I discovered that flags were an educational hobby in early 1980. Realizing that the study of flags was called vexillology and that I was a vexillologist was a personal breakthrough. Many aspects of my interest in flags, such as heraldry, art, history, culture, language, sociology, color and design, are encompassed within this discipline.
The term vexillology was coined in 1957 by a teenager named Whitney Smith. In 1961, he launched the bimonthly journal, The Flag Bulletin, and a year later he co-founded the Flag Research Center. In 1967, he organized the North American Vexillological Association (NAVA.) I served on the board of NAVA for three years, was editor of NAVA News, and a member of many committees for several years. Through vexillology, Dr. Smith and I have become great friends.
Oddly enough, the way I found out I was a vexillologist was by leafing through one of the key pieces of standard reference guides written by none other than — Dr. Whitney Smith. Smith has written 27 books. It was the first book of flags I ever saw and immediately it defined my interests. So, I will start my reference listing with it.
REFERENCE GUIDES FOR FLAGS:
• “Flags Through the Ages and Across the World”, by Dr. Whitney Smith, considered the first comprehensive book on the history of flags, flag design, and flag etiquette;
• “The Flag Bulletin” published by the Flag Research Center. http://www.flagresea…;
• Flag Books from the Flag Research Center. http://www.flagresea…
ONLINE RESOURCE SITES:
• Flag Research Center, Winchester, Mass; the center of vexillology and the offices of Dr. Whitney Smith. http://www.flagresea…
• Flags of the World is a large online database with 66,000 images of flags and 35,000 pages about flag history, design, and archival information.
• North American Vexillological Association (NAVA) is the largest international flag association in the world with members mostly from Canada and the United States, but have members from around the world.
• The International Federation of Vexillological Associations brings together nearly 100 organizations around the world specializing in the study of vexillology. http://fotw.net/flag…
• Flag Community, WorthPoint.com provides individual pages to upload blogs, items, and create your own vexillological world to exchange and delight others with your vexillological interests. http://www.worthpoint.com/community/flags
These provide a glimpse into vexillology. If you access even one of these resources, it will guide you through the history, the preservation, the art, the design, and the community of vexillologists, as Dr. Smith writes, “…through the ages and across the world.”