World Civic Heraldry Guide: coats of arms and flags of cities, regions, states
New Hampshire, state seal
The seal of the state shall be 2 inches in diameter, circular, with the following detail and no other: A field crossed by a straight horizon line of the sea, above the center of the field; concentric with the field the rising sun, exposed above the horizon about 1/3 of its diameter; the field encompassed with laurel; across the field for the full width within the laurel a broadside view of the frigate Raleigh, on the stocks; the ship's bow dexter and higher than the stern; the 3 lower masts shown in place, together with the fore, main and mizzen tops, shrouds and mainstays; an ensign staff at the stern flies the United States flag authorized by act of Congress June 14, 1777; a jury staff on the mainmast and another on the foremast each flies a penant; flags and pennants are streaming to the dexter side; the hull is shown without a rudder; below the ship the field is divided into land and water by a double diagonal line whose highest point is sinister; no detail is shown anywhere on the water, nor any on the land between the water and the stocks except a granite boulder on the dexter side; encircling the field is the inscription, SEAL OF THE STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE, the words separated by round periods, except between the parts of New Hampshire; at the lowest point of the inscription is the date 1776, flanked on either side by a 5-pointed star, which group separates the beginning and end of the inscription.
The seal was first created in 1775 by the First Provincial Congress. It comprised a pine tree and an upright fish, on each side of a bundle of five arrows. The design reflected the state's then two major economic resources, and the arrows symbolized the strength of unity among the then five counties. When the present state constitution became effective in 1784, the new Legislature revised the seal, to depict a ship on stocks, with a rising sun in the background, to reflect Portsmouth having become a major shipbuilding center during the war years. Various items for shipment were also shown on a frontal dock. Details of this 1784 seal became so distorted in the ensuing century and a half that the 1931 Legislature voted major improvements, and, or the first time, spelled out its makeup. Director Otis G. Hammond of the New Hampshire Historical Society sparked this adjustment, by reporting that artists and sketchers had injected surprising details into the seal, as they produced new dies every few years for official state use. They produced rum barrels on the dock, and, on occasion, even human beings beside them. When Governor John G. Winant of Concord launched a second term in 1931, he named a committee to serve with Hammond, to produce a less objectionable seal. The 1931 Legislature readily approved its recommendations. /The NH Almanac , www.state.nh.us/
adopted (dd.mm.yyyy): 1931
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