In Memoriam Dr Whitney Smith

Dr. Whitney Smith (1940 - 2016)

Dr Whitney Smith (1940 – 2016)

The father of modern vexillology, Whitney Smith established in 1961, together with Gerhard Grahl, the first vexilological journal The Flag Bulletin, and the next year estanlished the Flag Research Centre (FRC). He was its director until his retirement in 2013 when the entire considerable library and archive was transferred to the University of Texas in Austin.

With a group of colleagues, including Klaes Sierksma, he organized the first International Congress of Vexillology in 1965 and established the League of Vexillologists, that was two years afterward transformed into the International Federation of Vexillological Associations (FIAV), where he served as the first Secretary General and several turn afterwards. He acquired a doctorate in political sciences at the University of Boston, with the thesis Prolegomena to the Study of Political Symbols. He was named by the FIAV a Laureate of the Federation, its highest scientific award, in 1991. Smith was the key person in establishment of the North American Vexillological Association (NAVA) and the Flag Heritage Foundation (FHF), while he actively encouraged establishment of vexillological associations around the world.

W. Smith: ZAstave i grbovi svijeta, Globus, Zagreb, 1982.

W. Smith: Zastave i grbovi svijeta, Globus, Zagreb, 1982.

He was a fertile vexillological writer with uncounted scientific, professional and educational articles and 27 monographs. Among them, the encyclopedic book Flags Through the Ages and Across the World (McGraw Hill, 1975) should be mentioned. Its popular abridged issue of 1980 (Flags and Arms Across the World) was translated into Croatia and issued in 1982 by the Globus Zagreb publishing house, introducing and popularizing vexillology as scientific study in these parts.

With pain in our hearts we sympathize with the family of our dear friend. Rest in peace.