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.
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).
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). Later revisions to the law were enacted in 1969 (Chapter 79, Acts of 1969; Code State Government Article, secs. 13-101 to 13-105).
August 9, 2011
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