Maine State Seal

Great Seal of the State of Maine

Maine Seal

Adopted in 1820;1919

The seal of the State of Maine was adopted 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 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 Maine's motto "Dirigo" (I lead), 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 should no longer vary, and the design is still used today.

Maine Great Seal

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 has varied over the years, all the variations based on the language above. The first sketch of the Seal 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 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.

Maine Revised Statutes

§81. Office and duties; vacancy; salary; expenses; fees

The Department of the Secretary of State, as heretofore established, shall consist of the Secretary of State, the State Archives and such other state departments and agencies as are by law subject to the direction of the Secretary of State. The secretary shall keep his office at the seat of government; have the custody of the state seal and preserve all records in such office, at the expense of the State. The Secretary of State may appoint deputy secretaries of state who shall serve at the pleasure of the Secretary of State. The secretary shall designate one of his deputies as first deputy secretary of state. When a vacancy happens in the office of Secretary of State during the recess of the Legislature, the first deputy secretary of state shall act as Secretary of State until a Secretary of State is elected by the Legislature. Such deputy shall take the oath required of the elected Secretary of State and have the same compensation while he performs the duties of the office. [1977, c. 674, §1 (AMD).]

The Secretary of State and his deputy shall receive such actual traveling expenses incident to the administration of his department as shall be necessary. [1969, c. 504, §4 (AMD).]

The Secretary of State shall collect the legal and usual fees payable to him by virtue of his office and shall pay them over forthwith to the Treasurer of State.
1965, c. 421, §1 (AMD). 1967, c. 383, (AMD). 1967, c. 476, §7 (AMD). 1969, c. 504, §4 (AMD). 1971, c. 494, §1,3 (AMD). 1973, c. 537, §1 (AMD). 1975, c. 771, §31 (AMD). 1977, c. 674, §1 (AMD).

Maine Seal Law

§201. State seal

The seal of the State shall be a shield, argent, charged with a pine tree (Americana, quinis ex uno folliculo setis) with a moose deer (cervus alces), at the foot of it, recumbent; supporters: on dexter side, a husbandman, resting on a scythe; on sinister 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, to wit:

The whole shall be surrounded by a crest, the North Star. The motto, in small Roman capitals, shall be in a label interposed between the shield and crest, viz.:--DIRIGO.

State Seals
State Seals
When communications were transcribed by hand and tediously undertaken, seals authenticated official government documents. In this day of computers & instant communications, seals still serve the same purpose.