WWII Flags of the Rungee Flag Collection
- Comments from our Guest Cataloger, Nationally Renowned Vexillology Expert James Ferrigan
- Annotated history of Rungee and his museum
- Published articles about Dr. Rungee and his Museum
- A Selection of the Many letters of Donation and Transmittal from the Rungee Files
- Categorization of the Rungee Collection
Comments from our Guest Cataloger, Nationally Renowned Vexillology Expert James Ferrigan
Observations on the WWII Flags of the Rungee Flag Collection
By Jim Ferrigan
Dr. Clarence Rungee, of New Haven, Connecticut, began collecting flags during WWII and continued until his death in 1971. Although his collection of over 600 flags was not limited to military and naval flags, they are perhaps the most interesting in the collection because they are silent witnesses to the greatest event in world history, World War II.
Rungee, himself a veteran and active in Veteran's affairs, served as the Surgeon General of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. He used his many connections to correspond with military and naval officers asking for significant flags associated with events, vessels, or individuals. For Rungee however, it could not be just, "Any old flag... It has to be a flag with some historical importance attached to it."
The results you see here, well over 100 used flags from units and vessels that were participants in WWII. These are not ceremonial or commemorative flags, but rather flags that were used on the vessels or carried by these units. In every case their condition betrays their use. In some cases, the flags were actually spared from destruction by Rungee's request.
This begs the question, "How do we know these are real?" The answer is threefold:
- The flag themselves are all from the 1941-1945 era, military, naval, or civilian- all flags are from the period.
- Dr. Rungee and his collection are documented in numerous contemporary newspaper interviews and articles.
- After his death his collection was acquired by America's premier vexillologist, Dr. Whitney Smith, founder of The Flag Research Center, who accessed the Rungee Collection into his Flag Heritage Foundation in 1976, and whose original intake documents accompany most flags.
An example of just how well-placed Dr. Rungee was to ask for and acquire these flags is no less than Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz, who hosted Dr. Rungee at the 1946 observation of the signing of the instrument of the Japanese surrender aboard the USS Missouri. It seems likely that at some point Dr. Rungee had Admiral Nimitz's imprimatur.
Dr. Rungee acquired flags from ships and units associated with some of the most momentous events of WWII. It cannot be said with any certainty that any specific flag was at any event, only that it came from a ship or unit that was. Whether ragged or resplendent, the Rungee flags represent the largest collection of vexillological material culture for WWII still in private hands.
James Ferrigan is one of the country's leading vexillogical historians. Since 1984 he has published numerous articles in scholarly journals and made presentations to a wide range of conferences and symposiums on the subject. He has served as vice president of the American Vexillogical Association, and since 1997 has been the Protocol Officer for that organization. James Ferrigan consults actively for institutional collections and prominent private collectors, and advised the Smithsonian Institution on conservation of the Star Spangled Banner. He is widely regarded as the foremost expert on the use and history of flags during World War II.
Annotated history of Rungee and his museum
Dr. Clarence R. Rungee (pronounced Rungy, with a hard g) was born in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1888. He attended Temple University in Philadelphia and received an M.D. degree there, later working as a pharmacist and hospital director. He was active in Republican politics in New Haven for many years, and served on the city's Board of Aldermen. As a veteran of World War I, Dr. Rungee acted as National Surgeon General of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and was National Historian of the Veterans of World War I.
When he died in 1971, Dr. Rungee had one of the most extensive and unusual private collections of flags anywhere. He had obtained more than 600 flags from all parts of the world and from such famous people as General Dwight Eisenhower, Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia, President Syngman Rhee of South Korea, and President Chaim Weizmann of Israel. In addition to the flags, Dr. Rungee's private museum included hundreds of autographed photographs of distinguished people. He displayed his flags in many lectures he delivered during the years 1947-1971. After Dr. Rungee's death his widow, Antoinette Rungee, donated his flags (and copies of many of the autographs) to the Flag Heritage Foundation as the Dr. Clarence R. Rungee Memorial Collection.
Published articles about Dr. Rungee and his Museum
Rungee His Flags Have Flown 1953 part 1 |
Rungee His Flags Have Flown part 2
A Selection of the Many letters of Donation and Transmittal from the Rungee Files
Categorization of the Rungee Collection
By Jim Ferrigan
The Dr. Clarence Rungee Collection contains the largest assemblage of WWII era flags in private hands. Such concentrations of surviving material culture from over 70 years ago in private hands are exceedingly rare. What make the Rungee flags even more significant is the significant vessels, units, and events with which they are connected.
- Included here are 20 flags associated with 15 different U.S. naval vessels and one airfield from the attack at Pearl Harbor.
- There are 22 flags from 16 ships, and five flags from units that were at D-Day or Omaha Beach.
- WWII saw the end of the "battlewagons" and included here are 10 different ensigns from 8 different battleships.
- Naval Aviation was the key to victory in the Pacific Theater and Rungee acquired flags from 7 aircraft carriers.
- There are flags from 8 different WWII era cruisers.
- Five significant destroyers and destroyer escorts.
- There are 11 submarine ensigns from eight different boats.
- Three ensigns from troop or transport ships.
- Two flags associated with the Philippines -- Corregidor and the Liberation
- There are 9 Headquarters and camp flags
- Six Homefront flags and artifacts.
Below are links to the various flags listed by category.
|PEARL HARBOR SHIPS|
|42005||(53) US 48 star hoisting flag USS California|
|42006||(375) USS Detroit 48 star hoisting flag|
|42007||(372) US 45 star flag hoisting flag for SS-167 Narwhal submarine|
|42008||(10) US - 48 Star Hoisting Flag - USS Nevada, short letter.|
|42009||(342) USS San Francisco (CA 38)|
|42010||(377) USS Honolulu Pearl Harbor|
|42011||(124) USS Phoenix- Cruiser|
|42012||USS Pennsylvania (BB38)|
|42013||(376) USS "Phoenix" (CL 46), WWII ship|
|42014||(17) US - 48 Star Hoisting Flag - USS San Francisco.|
|42016||(344) USS "Tautog"|
|42017||(395) USS Vestal (Pearl Harbor)|
|42018||(373) USS "West Virginia", WWII ship|
|42020||(416) USS West Virginia (AB-48)|
|42021||(382) USS Arizona "UNSV" for issue|
|42022||(29) US - 48 Star Hoisting Flag - USS Maryland.|
|42023||(383) USS Oklahoma "UNSV" for issue|
|42024||(31) US - 48 Star Hoisting Flag - USS Tenn. Pearl Harbor,|
|42124||(51) US 48 star hoisting flag USS Enterprise|
|PEARL HARBOR FLAGS|
|42025||(384) Wheeler Airfield|
|OMAHA BEACH - NORMANDY SHIPS|
|42028||(44) US 48 star hoisting flag USS Bumbcombe County|
|42030||(12) US - 48 Star Hoisting Flag - USS Charles Carroll. Normandy|
|42031||(391) British WWII - HMS Devonshire|
|42032||(385) USS Emmons, Normandy|
|42033||(8) US - 48 Star Hoisting Flag - USS Empire Javelin, Omaha Beach|
|42034||(345) USS Harding|
|42035||USS LCI(L) - 94 Normandy - Omaha|
|42036||USS LST - 286 - Normandy - Omaha|
|42037||(386) USS Samuel chase, Normandy|
|42038||(392) British WWII HMS Warspite|
|42052||USS LST-310 - Normandy - Omaha|
|42085||(371) USS "Charles Carroll" (APA 2*), Normandy, WWII ship|
|OMAHA BEACH - LAND FORCES|
|42040||(487) 29th INF. DIV 116th RGT 1st Bl. A Co Normandy Omaha Beach|
|42041||(13) US - 48 Star Hoisting Flag - 2nd Div. Normandy.|
|42042||(15) US - 48 Star Hoisting Flag - 30th Div. Normandy.|
|42043||(23) US - 48 Star Hoisting Flag - 29th Div. Omaha Beach; letter|
|42044||(138) US 48 star 29th Div. Co. B. Normandy|
|UTAH BEACH SHIPS|
|42045||USS LCI(L)-326 Utah Beach|
|42046||(380) USS "Laffey", Normandy, WWII ship|
|42053||(303) 48 star USS O'Brien, Utah Beach -- Normandy|
|42055||HMS Faulknor, Normandy-Juno Ship|
|42108||(370) USS "Augusta", Normandy, WWII ship|
|42057||(5) US - 48 Star Hoisting Flag - USS Iowa for to Tehran. E|
|42058||(202) US 48 star Missouri - Nimitz flag|
|42059||(368) USS "Idaho", WWII ship|
|42066||(59) US 48 star hoisting flag USS Missouri|
|42067||(47) US 48 star hoisting flag USS New Jersey|
|42068||(28) US - 48 Star Hoisting Flag - USS New Jersey.|
|42069||(41) US 48 star hoisting flag USS New Mexico|
|42070||(34) US - 48 Star Hoisting Flag - USS South Dakota, donor name on flag.|
|42071||(33) US - 48 Star Hoisting Flag - USS Texas North Africa, Normandy.|
|42072||(26) US - 48 Star Hoisting Flag - USS Wisconsin.|
|42073||(14) US - 48 Star Hoisting Flag - USS Bennington.|
|42074||(376) 48 star flag USS Coral Sea|
|42075||(45) US 48 star hoisting flag USS Franklin|
|42076||(6) US - 48 Star Hoisting Flag - USS Randolph - Iwo Jima, letter.|
|42077||(46) US 48 star hoisting flag USS Saratoga|
|42078||(25) US - 48 Star Hoisting Flag - USS Shangri La.|
|42079||(7) US - 48 Star Hoisting Flag - USS Tarawa.|
|42071||(377) USS "Savannah", WWII ship|
|42080||(52) US 48 star hoisting flag USS Canberra|
|42081||(342) USS Indianapolis|
|42082||(55) US 48 star hoisting flag USS Oakland|
|42083||(140) US 48 star USS Pasadena|
|42084||(43) US 48 star hoisting flag USS Pittsburg|
|42086||(16) US - 48 Star Hoisting Flag - USS Tulsa - JFK related.|
|42087||(54) US 48 star hoisting flag USN Tuscaloosa|
|DESTROYERS & DESTROYER ESCORTS|
|42088||(396) USS England (Sub-record sinking)|
|42090||(204) US 48 star "USS Kidd" letter|
|42104||(11) US - 48 Star Hoisting Flag - USS Hodge.|
|42106||(27) US - 48 Star Hoisting Flag - USS W.R. Rush.|
|42114||USS Levy - Wake Island Surrender Vessel|
|42091||(372) USS "Barb", WWII ship|
|42092||(50) US 48 star hoisting flag USS Flasher|
|42093||(126) USS Flasher Sank 23 Japanese ships|
|42094||(375) USS "Flasher" (SS 249), WWII ship|
|42095||(40) US 48 star hoisting flag USS Hammer Head|
|42096||(9) US - 48 Star Hoisting Flag - USS Red Fish.|
|42097||(343) USS "Seahorse"|
|42098||(378) USS "Silver Sides", WWII ship|
|42099||(42) US 48 star hoisting flag USS Skipjack|
|42100||(139) US 48 star USS Skipjack|
|42101||(374) USS "Spadefish" (SS 411), WWII ship|
|TROOP AND TRANSPORT SHIPS|
|42102||(2) US - 48 Star Hoisting Flag - USS Gen. Butner.|
|42103||(22) US - 48 Star Hoisting Flag - USS Leroy Eltings.|
|42105||(379) USS N5 "Marine Carp", WWII ship|
|42019||Corregidor HQ Flag|
|42109||(531) First US Flag on Philippines after Japanese Lost|
|42110||(24) US - 48 Star Hoisting Parade Flag - 82nd Airborne.|
|42112||(1) US - 48 Star Hoisting Flag - 34th Div. Iowa, note.|
|42115||(56) US 48 star hoisting flag General MacArthur HQ Tokyo|
|42116||(201) US 48 star McArthur - HQ Japan|
|42118||(18) US - 45 Star Hoisting Flag - Utah/Paris 1945 Liberation, photo.|
|42119||Gen Patton Vehicle Flag|
|42120||(472/ 105) Gen. Patton HQ Flag Sicily + Off Flag for Mr. Slater|
|42121||(57) US 48 star hoisting flag USMC 3rd Division Parade flag|
|HOMEFRONT FLAGS & ARTIFACTS|
|42125||(628) American Legion VIP Blanket|
|42126||(346) American Legion|
|42127||(4) US - 48 Star Hoisting Flag - Ted Lewis - USO.|
|42128||(211) OSK Lines AGWI Lines NYC 1940|
|42129||US VFW Color|
|42130||(141) US vets, women, WWII|
|42049||(148) New Zealand HMNZ "Aorangi"|
|42050||(188) British Naval HMS Enterprise (D52)|
|42131||(292) Swedish "Gripsholm" hoisting flag 1942-46|
|42132||(146) Canadian HMS Haida|
|42133||(397) French - Ile de France (Troop ship - Normandy)|
|42134||(39) France - "Ile De France" - Troop ship & Normandy.|
|42135||(147) Australia HMAS "Manoora"|
|42136||(36) British Naval Ensign "Manoora" - WWII service.|
|42137||(145) Canadian WWII Air Force|
|42138||R.M.S. Scythia transport WW2|
|42139||(39) Netherlands Cruiser HNLMS "Tromp"|
|42140||(37) Canada - HMCS Quebec - Atlantic service - sank the U-224.|
|42141||(360) Argentina & Bolivia|
|42142||(38) China - Nationalist WWII Flag, letter.|
|42144||(223) Ethiopia w/letter 1948|