National Geographic : 1946 Jul
Seals of Our Nation, States, and Territories of the battle at Sullivans Island, the Declaration of Independence, and the year the seal was or dered. Around the rim is the motto Animis Opibusque Parati, "Prepared in mind(s) and re sources." On the reverse a woman walks on the seashore over swords and daggers. This typifies Hope overcoming dangers, which the rising sun is about to disclose. In her right hand she holds an olive branch for the honors gained at Sullivans Island. The sun shows that the battle on the island was fought on a fine day; it also suggests good fortune. On the rim are the words Dum Spiro Spero, "While I breathe, I hope." The word Spes, "Hope," is below the figure. From the description it will be seen that the design was made immediately after the battle fought on June 28, 1776, between the unnamed, and at the time unfinished, fort on Sullivans Island and the British fleet. The fort was later named Moultrie. The seal is not used now because its size, 4 inches in diameter and 4/1o inch thick, makes it in convenient. But the original seal forms the pat tern for all seals of the State. In use at present is a 22-inch disk which incorporates the obverse and reverse of the official seal, compressing the circular designs into ovals. The design of the original is in relief over the doorways of public buildings in Columbia. A painting of it hangs on the walls of the Senate Chamber, and two panels in stucco are decorated with it. For colors, see page 8. SOUTH DAKOTA, page 23. The consti tution of 1889 gave South Dakota its seal. On the left are a smelting furnace and a range of mountains. On the right is a farmer at his plow with a herd of cattle and a field of corn behind him. The center is marked by a river bearing a steamboat. According to an official statement, "The plow man symbolizes agriculture; the steamboat, trans portation; the smelting furnace, the mining in dustry; the cattle, grazing and dairying; the trees, lumbering." The motto is "Under God the People Rule." The date 1889 is that of ad mission to the Union. Seal is 22 inches in diameter. In 1945 studies were made looking toward the adoption of a new seal, but a satisfactory design has not been found. TENNESSEE, page 23. A seal was author ized by the State constitution of 1796, date of admission to the Union, but a press was not ready for use until 1802. The Roman number XVI refers to the numer ical position of Tennessee among the States. The top half shows a plow, wheat sheaf, and cotton plant in honor of agriculture. The boat below with the word "Commerce" honors industry. Changes have been made in details of the design, but the present seal has been in use since 1866. It is 2% inches in diameter. A gray-and white picture of it decorates the ceiling of the capitol at Nashville. The design was formerly used on uniform buttons and belt buckles of the State militia. TEXAS, page 23. The seal of Texas, adopted with slight modification from the seal of the Re public of Texas, was authorized by the constitu tion of 1845. The device is a five-pointed star encircled with a wreath of olive and live-oak branches, symbols of a desire for peace but the strength to fight. One of the most popular legends of its origin tells that when the need for a seal arose, Pro visional Governor Henry Smith used a large brass button from his overcoat to make an impression. Papers of the Republic, authenticated by an ob viously homemade seal, carry a device presumably made from the "button seal," but the design is reported to look more like an eight-petaled daisy than a five-pointed star. Llerena Friend, historian of the seal, writes that "in a Commonwealth famous for its brands, the lone star is the official governmental brand," but that the origin of the brand is obscured by time. Seal now in use is 2 4 inches in diameter. UTAH, page 26. Adopted by the first State Legislature in 1896, date of admission to the Union, Utah's seal carries on it the beehive, first used in 1850 on the territorial seal. Deseret, the name given originally to the territory, came from the Book of Mormon and meant "the honeybee." The industrious nature of the State's citizens is further emphasized by the word "Industry" above the hive. On both sides of the hive are sego lilies, the State flower. The date 1847 com memorates the founding of Utah by a company of Mormons. An eagle, arrows, and flags com plete the design. Seal is 22 inches in diameter. VERMONT, page 26. The seal of Vermont, designed by Ira Allen and cut by Reuben Dean in 1778, was accepted by the General Assembly in 1779. Several variations of the design were used, but in 1937 the Assembly provided for a "faith ful reproduction" of the original. Attempts to interpret the seal were character ized in 1937 as "frankly guesswork." The wooded hills are the Green Mountains. The sheaves represent agriculture; the cow, dairying. The top wavy lines may be clouds; the bottom ones, the waters of Lake Champlain and the rivers of the State. The object opposite the cow may be a spontoon (a short pike used by commissioned officers of the early United States militia), a fleur-de-lis, or just a decoration. The pine tree was familiar in New England on early flags, shillings, and the like. The 14 branches without a "leader," or center branch, rising di rectly from the trunk, may recall Vermont's re action to its exclusion from the Thirteen Original States. One version of the tree's origin is that it was made from a carving on a horn cup. The tree on the cup was drawn from a 175-foot giant near the town of Arlington. The tree is now owned by the town as a memorial to the seal.