State Names, Seals, Flags, and Symbols: A Historical Guide

By Benjamin F. Shearer; Jerrie Yehling Smith et al. | Go to book overview

3
State and Territory Seals

Not merely decorative symbols of statehood, the seals of state have been used to designate official acts of state through the ages, and their use is strictly prescribed by law.

State seals are like snapshots of each state's history. Oklahoma's seal, for example, contains the symbols of the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Creek, Choctaw, and Seminole nations and forty-five small stars around a central star, representing the forty-five existing states before Oklahoma became the forty-sixth in 1907. The seal of Kansas, on which appear thirty-four stars for the thirty-fourth state, depicts a steamboat and a river to symbolize commerce, a settler's cabin and a mare plowing to represent agriculture and prosperity, a train of wagons heading west and a herd of buffalo retreating being chased by two Indians on horseback.

The symbols employed in the seals represent recurring themes--agriculture, commerce, mining, shipping, liberty, and union. These symbols celebrate the economic development of the state, the natural resources on which the state was built, and the freedom of a united people to pursue their lives in peace and harmony.


ALABAMA

In 1939, the Alabama legislature returned to the design of the great seal that had been used before 1868. At the same time, the legislature provided

-39-

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State Names, Seals, Flags, and Symbols: A Historical Guide
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Copyright Acknowledgments v
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction ix
  • 1 - State and Territory Names and Nicknames 1
  • Notes 19
  • 2 - State and Territory Mottoes 23
  • Notes 35
  • 3 - State and Territory Seals 39
  • Notes 71
  • 4 - State and Territory Flags 73
  • 5 - State and Territory Capitols 103
  • Notes 125
  • 6 - State and Territory Flowers 129
  • Notes 141
  • 7 - State and Territory Trees 145
  • Notes 164
  • 8 - State and Territory Birds 167
  • Notes 194
  • 9 - State and Territory Songs 197
  • Notes 207
  • 10 - State and Territory Legal Holidays and Observances 209
  • Notes 264
  • 11 - State and Territory License Plates 269
  • Notes 290
  • 12 - State and Territory Postage Stamps 295
  • 13 - Miscellaneous Official State and Territory Designations 309
  • Notes 327
  • 14 - State and Territory Fairs and Festivals 331
  • Notes 385
  • Selected Bibliography of State and Territory Histories 389
  • Index 413
  • About the Authors 438
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