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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Dillingham - First Flag of the United States - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

As the 4th of July approaches, this is a bit early, but the story of our 1st flag (and how to make 5-pointed stars) needs telling.

I sometimes say I'm Origami-impaired, but even so I love this story.  Thank heavens Betsy Ross's uncle knew her talent, including folding a 5-pointed star.  This came from the same book, "Tell It Again" Stories, by Elizabeth Thompson Dillingham and Adelle Powers Emerson I mentioned at the start of June.  That article is worth another look and the entire book is available at, including several holiday stories. 

While you're looking back here, remember all the rest of June I had puppetry-related articles and would love to see you at the Great Lakes Regional Puppetry Festival in Detroit, July 25-27.  It's not too late, but it was the June focus of this blog to give you plenty of time to schedule it.  Hope to see you at my own workshop,  A to Z, Puppets Are Easy, so you can...

This is part of a series of postings of stories under the category, "Keeping the Public in Public Domain."  The idea behind Public Domain was to preserve our cultural heritage after the authors and their immediate heirs were compensated.  I feel strongly current copyright law delays this intent on works of the 20th century.  My own library of folklore includes so many books within the Public Domain I decided to share stories from them.  I hope you enjoy discovering new stories. 

At the same time, my own involvement in storytelling regularly creates projects requiring research as part of my sharing stories with an audience.  Whenever that research needs to be shown here, the publishing of Public Domain stories will not occur that week.  This is a return to my normal monthly posting of a research project here.  Response has convinced me that "Keeping the Public in Public Domain" should continue along with my monthly postings as often as I can manage it.    

There are many online resources for Public Domain stories, none for folklore is as ambitious as fellow storyteller, Yoel Perez's database, Yashpeh, the International Folktales Collection.  I recommended it earlier and want to continue to do so.  Have fun discovering even more stories!


Rivka the Storyteller said...

The Betsy Ross story might be folklore or fact, we aren't sure. It became popular many decades after the revolution. However, being from New Jersey (the little state with an amazing but often unknown history) I have to mention Francis Hopkinson, the man who claimed to deaign the flag. After the war he asked congress to pay him for his design, congress declined and wrote that Hopkinson was "not the only person to contributed to the design." So in 1780 congress acknowledged that he was "one of the designers" Here's a link.

Lois Sprengnether Keel said...

Thanks, Rivka. Appreciate the link as much as I appreciate the possible myth and those 5-pointed stars.