Kentucky State Seal Information


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The Kentucky state seal has undergone changes throughout 200 years of existence. The original seal was a commission to engraver David Humphries. This version depicted the men; dressed in swallowtail coats, embracing in a bear hug so tight that one of the men's heads is obliterated by the others.

Other versions of the seal include one man in breeches and another in a frock coat. They are shown clasping hands in an awkward stance. Some humorists attribute this version to the rumor that all Kentuckians, at the time, drank excessively, and that these two men found it necessary to support each other in their effort to stand after the state motto: "United We Stand, Divided We Fall."

In order to keep the design of the seal consistent, the Kentucky legislature passed an act in 1962 that described the official seal as a pioneer meeting a gentleman in a swallowtail coat. The formally dressed man on the right represents England coming to Kentucky. The man in buckskin, on the left, is from the frontier. Shaking hands, they are uniting the colonial and pioneer aspects of the Commonwealth.



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