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Origins of the National Institutes of Health
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Flags of 1887

The United States American flag of 1887 consisting of thirteen equal horizontal stripes of red alternating with white, with a blue rectangle in the union bearing thirty-eight small, white, five-pointed stars arranged in five offset horizontal rows of eight stars alternating with rows of seven.

The 38-Star United States of America Flag of 1887 (adopted 1877)


The display begins with the U.S. Flag of 1887. This was the 38 star flag adopted July 4, 1877. States yet to join the Union were: Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

No Treasury Department flags from 1887 are known to exist. However, an 1894 book on U.S. merchant vessels describes the flag. It features the Seal of the Treasury, which was designed in 1778 and which, interestingly, predates the Treasury Department by some 10 years. The balance scale represents justice, and the key, official authority. The shield on either side is surrounded by a spray of laurel in blossom and pearl beads. There is an abbreviated Latin legend meaning "The Seal of the Treasury of North America." The Continental Congress had very high hopes indeed for the success of the American Revolution. This flag was discontinued in 1911.