Simplicity and Sentiment: Le Roy Reeves and the Tennessee State Flag

"I enclose herewith a draft of a bill for the adoption of a State flag for Tennessee, which I would be glad to have you introduce and give your support and influence.  This design is the result of considerable thought and experiment, and is intended to combine simplicity and sentiment."
~ letter from Le Roy Reeves to Representative S.E. Miller, January 27, 1903 ~

In 1903, Johnson City’s Le Roy Reeves began a quest to accomplish his long-held dream of seeing the state of Tennessee adopt his design as its official flag.  The legislation passed two years later, on April 17, 1905, but it was more than five decades until the flag was in common use at the state Capitol.  This exhibit, drawn from the Le Roy Reeves Papers held by the Archives of Appalachia at East Tennessee State University, tells the story of Reeves’ quest.