski A yellow pennant with a double circle of 16 stars on a field of black was used; black and yellow are Pittsburgh's colors.
NAVA 17 New York City, NY
14–16 October 1983
Nava17.gif Phil Allen The flag features New York City's colors (blue, orange, and white) and an apple representing the city's nickname, "The Big Apple". Within the apple is hidden the number 17 reminiscent of the cutout tokens used by the New York City Transit Authority in the mid-20th century.
NAVA 18 Vancouver, BC
5–7 October 1984
Nava18.gif Ralph Holberg The flag is a mixture of elements from the Vancouver and NAVA flags. The crossed axe and gavel in the green pentagon are taken from the Vancouver flag and form an "X" for the Roman numeral for ten. The chevron forms a "V" for the Roman numeral for five, and the wavy bars are the Roman numeral "III", which combine to form XVIII denoting the 18th meeting.
NAVA 19 Kansas City, MO
11–13 October 1985
Nava19.gif Ralph Holberg The flag depicts the "heart" logo of Kansas City's former flag using the colors of the Kansas City and NAVA flags. Contained within the Kansas City logo is the Roman numeral for 19.
NAVA 20 Trenton, NJ
10–12 October 1986
Flag of NAVA Meeting 20.svg Jim Ferrigan The meeting flag incorporates "V"s for Vexillology that form "XX" (Roman numeral for 20), with the NAVA flag in the canton. The blue and gold reference the municipal flag of Trenton.
NAVA 21 San Francisco, CA
12–16 October 1987
Nava21.gif James Croft, Jim Ferrigan, and Whitney Smith The flag shows the phoenix and Mural crown that appear on the San Francisco flag. The background resembles the NAVA flag. This meeting was also the ICV 12 meeting.
NAVA 22 Portsmouth, NH
7–9 October 1988
Nava22.gif Ralph Holberg The flag depicts white yacht sails on a light blue background. Flying from the mast is a stylization of the NAVA flag as a pennant above the international maritime signal flags for the letters P, N, and H for Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
NAVA 23 Dallas, TX
20–22 October 1989
Nava23.gif John Purcell The meeting flag colors are those of the United States, Texas, Dallas, and NAVA. The star appears on both the Texas and Dallas flags and rests on the division with two points in the blue field and three in the red, indicating the 23rd meeting.
NAVA 24 Toronto, ON
5–7 October 1990
Nava24.gif Sandra Armstrong The flag includes the colours of NAVA and Toronto. The Trillium is used as the official symbol of Ontario.
NAVA 25 Minneapolis, MN
11–13 October 1991
Nava25.gif Kevin Harrington The flag shows blue and white, the Minneapolis colors, and is in the famous NAVA chevron shape. The yellow star in the center of the flag represents Minnesota framed by a red ribbon that forms the number 25.
NAVA 26 San Antonio, TX
9–11 October 1992
Nava26.gif John H. Gámez The NAVA chevron appears in red on the meeting flag, with five white stars. The number of the points on all of the stars is 26. A silhouette of the Alamo is located in the background.
NAVA 27 Portland, ME
8–11 October 1993
Flag of NAVA Meeting 27.svg John R. B. Szala The flag shows the NAVA colors. The eight-point blue star has an elongated arm pointing to the east, indicating Maine's position as the easternmost of the contiguous states, and the white pine tree is a symbol of the state.
NAVA 28 Portland, OR
8–10 October 1994
Nava28.gif Donald T. Healy Based on the NAVA flag, the design's two green triangles represent the mountains of Oregon; their color the green of the forests. The white is for the mountain's snow, the blue for the state's lakes and rivers. The beaver comes from the reverse of the Oregon state flag.
NAVA 29 Covington, KY
6–8 October 1995
Nava29.gif Secundino Fernandez The NAVA chevron appears in red with the letter C above. Both the waving blue lines and C appear on the flag of Cincinnati, the principal city of the region where the convention was held.
NAVA 30 Sacramento, CA
11–13 October 1996
Nava30.gif Richard A. Kenny and James J. Ferrigan III The flag is divided in half horizontally. The top half is white with the California bear and star in red taken from the California flag. The lower half is red with the Roman numeral for 30 in yellow, with a blue shadow on the flag.
NAVA 31 Chicago, IL
10–12 October 1997
Flag of NAVA Meeting 31.svg John M. Purcell The flag is the Chicago flag design bent in the shape of the NAVA chevron. The stars are grouped 3-1 to denote the 31st meeting.
NAVA 32 Québec City, QC
9–12 October 1998
Nava32.gif Jim Croft The flag shows the fleur-de-lis on the Québec flag. The NAVA chevron appears as a crenellated line, which appears as a border of the Québec City flag, and represents the walls of the old city.
NAVA 33 Victoria, BC
28 July-2 August 1999
Flag of NAVA Meeting 33.svg Truman G. Pope The flag shows a red, white, and blue NAVA chevron dividing the field. The area outside the chevron is dark blue with yellow waves, similar to the ones on the British Columbia flag. The field inside the chevron is divided in half vertically and coloured red and white. On the field is a counterchanged maple leaf.
NAVA 34 East Lansing, MI
6–8 October 2000
NAVA34.png John M. Purcell The flag shows a large letter M in the United States colors for Michigan. The letter is actually one "M" in red and another in white, denoting the Roman numeral for 2000, the year of the meeting. Hidden in the middle of the M is the NAVA chevron. The background of the flag is blue, like the Michigan flag.
NAVA 35 Norfolk, VA
5–7 October 2001
Nava35.gif Secundino Fernandez The V in Virginia and the NAVA chevron are put into one, and are located in the canton area of the flag. The background is blue, like the Virginia flag, and the flag incorporates elements of the flag of Hampton Roads.
NAVA 36 Aurora, CO
30 August-1 September 2002
Nava36.gif Secundino Fernandez and David Martucci The flag resembles the Denver flag, with enhancements to make the top part of the flag to look like the NAVA flag.
NAVA 37 Montréal, QC
10–12 October 2003
Nava37.gif Morgan Milner The flag has a cross, like the Montréal flag and the Québec flag. In the canton, the NAVA flag appears with a white fleur-de-lis in the chevron area, such as the ones on the Montréal and Québec flags.
NAVA 38 Indianapolis, IN
8–10 October 2004
Nava38.gif Jim Croft The flag shows the NAVA chevron on a background of black and white checks, representing the checkered flag used in auto racing, representing the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Within the chevron, a black-and-white version of the Indianapolis flag appears.
NAVA 39 Nashville, TN
7–9 October 2005
Nava39.gif James W. Ritchie The flag shows the NAVA chevron appearing as the blue bar on the right of the Tennessee flag. The circle and stars of the Tennessee flag appear within the chevron.
NAVA 40 Reno, NV
13–15 October 2006
Flag of NAVA Meeting 40.svg Sophie Rault The proportions of the flag are 5:8, it is swallow-tailed (as for NAVA 20 and NAVA 30). The blue field, the silver star in the canton and the golden-yellow stripe recall the Nevada state flag. The three blue-white-red stripes resemble the NAVA flag and the four stripes together celebrate 40 years of NAVA. The stripes are V-shaped for Vexillology.
NAVA 41 Glastonbury, CT
12–14 October 2007
Dean Thomas The three grape vines are from the state arms of Connecticut, and the blue and white colors recall the Connecticut state flag. The "V" motif symbolizes vexillology. The proportions are 3:5.
NAVA 42 Austin, TX
10–12 October 2008
Peter Krag (1839) Rectangle variant of the Texas revenue service flag, originally adopted in 1839.
NAVA 43 Charleston, SC
9–11 October 2009
John Purcell, Charles Spain, Ron Strachan, and Hugh Brady A purple crescent (for Charleston and Charles II) on a golden "sun in splendor" on a purple field, in 3:5 proportion. The "valleys" between the sun's rays are meant to evoke "v" for vexillology.
NAVA 44 Arcadia, CA
8–10 October 2010
William M. Belanich, Jr. The three colors of the flag of Los Angeles (green, yellow, and red) with the "44" in yellow located in the green field of the flag. The numerals also resemble a stylized angel representing Los Angeles. The red and green fields are separated by a yellow zig-zag containing the "v" for Vexillology.
NAVA 45 Alexandria, VA
1–5 August 2011
Anthony Burton The ICV 24 Congress flag was used.
NAVA 46 Columbus, OH
5–7 October 2012
NAVA46 flag.jpg William Belanich, Jr. The flag resembles a "slice" of the hoist of the Ohio flag. The white arc on a blue and red field is part of the "O" for Ohio on the state flag and also is a "C" for host city of Columbus. It is also a stylized chevron representing vexillology.
NAVA 47 Salt Lake City, UT
11–13 October 2013
John M. Hartvigsen The golden beehive is for Utah, the Beehive State; many early Utah flags used blue and white in their color schemes, which also visually describe the host city, white for salt and blue for the waters of the Great Salt Lake. The white cut “V” also symbolizes the valley between the Wasatch and Oquirrh mountain ranges. The two arcs of stars with four stars above and seven stars below symbolize that the gathering is NAVA’s 47th annual meeting. The large star below the beehive signifies the “Rising Star of Deseret” shown on many early flags of Utah history.
NAVA 48 New Orleans, LA
3–5 October 2014
Tony Burton, Zachary Harden and Keith Hammond The flag is a heraldic flag, described as Per fess dancetty Or and Purpure, each point ending in a fleur-de-lis, a crescent overall counter-changed. As is well known, New Orleans’s nickname is the Crescent City, owing to the way the Mississippi River bends its way through the city. The crescent design appears in many places, including the manhole covers used by the city. An early Allen & Ginter tobacco card shows a gold crescent on the city flag. It echoes the “o” used by Tony. The fess dancetty floretty uses the fleur-de-lis from the current city flag, and the fess is basically a “V” line evoking a “V” for vexillology, borrowing from Zach’s use of both the fleur-de-lis and the inverted chevron. The gold comes from the gold fleur-de-lis in the current city flag, used by both Tony and Zach, while the purple comes from the Mardi Gras colors as noted by Tony.
NAVA 49 Ottawa, Ontario
16–18 October 2015
Reid Reynolds, Ken Reynolds, and John Hartvigsen A simple and minimal design, the flag is restricted to red and white, the national colours of Canada. The white field also signifies snow and winter, the latter being the predominant season for most of the country on February 15, the actual anniversary of the Canadian flag. The silhouette next to the hoist depicts the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill, the well-known building that most represents Ottawa to the country and the world. The maple leaf in the upper fly represents the nation as a whole and is Canada's most well-known symbol. As in most cases, an indoors ceremonial variant of the flag was used with a gold fringe for opening and closing ceremonies.
NAVA 50 Campbell, California
14–16 October 2016
Tony Burton The white canton with the red star and red chevron symbolize the state of California using elements of the state flag. The red and gold chevrons at the fly represent the Spanish heritage of San Jose. The blue/white/red combinations at the top and bottom recall the NAVA flag, and symbolize NAVA’s role in documenting the continuity between past and present as part of its vexillological mission.

Two changes were made by the judges and the selection committee: the canton was changed from gold to white, and the star was reoriented with the point facing the hoist. The orientation of the star was a practical decision in view of the fact that the flag will most often be displayed vertically at future NAVA meetings.

NAVA 51 Boston, Massachusetts
13–14 October 2017
Inspired by the flag designed by Whitney Smith for NAVA 3/ICV 3, held in Boston in 1979, the flag displays the Continental Blue and Buff colors of the city of Boston. Three golden crowns first appeared on the arms of Boston, England, the place that gave the city its name. They also symbolize that NAVA 51 is our third annual meeting held in Boston. The three connected chevrons come from John Winthrop’s arms and symbolize the three mountains on Boston’s peninsula that gave Winthrop’s settlement its first name and are memorialized by the modern city’s Tremount Street, while also representing the three annual meetings held in Whitney Smith’s home town.
NAVA 52 Quebec City

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Publications: Overview". Retrieved 2016-10-17.,
  2. ^ "Honors". Retrieved 2013-02-24.,

External links[edit]