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History

"S" is for State Symbols

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio
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"S" is for State Symbols. As sovereign political entities, all fifty states have adopted special symbols. In every state, the first emblem was a seal. The tradition of designating flowers, trees, and birds as state symbols came into vogue at the turn of the last century. South Carolina adopted the yellow Jessamine as its state flower in 1924. The Sabal palmetto became the state tree in 1939 and the Carolina wren, the official bird in 1948. In 1911, South Carolina and Iowa were the first states of have an official song. “Carolina,” Henry Timrod’s poem set to music by Anne Custis Burgess was the first of two official songs. As of 2019, South Carolina had thirty-eight official emblems, including: Animal (white-tailed deer); Beverage (milk); Dance (shag); Dog (Boykin Spaniel); Shell (lettered olive); and Stone (Winnsboro blue granite).