The city flag of Boston, Massachusetts was first proposed in 1913 by the Columbus Day Committee. Although introduced on January, 16, 1914 into the City Council, it was not officially adopted until January 30, 1917. The ordinance of its adoption gives the specifications for the colors and size of the flag, as well as where the flag is to be flown.
The City Seal was designed by John R. Penniman, a famous flag painter in New England, in 1823. It depicts a view of the city, including ships in the harbor and the Massachusetts State House. Below the scene is written, “Bostonia Condita A.D. 1630” in dark blue. In the top of the circle that surrounds the scene is written, “Sicut Patribus Sit Deus Nobis”. Translated from the Latin this means, “God be with us as He was with our fathers”. “Civitatis Regimine Donata A.D. 1822” is written in the bottom of the circle. These inscriptions are also in dark blue.
Although the ordinance gives these specifications, there are some differences in the flags that are now used. It is noted that most of the flags are more of a sky blue and gold color, rather than the Continental Blue and Continental Buff colors given in the ordinance. However, some flags can be found made with the darker blue. Also available from various vendors are flags made from a durable nylon rather than the silk called for in the ordinance. There is also a slight difference in the City Seal used on the flag and the one that is considered the official emblem of Boston. Despite these alterations from the original specifications, the flag is still a unique and well-recognized symbol of a beloved city that is full of the history of how our great country began and won its freedom.