National Geographic : 1946 Jul
Seals of Our Nation, States, and Territories Since Vermont was the fourteenth State ad mitted to the Union, the motto "Freedom and Unity" may imply that the United States should be free and that Vermont should be united with it. Vermont's coat of arms, ordinarily shown in color, has the same devices of tree, cow, etc., but it is pictorially portrayed in such a way as to present an entirely dissimilar appearance (page 25). Even so, the arms and seal have at times been confused. Seal is 2' inches in diameter. VIRGINIA, page 26. When the State con vention was held in 1776, a seal was authorized. George Wythe was probably the designer, although Pierre Eugene du Simitiere (page 35), accord ing to his Notebooks, made a drawing of a seal in August, 1776. When new seals were necessary in 1930, an official description was given. On the obverse, Virtus, the genius of the Commonwealth, dressed as an Amazon, rests on a spear in her right hand; she holds a parazonium, or sheathed sword, in her left. Virtus has her left foot on the form of Tyranny, represented by the prostrate body of a man; a crown has fallen from his head; he has a broken chain in his left hand and a scourge in his right. The motto is Sic Semper Tyrannis, "Thus ever to tyrants." On the reverse is a group consisting of Aeter nitas with a globe and phoenix; Libertas with a wand topped by a liberty cap; and Ceres with a cornucopia and ear of wheat in her hands. Per severando above the figures is translated "By Per severing" or "By Perseverance." Feeling against monarchy and the admiration for the republican form of government as exem plified in ancient Rome were the bases for Vir ginia's selection of a seal avoiding heraldic sym bols and based on classical mythology. Virginia has two seals. The Great Seal is 2% inches in diameter; the Lesser is 196 inches. The Great Seal has both sides; the Lesser has only the obverse. Official colors have been estab lished for the obverse, as used in the State flag. The reverse is shown in blue, the wafer color (page 9). WASHINGTON, page 26. Shortly before Washington became a State in 1889, a committee visited the jewelry store of the Talcott Brothers in Olympia with an elaborate scenic design which the members wanted cut as a seal to be ready for the opening of the Legislature. Charles Talcott suggested that the design would be outmoded as the State grew. Using an ink bottle and a silver dollar, he drew concentric circles and printed be tween them "The Seal of the State of Washington, 1889." Pasting a postage stamp in the center, he said, "That represents the bust of George Washington." Without more ado, the committee accepted the design. The Washington bust was copied from an advertisement for Dr. Jane's Cure for Coughs and Colds. Grant Talcott did the lettering, and George Talcott sank the die. Three subsequent seals have been cut, with changes in the portrait but not in the basic design. Seal is 23/ inches in diameter. Its design is used in the Legislative Building as a decorative motif. It appears on all doorknobs for rooms opening off the main corridor. A bronze repro duction four feet in diameter is in the marble floor under the rotunda. The seal on one-and one-half-foot disks appears twelve times on bronze railings of the balcony beneath the rotunda. WEST VIRGINIA, page 26. Based on sug gestions and designs made by the Hon. Joseph H. Diss Debar of Doddridge County, West Virginia's seal was adopted in 1863. The obverse has in the center "a rock with ivy emblematic of stability and continuance, and on the face of the rock the inscription, 'June 20, 1863,' the date of our foundation, as if graven with a pen of iron in the rock forever." The farmer at the left has a plow and an ax, suggesting that, though the territory is partly cultivated, it is still in the process of being cleared. The miner at the right stands in front of an anvil to represent the mineral wealth of the State and the "mechanic arts." The hunters' rifles and Phrygian cap in the foreground indicate that the State won its free dom and will maintain it by force of arms. The motto is Montani Semper Liberi, "Mountaineers (are) always free." The reverse shows a log farmhouse on a culti vated slope. On the side of a mountain is a representation of the viaduct on the line of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in Preston County with a train about to pass over it. A factory, a river with boats, and a derrick and shed show some of the State's industries, including the pro duction of salt and petroleum. The cattle and sheep in the foreground are for agriculture. Above the rays of the sun is the motto Libertas e Fidelitate, "Freedom from Loyalty," which sug gests that the State's freedom is the result of its faithfulness to the Union. Seal is 2/2 inches in diameter. A Lesser Seal is slightly smaller. The reverse has not been used in recent years except for decoration. WISCONSIN, page 26. Governor Nelson Dewey and Edward G. Ryan, later chief justice of the State supreme court, designed the seal of Wisconsin while sitting on the steps of a Wall Street, New York, bank in 1851. In 1881, when it was necessary to replace the seal, the engraver made a few changes. The design is the State coat of arms. A quar tered shield carries a plow for agriculture, a crossed shovel and pick for mining, an arm hold ing a hammer for manufacturing, and an anchor for navigation. The United States shield, en circled with a garter bearing the words E Pluribus Unum, is superimposed on the large shield (see Great Seal of the United States, page 35). The United States emblem is a symbol of the State's loyalty to the Union. The large shield rests on a cornucopia, representing the general resources of the State, and on a pyramid of pig lead, typifying its mineral wealth.