The modern-day Betsy Ross was actually a high school student. Robert G. "Bob" Heft created his version of the 50-star flag in 1958 while he was just 17 years old in Lancaster, Ohio. He anticipated the addition of Hawaii and Alaska to the United States, and his design was chosen by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to be the 27th version of the U.S. flag.Continue Reading
Robert G. Heft's initial design was originally a project for a school fair. Inspired by the Betsy Ross story, Heft took his mother's sewing machine and mocked up his own vision. As a template, he used his parents' 48-star flag that they received as a wedding present.
Heft handmade 100 stars - 50 for the front of the flag and 50 for the back. The only aspect that he changed from the previous design was the number of rows and the arrangement of the stars. To his teacher, it looked like a fairly simple project, and Heft received a B- for his efforts. The teacher agreed, however, that he would change the grade if Heft's design was officially adopted by the government.
Over the course of two years Heft wrote 21 letters and made 18 phone calls to the White House. He even recruited help from congressman Walter H. Moeller, who promoted Heft's design in Washington.
Almost two years after his submission, Heft got a phone call from President Eisenhower himself, and his 50-star flag was selected out of a pool of 1,500. It was hand picked by President Eisenhower and officially adopted under Executive Order 10834 on August 21, 1959. As of 2015, it continues to be the official United States flag.
Heft's teacher, of course, kept his word and gave Heft an A. While Heft claims that he never sewed again, he also designed a 51-star flag as a student - for whenever the U.S. might need to call upon his patriotic designing and stitching expertise.Learn more about US History