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California State Colors

Blue and Gold   Adopted:June 28, 1951
California State Colors
California State Colors: Blue & Gold

Adoption of the California State Colors

The colors, officially adopted as California's State colors in 1951 had there origin at the University of California, Berkeley around 1871 when the school was trying to choose a primary color to represent the university.

Blue was popular. It was the color of student cadet uniforms. It was also representative of another school, Yale, whose graduates had been instrumental in founding and leading the university. More aesthetically, blue could represent the beautiful, clear California skies and the blue of the Pacific Ocean.

On the other hand, gold could also provide meaningful symbolism for the university. Gold had played a major role in the settling of the State beginning with the 1848/49 gold rushes. California was known as the Golden State on many levels, not the least of which was the proliferation of its wildflowers, in particular the golden poppy that was to become California's State flower years later in 1903.

Seemingly deadlocked between the two, student Rebekah Bragg (Class of 1876) is credited with suggesting that both colors be used. Blue and gold were chosen as the university's colors in 1873.

It's reported that the California Secretary of State began using blue and gold ribbons along with the State seal to authenticate official State documents sometime in 1913, during the terms of California Secretary of State Frank C. Jordan.

Frank C. Jordan's son, Frank M. Jordan, also served as California Secretary of State. He served from 1943 to 1970. It was Frank M. Jordan who suggested that blue and gold be made the official colors of the State of California.

In 1951, California Governor Earl Warren signed legislation making blue and gold the official State colors of California.

California Law

The following information was excerpted from the California Government Code, Title 1, Division 2, Chapter 2.

International Commission on Illumination:
Blue: Y 0.063 x 0.204 y 0.165
Gold: Y 0.449 x 0.474 y 0.458

Munsell Renotation:
Blue: H V/C 7.3 PB 2.9/8.8
Gold: H V/C 2.0 Y 7.1/11.3

Munsell Book Notation:
Blue: H V/C 7.2 PB 2.9/9.1
Gold: H V/C 1 Y 7.3/11


Source: California State Legislature:California Law, Government Code, (http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/calaw.html), February 6, 2008.
Source: The University of California:Faculty Guide, UC Berkeley Identity Resources, (http://identity.berkeley.edu/style.html), February 6, 2008.
Source: The University of California:CalParents, Cal Traditions, (http://calparents.berkeley.edu/visiting/traditions.shtml), February 6, 2008.
Source: The California State Library, History and Culture - State Symbols, (http://www.library.ca.gov/history/symbols.html), February 6, 2008.
Source: State Names, Seals, Flags and Symbols: A Historical Guide Third Edition, Revised and Expanded by Benjamin F. Shearer and Barbara S. Shearer. Greenwood Press; 3 Sub edition (October 30, 2001).


Additional Information

State Colors: Complete list of state colors from NETSTATE.

 
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