( click here - for enlarged view)
A silk flag, blue field, five feet six inches fly, and four feet four inches on pike, bordered with gilt fringe two and one-half inches in width,
with state seal of Idaho twenty-one inches in diameter, in colors, in the center of a blue field. The words "State of Idaho" are embroidered
in with block letters, two inches in height on a red band three inches in width by twenty-nine inches in length, the band being in gold and
placed about eight and one-half inches from the lower border of fringe and parallel with the same.
SEAL FOR IDAHO TERRITORY 1863
No official record remains of the adoption of the first Great Seal of Idaho when it became a territory in 1863.
The design is attributed to Silas D. Cochran, a clerk in the office of the Secretary of State.
IDAHO'S FINAL SEAL BEFORE STATEHOOD 1890
Dissatisfaction with the official seal caused Governor Caleb Lyon to present a seal of his own design which
was accepted by the Idaho Territorial Legislature on January 11, 1866. This, too, was controversial and was
redrawn several times. Nevertheless, it was used until Idaho became a state in 1890.
IDAHO HAS THE ONLY GREAT SEAL DESIGNED BY A WOMAN
By Suzanne Taylor
Idaho became a state on July 3, 1890 and that same summer a talented young woman came to the state capitol at
Boise to visit relatives. Emma Sarah Etine Edwards (later she married mining man James G. Green) was the
daughter of John C. Edwards, a former Governor of Missouri (1844-48) who had emigrated to Stockton,
California where he acquired large land holdings, a beautiful French Creole wife, Emma Catherine Richards,
and became Mayor of Stockton, in about that order.
Emma, eldest of a family of eight, was exceptionally well educated for a woman of that period and when
she dropped into Boise, it was on her way home from a year spent at art school in New York. However, what
was to be a very short visit turned into a lifelong stay, for she fell in love with the charming city and its people
and opened art classes where the young pionéers of the community learned to paint.
Shortly after her classes started, she was invited to enter a design for the Great Seal of the State of Idaho.
Acting on Concurrent Resolution No. 1, adopted by the First Legislature of the newest state in the union, a
committee was appointed from that body and instructed to offer a prize of one hundred dollars for the best
Artists from all over the country entered the competition, but the unanimous winner was young Emma
Edwards, who became the first and only woman to design the Great Seal of a State. She was handed the
honorarium by Governor Norman B. Willey on March 5, 1891. The state flag also carries the seal centered on
a deep blue background.
Emma Edwards Green had no children of her own, but assisted in rearing a nephew, Darell B. Edwards, a
distinguished Oakland attorney. Ralph Edwards of "This is Your Life," also a nephew, shows a valid artistic
strain flourished in the Edwards family. Mrs. Green died in Boise January 6, 1942. She was buried beside her
husband in Oakland, California.
DESCRIPTION OF THE IDAHO STATE SEAL
By Emma Edwards Green, the Designer
Before designing the seal, I was careful to make a thorough study of the resources and future possibilities of the
State. I invited the advice and counsel of every member of the Legislature and other citizens qualified to help in
creating a Seal of State that really represented Idaho at that time. Idaho had been admitted into the Union on
July 3rd, 1890. The first state Legislature met in Boise on December 8, 1890, and on March 14th, 1891,
adopted my design for the Great Seal of the State of Idaho.
The question of Woman Suffrage was being agitated
somewhat, and as leading men and politicians agreed that Idaho would eventually give women the right to vote, and
as mining was the chief industry, and the mining man the largest financial factor of the state at that time, I made the
figure of the man the most prominent in the design, while that of the woman, signifying justice, as noted by the scales;
liberty, as denoted by the liberty cap on the end of the spear, and equality with man as denoted by her position
at his side, also signifies freedom. The pick and shovel held by the miner, and the ledge of rock beside which he
stands, as well as the pieces of ore scattered about his feet, all indicate the chief occupation of the State. The
stamp mill in the distance, which you can see by using a magnifying glass, is also typical of the mining interest of
Idaho. The shield between the man and woman is emblematic of the protection they unite in giving the state.
The large fir or pine tree in the foreground in the shield refers to Idaho's immense timber interests. The husbandman
plowing on the left side of the shield, together with the sheaf of grain beneath the shield, are emblematic of
Idaho's agricultural resources, while the cornucopias, or horns of plenty, refer to the horticultural. Idaho has a
game law, which protects the elk and moose. The elk's head, therefore, rises above the shield. The state
flower, the wild Syringa or Mock Orange, grows at the woman's feet, while the ripened wheat grows as high
as her shoulder. The star signifies a new light in the galaxy of states. . . . The river depicted in the shield is our
mighty Snake or Shoshone River, a stream of great majesty.
In regard to the coloring of the emblems used in the making of the Great Seal of the State of Idaho, my
principal desire was to use such colors as would typify pure Americanism and the history of the State. As
Idaho was a virgin state, I robed my goddess in white and made the liberty cap on the end of the spear
the same color. In representing the miner, I gave him the garb of the period suggested by such mining authorities
as former United States Senator George Shoup, of Idaho, former Governor Norman B. Willey if Idaho,
former Governor James H. Hawley of Idaho, and other mining men and early residents of the state who
knew intimately the usual garb of the miner. Almost unanimously they said, "Do not put the miner in a red shirt."
"Make the shirt a grayish brown," said Captain J.J. Wells, chairman of the Seal Committee. The "Light of the
Mountains" is typified by the rosy glow which precedes the sunrise.
STATE SEAL NOW IN USE
In 1957, the thirty-fourth session of the Idaho legislature authorized the updating and improvement of the
Great Seal in order to more clearly define Idaho's main industries, mining, agriculture and forestry as well
as highlight the state's natural beauty. Paul B. Evans and the Caxton Printers, Ltd. were commissioned to
revise the seal. This painting by Paul B. Evans officially replaced the original design by Emma Edwards Green
and is designated as the "Official Copy." The official Great Seal of the State of Idaho can be seen in the office
of the Secretary of State.
In 1863, Congress designated the Idaho Territory with the erroneous understanding that Idaho was a Shoshone word meaning Gem of the Mountains.
In spite of the misunderstanding concerning the origin of the name the state continues to be known as the "Gem State" and the "Gem of the Mountains".
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