The Seal of Maine State

The Seal of Maine State

The Great Seal of The State of Maine was adopted in June 1820. There have been variations in the details of the seal, but the overall design and images remain true to the original. The center of the Seal of Maine is a shield adorned with a tranquil scene of a moose resting in a field bordered by water and woods; a pine tree stands tall directly behind the moose. On either side of the shield, a farmer rests on his scythe, and a sailor leans on an anchor. Above the shield is the motto “Dirigo” (I direct) and a stylized North Star. Below the shield is a banner that reads “Maine”.

The legislature of 1919 decided that the design of the Seal of Maine should no longer vary, and the design is still used today. The seal of the State shall be a shield in silver, on it is a pine tree with a moose lying at the foot of it;  on the left side of the shield is a farmer resting on a scythe; on the right side, a seaman, resting on an anchor. In the foreground, representing sea and land, and under the shield, shall be the name of the State in large Roman capitals: MAINE The whole shall be surrounded by a crest, the North Star.

The motto, in small Roman capitals, shall be in a label resting between the shield and the crest reading: DIRIGO (I lead). Maine became a state on March 15, 1820, and the Legislature adopted the language governing its design on June 9. The description had been drafted by a short-lived Committee under the direction of first Senate President William Moody; Colonel Isaac G. Reed of Waldoboro is credited with the Seal’s description and explanation. The actual appearance of the Seal of Maine has varied over the years, all the variations based on the language above.

The first sketch of the Seal of Maine was markedly different from the above; the “moose” looked like a deer, the shield was more conventional, the scythe was held with the blade on the ground. Later variations included the scythe being held behind the husbandman’s head, and in one case, the inexplicable substitution of a sextant for the mariner’s anchor. There is little statutory guidance for coloring the Seal of Maine other than the description of the blue-background State Flag in Title 1 sec. 206. The present design was fixed by the Legislature in 1919.


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