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This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Great seal of the state of North Carolina

Seal, State

The design of North Carolina's state seal, officially called the Great Seal of the State of North Carolina, was standardized by the General Assembly in 1971 and modified in 1983 after many variations. The official seal is a circle 2¼ inches in diameter that features the robe-covered figures of "Liberty" and "Plenty" in its center. Liberty is standing and holding a capped pole in her left hand, and in her right hand is a scroll on which is written the word "Constitution." Plenty is seated with her right arm extended, holding three heads of grain in her right hand and the end of an overflowing cornucopia in her left hand. In the background are depictions of mountains and a three-masted ship floating on the ocean. The dates "May 20, 1775" (the date of the so-called Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence) and "April 12, 1776" (the date of the Halifax Resolves) appear at the top and bottom, respectively, of the center part of the seal. Around the outside border of the seal are the phrases "The Great Seal of the State of North Carolina" and Esse Quam Videri, the state motto, meaning "to be rather than to seem."

Photograph of Gov. Kerr Scott passing the Great Seal of NC to Gov. William Umstead, January 1953.  Item H.1966.109.14 from the North Carolina Museum of History. Used courtesy of the Department of Cultural Resources.

References:

J. Bryan Grimes, The History of the Great Seal of the State of North Carolina (rev. ed., 1974).

Additional information:

Grimes, J. Bryan. 1909. Great seal of the state of North Carolina: 1666-1909. North Carolina Historical Commission. Online at: http://digital.ncdcr.gov/u?/p249901coll22,398289.

"State seal and motto." North Carolina General Assembly. Online at: http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/ncgainfo/educational/StateSeal.html

Image credit:

"State seal and motto." North Carolina General Assembly. Online at http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/ncgainfo/educational/StateSeal.html (accessed September 25, 2014).

"Photograph [Gov. Scott passing the Great Seal of NC to Gov. Umstead]," Accession #: H.1966.109.14. 1953. North Carolina Museum of History. (accessed September 25, 2014).

 
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Comments

Comment: 

GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD

Comment: 

Btw (by the way), this helps with my MSN (My State Notebook)!!

Comment: 

Then where did Plenty come up? I mean, I've heard of it ofc (of course), but why name it Plenty? (I'm not trying to be stupid btw (by the way), I'm just wondering)

Comment: 

Hello, 

Plenty is a symbol of the state’s abundant resources. Take a look at https://northcarolinahistory.org/encyclopedia/the-great-seal-of-the-stat... - 4th paragraph down that starts with "The Great Seal...". 

Erin Bradford, Government and Heritage Library 

Comment: 

Is the woman on the seal from the statue of liberty? I am talking about the woman named Liberty btw (by the way).

Comment: 

Hello, 

I don't think Liberty is the same as the Statue of Liberty, but there are some similiarities. Here is a description of the symbols on the state seal. http://www.spangledwithstars.com/state-seals/north-carolina-state-seal.htm

Erin Bradford, Government and Heritage Library

Comment: 

I thought the seal was talking about the animal seal! But how did the seal get its name?

Comment: 

Hello, 

The word seal comes from the latin language. The Latin sigillum, meaning an engraved image and also  the Latin word signum which means an identifying sign or mark. 

Hope that helps, 

Erin Bradford, Government and Heritage Library

Comment: 

I remember back in the late 1940s, Forsyth County school children were asked to draw a design for a new NC State Seal which would be entered in a contest. The winner would be awarded a prize and the seal design might become our official seal. There were rules to go by such as size, colors to use, etc. The teacher passed out compasses and straight edges and maybe pencils. I didn't win and I don't remember the outcome. Does anyone else remember any of this?

Comment: 

I like the web but it’s needs more info about why it was chosen

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