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"S" is for State Seal

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"S" is for State seal. The great seal of South Carolina was first used May 22, 1777. It was a double-sided, circular device impressed on wax and appended to documents by cords or ribbons. Its principal designers were William Henry Drayton and Arthur Middleton. The inspiration for the design came form the Battle of Sullivan’s Island. The seal obverse showed a palmetto on the shore representing the fort, at the base of which was a blasted oak representing the ships of the Royal Navy. From the tree hung two shields. A palm hung with shields was an ancient Roman emblem of victory. The reverse depicted the Roman goddess Spes (Hope) walking on the beach at dawn over discarded weapons and holding a laurel blossom. Spes symbolized the patriots’ optimism. The two state mottoes appeared on the seal.

Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.