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The World of Vexillology

circa 200 BCE: the Roman Army displays a flag called a vexillum (“small sail”)
1957: Whitney Smith, then a teenager, creates the term vexillology, referring to the scholarly study of flags, later following with several other terms, including vexillophile (flag hobbyist) and vexillographer (flag designer)
1961: Smith and Gary Grahl begin publishing the first journal ever dedicated to flags, The Flag Bulletin, later officially recognized as the publication for scholarly articles on all aspects of flags
1962: Smith and Grahl found the Flag Research Center
1965: Smith and Klaes Sierksma organize the first International Congress of Vexillology (ICV) in the Netherlands
1967: the International Federation of Vexillological Associations (FIAV) is initiated by Smith, Sierksma, and Louis Mühlemann
1967: Smith founds the North American Vexillological Association (NAVA) and begins ten years as its president
In subsequent years Smith encouraged and assisted in the formation of vexillological associations around the world. He also promoted the organization of the biennial ICVs, serving as FIAV secretary-general 1967-1991.

Vexillology Today

Many resources are available for those interested in various aspects of flags, including numerous websites. The Flag Research Center offers vexillologists the following products and services.

In the future this website will expand materials designed especially for vexillologists.

Woman with vexillum.
Woman with vexillum
(circa 100 BCE)

“Your constant input of careful documentation of the colors, proportions, design, etiquette, correct usage and historical anecdotes has impressed all of us” – Program Director, The Franklin Mint

“Mr. Vexillology” – The New Yorker

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