Maryland State Seal - Great Seal of Maryland

[Reverse of Great Seal of Maryland] The Great Seal of Maryland is used by the Governor and the Secretary of State to authenticate Acts of the General Assembly and for other official purposes. The Secretary of State is the designated custodian of the Great Seal, and provides guidance on its use.

Only the reverse of the Great Seal is used officially. In 1959, however, the obverse was described in statute and has been considered part of the Seal (Chapter 396, Acts of 1959). Often, it adorns public buildings.

The first Great Seal was brought over during the early days of the Maryland colony, but was stolen by Richard Ingle during his rebellion of 1645. Cecilius Calvert, 2nd Lord Baltimore, sent a similar seal from England in 1648 for the use of the Maryland Chancellor. Except for the period of crown rule (1692-1715), that Great Seal remained in use until the end of the 18th century, the Maryland Council having authorized continued use of the provincial seal on March 31, 1777 (Constitution of 1776, sec. 36).

A new seal with republican imagery was adopted by the Governor and Council on February 5, 1794. Designed by Charles Willson Peale, the Maryland Seal of 1794 remained in use until 1817. In that year, the General Assembly adopted a single-sided Great Seal bearing an eagle holding a shield. Another seal authorized in 1854 depicted an eagle and a version of the Calvert arms (Chapter 81, Acts of 1854).

[photo, State Seal, Miller Senate Office Building, 11 Bladen St., Annapolis, Maryland] Maryland readopted the reverse of the original Calvert seal in 1874 (Joint Resolution no. 9, Acts of 1874; Joint Resolution no. 5, Acts of 1876). This new seal corrected the imagery of the Calvert arms in the seal of 1854. It is the seal in use today. In 1959, the General Assembly adopted the seal by statute and codified its description (Chapter 396, Acts of 1959). Revisions to the law were enacted in 1969 (Chapter 79, Acts of 1969; Code General Provisions Article, secs. 7-101 through 7-104).

State Seal, Miller Senate Office Building, 11 Bladen St., Annapolis, Maryland, January 2001. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

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