Main Pages

Front Page
 Seal FAQs

Design Process
 1st Committee
   Ben Franklin
 2nd Committee
 3rd Committee
 Final Design
   Charles Thomson
 1782 Description

Latin Mottoes
 E Pluribus Unum
 Annuit Coeptis
 Novus... Seclorum

Symbols Front
 Bald Eagle
 Olive Branch
 Bundle of Arrows
 Rays of Light

Symbols Reverse
 Eye of Providence
 Rays of Light

Great Seals
 Official Dies
 First Engravings
 First Painting
 Diplomatic Medal
 Peace Medals
 Centennial Medal
 One-Dollar Bill

 Eagle Side
 Pyramid Side


 Wild Turkey
 President's Seal
 U.S. Constitution

Resources for Students and Teachers

In 2003, the U.S. State Department produced an excellent 18-page pamphlet on the history the Great Seal (3 Mb PDF).

In 2007, the United States Diplomacy Center created a comprehensive Exhibition Celebrating the 225th Anniversary of the Great Seal. On their website, you can download any of the exhibit's ten panels and reproduce them for classroom use. (Shown below are Panels 4 and 5.)

U.S. Diplomacy Center exhibit panels 4 and 5

A trifold brochure of the exhibit is also available.

The Great Seal Awareness Project (
can help communities display the Exhibit at local events.

Primary Reference for

The Eagle and the Shield:
A History of the Great Seal of the United States

This is by far the best source of accurate information about the Great Seal.

This extremely well-documented book by Richard S. Patterson and Richardson Dougall was published in 1976 by the Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs, Department of State, under the auspices of the American Revolution Bicentennial Administration. (681 pages, 92 illustrations)

Used copies are available, and a paperback reprint was published in 2005 (by University Press of the Pacific). You could also borrow it with an interlibrary loan.

Historical content is based on the official history of the Great Seal. is not affiliated with the U.S. Government.
Author and webwright: John D. MacArthur