Welcome to the Chesapeake Bay Flag Association (CBFA). The CBFA is a group of flag enthusiasts from the Mid-Atlantic (Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia).
Our members range from scholars to collectors; we all love flags. We have active duty and retired military personnel, a Library of Congress research librarian, a flag store owner, a retired pastor, a retired doctor, teachers et al. Many of our members have impressive collections of rare flags, military flags, US state and city flags and vexillological literature. Some are interested in heraldry and history as well. The current President of NAVA and a past president of NAVA belong to our group as well as several former NAVA board members.
Meetings attract 8-12 people. 45 different individuals have attended at least one meeting in the past 10 years. In these pandemic years we have had our meting as video calls (Zoom). This has increased attendance and even when in-person meetings resume, we will undoubtedly continue to do some virtually.
We have expanded our mailing list to southern New Jersey and southeastern Pennsylvania. In recent years we have also had people from New York join us. Membership is free, with no requirements to be NAVA members, although that is strongly encouraged. There are no dues. We raise money for expenses and donations to flag conservation projects by auctioning donated items.
We are fortunate to have many vexillologically interesting places in our area, e.g. Museum of the US Naval Academy, Star-Spangled Banner Flag House, Marine Corps Museum, Library of Congress, Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History etc. We also take advantage of the incredible museum-like collection of Nick Artimovich.
Anyone wishing to join the mailing list for announcements of the meetings should write to firstname.lastname@example.org
Among the founding members were Nick Artimovich, Grace Rogers Cooper, Harold Langley (the latter two of the Smithsonian), Jon Radel, and Tom Carrier. The Flagship was published in 1993 and 1994. One article was about flags of the US President and another about the Kennedy Center for the Arts flag display.
In the early 1980s, as NAVA (North American Vexillological Association) membership was growing, there was a move to establish regional chapters where members could get together between NAVA’s annual meetings. Although this never happened, several independent regional associations were started. The mid-Atlantic region had several active flag enthusiasts and CBFA was informally founded on November 6th, 1982 and formally founded on November 13th, 1993. CBFA is a full member of the International Federation of Vexillological Associations (FIAV) since July 3rd, 1995.
The founders designed the flag. It is based on the DC flag with the colors changed and the stars in a “V” pattern for Vexillology. The five stars represented the original catchment area of the Association: District of Columbia, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. The two shades of blue represent the waters of the Chesapeake Bay, the defining geographical feature of the region.
One of the highlights of the earlier years was a 1993 White House tour led by the then-just-retired Chief Usher of the White House, the late Rex Scouten. Particular attention was paid to all the uses of the Presidential Seal.
The Association was dormant for 7-8 years and was revived in 2005. We have met 2-3 times a year since then, mostly at members’ homes and sometimes at venues of vexillological interest. We have met in Philadelphia, at Winterthur in Delaware, at the American Civil War Museum (formerly the Museum of the Confederacy) in Richmond, as well as at many places in the Washington-Baltimore region. At one recent meeting we were thrilled to see an incredible collection of artifacts, including many flags, of the Indian Princely states at the home of the renowned Dr. Kenneth Robbins in Maryland. The next meeting was a visit to the amazing rare US flag collection of Anthony Iasso in Virginia. We have also had a talk on the commercial and political adaptations of the District of Columbia flag by a Georgetown University professor.
We had two joint meetings with Great Waters Association of Vexillology (GWAV), the midwestern group: Carnegie, PA (the Civil War Room of the Carnegie Library) in 2008 (pictured above), and Wheeling, WV (Independence Hall) in 2010.
In 2011 we provided the volunteer force for the International Congress of Vexillology (ICV-24) which we co-sponsored with NAVA at the George Washington Masonic Memorial in Alexandria, VA. 20 of our members staffed the meeting in conspicuous red shirts.
In 2013 we had an all-day session at the Library of Congress. Betty Brown, one of our members, arranged for many fascinating presentations, including from the rare Book Division, the Music Division, the Veterans History Project and the Law Division.