Whitney Smith

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Whitney Smith
Smith in 2007
Smith in 2007
Born (1940-02-26) February 26, 1940 (age 75)
Arlington, Massachusetts, U.S.
Nationality American
Occupation Vexillologist

Whitney Smith (born February 26, 1940) is a professional vexillologist and scholar of flags. The term vexillology, which he originated in his 1958 article Flags of the Arab World, refers to the scholarly analysis of all aspects of flags. In 1961, Smith and colleague Gerhard Grahl cofounded The Flag Bulletin (ISSN 0015-3370), the world's first journal about flags. The following year, Smith established The Flag Research Center which was located in Winchester, Massachusetts for 45 years. Smith retired from publishing The Flag Bulletin in 2011. He transferred the Center's library and archives in 2013 to The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at The University of Texas at Austin; The Flag Research Center was transferred to The Trust for Vexillology, a non-profit corporation that supports the Whitney Smith Flag Research Center at the Briscoe Center.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Smith was born in Arlington, Massachusetts on February 26, 1940. He received his A.B. from Harvard University and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Boston University. He was instructor and assistant professor of political science at Boston University from 1964 to 1970.[2]


Smith designed the proposal for the flag of Guyana which, after modification and addition of black and white, was adopted in 1966. It is also known as The Golden Arrowhead.
Smith also designed this flag as a proposed flag of Antarctica. Antarctica has no government or sovereign ruler and the flag has not been adopted in an official capacity by any organization.

Smith worked with Klaes Sierksma to organize the First International Congress of Vexillology (Muiderberg, Netherlands) in 1965. They joined Louis Mühlemann in founding the Fédération internationale des associations vexillologiques or International Federation of Vexillological Associations (known by its acronym FIAV), which was formally inaugurated in 1969. Smith was also responsible for founding the North American Vexillological Association (NAVA) in 1967. He is a Secretary-General Emeritus of FIAV and the President Emeritis of NAVA.[3]

Smith has written 27 books on the subject of flags, notably Flags Through the Ages and Across the World, The Flag Book of the United States, and Flag Lore of all Nations. Smith was the designer of the national flag of Guyana and has served as a vexillographer (flag designer) to a number of governments and organizations. In 1981, Smith was part of a committee who developed the flag of Bonaire.

Smith is a Laureate and a Fellow of FIAV, a Whitney Smith Fellow of NAVA (an honor named for him), a Fellow of The Flag Institute, and a Fellow of the Vexillological Association of the State of Texas.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Briscoe Center Acquires World-Class Flag History Collection: Vast archive preserves life work of Whitney Smith". Retrieved 3 March 2015. 
  2. ^ "Whitney Smith, PhD". Flag Research Center. Retrieved 21 October 2010. 
  3. ^ About/History.htm "NAVA History" Check |url= value (help). North American Vexillological Association. Retrieved 21 October 2010. 

External links[edit]