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Hadley, Paul Indiana State Flag Design, c. 1917


Paul Hadley was born in Indianapolis and lived in Mooresville, in Morgan County. He studied under Otto Stark at Emmerich Manual Training School in Indianapolis, and attended the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art in Philadelphia. He also attended the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. He first concentrated on church windows, then spent 10 years in design and interior decorating, and eventually taught at the Herron Art Institute for 10 years. Hadley also painted many murals for homes. He often rode the interurban trolley to a rural spot and then hiked until he found a scene to paint in watercolors. Madison and other locations along the Ohio River in southern Indiana were some of his favorite settings.

  • Indiana State Flag Design, ca. 1917
  • State of Indiana
  • Keywords: design, flags
  • Subjects: stars, rays, torches, hadley, indiana, flag

The state flag (formerly called a banner) was adopted by the General Assembly in 1917 as part of the commemoration of the state’s centennial, after a competition sponsored by the Daughters of the American Revolution. This image depicts a more recent rendering of a design similar to the prize-winning one submitted by Hadley. In the official version of the flag adopted by the Indiana General Assembly, the addition of the word Indiana was the only change from Hadley’s original design. The torch in the center stands for liberty and enlightenment, and the rays represent their far-reaching influence. The outer circle of stars stands for the original 13 U.S. states. The five stars in the lower inside semicircle represent the states admitted prior to Indiana. The star above the torch stands for Indiana, the 19th state.

Photograph of Hadley and the Official State Flag, ca. 1917
Indiana Historical Bureau

This photograph documents Hadley (left) working with Ralph E. Priest, a Herron Art Institute student, who applied the gold leaf to this flag depicting the official design adopted by the General Assembly.

Some Points To Consider

  • Have students identify the symbols used to portray Indiana. Ask them to describe how the flag is an icon. Have them name places where they have seen the flag displayed. (Art 4.1.3)
  • Ask students to reflect on what the flag might mean to a returning veteran of war, a person who was born here, then lived or traveled somewhere else and is returning, or to people watching a parade. Discuss a flag’s ability to make a person feel patriotic or proud. (Art 4.5.2)

Suggested Activities for Classroom Follow-Up

  • Help students design a flag for the classroom or the school. Discuss the various symbols and colors they might include. Plan ahead to decide what materials to use and how large to make the flag.
  • Allow class time for students to research which Indiana state birthday the flag was designed for, and how it was presented. Ask them to find events in Indiana that have had special commemorative items made for them.