Third Congress of the United States: At the First Session, Begun and held at the City of Philadelphia, in the state of Pennsylvania, on Monday the second of December one thousand seven hundred and ninety-three. An Act making an alteration in the Flag of the United States. [Philadelphia: Printed by Childs and Swaine, 1794.]
Broadside, 330 x 204 mm. Faint horizontal folding creases, two linen tape mounts to verso, but a fresh example.
"THAT ... THE FLAG OF THE UNITED STATES BE FIFTEEN STRIPES ALTERNATE RED AND WHITE [AND] THAT THE UNION BE FIFTEEN STARS WHITE IN A BLUE FIELD." The act marks the first alteration of the U.S. Flag from its original thirteen stars and stripes, representing the admission of Vermont and Kentucky to the Union. The act is signed in print by Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg, Speaker of the House, and Vice-President John Adams, and approved by President Washington.
The flag of fifteen stars and stripes remained in use until 1818, when Congress passed a measure reverting the flag to thirteen stripes (representing the original colonies) and making provision for a new star to be added for each subsequent state to join the Union. It was the fifteen-stripe flag which flew over Ft. McHenry during the War of 1812 and inspired Francis Scott Key in the writing of "The Star Spangled Banner." OCLC records only three copies: at Dartmouth, Harvard, and the Huntington Library. Evans 27830.