Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Maine's Arms

I was told recently that an obvious first step for this blog would have been writing about the arms of the State of Maine. That would make sense, except that I don't believe I could do any better than the article published by Joseph McMillan, current President of the American Heraldry Society. In fact, AHS has quite a lot of wonderful articles on historical heraldry in the United States, including the arms of several states and Presidents.
The coat of arms of Maine was adopted by a law of June 9, 1820, three months after Maine's admission to statehood. The law described the arms as "A Shield, argent, charged with a Pine Tree, a Moose-Deer, at the foot of it, recumbent. Supporters; on dexter side, an Husbandman, resting on a scythe; on sinister side, a Seaman, resting on an anchor. In the foreground, representing sea & land, & under the Shield, the name of the State, in large Roman capitals, to wit MAINE. The whole surmounted by a Crest, the North Star. The Motto, in small Roman capitals, in a label interposed between the Shield & Crest, viz. DIRIGO."
It's worth noting that the flag of the state of Maine and all modern renditions of the arms fixed by the legislature in 1919 are not accurately emblazoned. The field should be Argent, not a landscape.

1 comment:

  1. The original drawing shown on your blog was drawn by Bertha Smouse, the teen-aged step-daughter of the chairman of the Seal Committee, Isaac Gardner Reed of Waldoboro. It was highly criticized at the time for its somewhat poor artistic style. Other symbols, such as the Aurora Borealis, were considered for the design. There is a lot more that can be said about the seal.

    In 1880 (following an important series of historic events collectively known as "The Maine State Steal") a new design was officially adopted but we do not use that one either.