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The General Mills flag

Betsy Ross has nothing on Gladys Ness.

Ness was working in advertising at General Mills in 1949 when the idea for an official company flag came out of a division managers’ meeting in Del Monte, California.

Gladys sketched out the design during a three-month flag dedication contest. General Mills President Leslie N. Perrin, who sponsored the contest, selected Ness’ idea.

The flag was blue and yellow with a large General Mills seal in the center.

Our “Modern Millwheel” publication reported Perrin’s reaction to seeing it:

“Our Company is truly a symbol of quality and service to the millions of people who have confidence in and buy our products… May I present this symbol of our unity, our thought, our purpose – the official flag of General Mills. The real greatness of a company is not measured by its size or its material wealth. It is measured by the qualities of its people, their virtue of wisdom, their hopes and dreams, their courage and determination.”

Does your company have a Betsy Ross?

Editor’s note: The photo is from “The Modern Millwheel”, Vol. XIII, No. 6, June 1949.

Have a question about General Mills’ history? Send our Archives team an email.

Suzy Goodsell was a manager for internal communications and Archives for General Mills, based in Minneapolis, Minn. She wrote articles for the company’s intranet home page and worked to get employees more engaged in company history. She worked for General Mills from 2003-2012.

Suzy Goodsell

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