Known as "the Betsy Ross of Oklahoma," artist Louise Funk Fluke designed the Oklahoma state flag. She was born in Van Buren, Arkansas, on February 9, 1900. In 1901 Louise Funk moved with an older brother and her parents, R. W. and Trimmier Sloan Funk, to Shawnee, Oklahoma. As a young girl she received art lessons from Marjorie Dodge Tapp. Funk continued her art studies at Columbia University and the Chicago Art Institute. Returning to Oklahoma, she married George Fluke in December 1924, and they had one son.
In 1925 Fluke submitted an entry in the Oklahoma Daughters of the American Revolution's statewide contest for a new design for the state flag. Fluke consulted with Dr. Joseph B. Thoburn, secretary of the Oklahoma Historical Society, and studied Oklahoma history as well as Indian lore and artifacts. For her final design she selected an Osage war shield with six crosses representing the Indian symbol for stars and seven pendant eagle feathers. A calumet (peace pipe) and an olive branch, superimposed over the crosses on the shield, represented a united people living in peace. Her design won the contest and was adopted by the state legislature in 1925. Before her death on July 27, 1986, in Oklahoma City, she received many honors, including the Pioneer Woman Award in 1982.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Marquetta Griswold Brown, An Oklahoma Flag Designed by a Fluke (Ponca City, Okla.: M. G. Brown, 1996). Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City), 30 July 1986. "Oklahoma-Flags," Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Oklahoma Journal (Oklahoma City), 6 December 1973. "Oklahoma's Betsy Ross," My Oklahoma 1 (April 1927). "Origins of the Official State Flag," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 63 (Winter 1985-86). Shawnee (Oklahoma) News Star, 27 June 1976. Tulsa (Oklahoma) World, 2 July 1972.
Linda D. Wilson
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