The REAL Kansas State Seal?
April 28, 2009 11:00 PM   Subscribe

...whatever happened to Joe Ingalls' original sketch?

So Joseph Ingalls, way back in 1861, designed a preliminary sketch for the seal of the great state of Kansas.... Whatever happened to that sketch? It sounds way cooler than the 'final' current one and no amount of googling can seem to pull it up. What gives? Does anyone know where to find this (or any version thereof), short of stopping in Topeka and digging through old documents there?


"I was secretary of the Kansas state senate at its first session after our admission in 1861. A joint committee was appointed to present a design for the great seal of the state and I suggested a sketch embracing a single star rising from the clouds at the base of a field, with the constellation (representing the number of states then in the Union) above, accompanied by the motto, "Ad astra per aspera." If you will examine the seal as it now exists you will see that my idea was adopted, but in addition thereto the committee incorporated a mountain scene, a river view, a herd of buffalo chased by Indians on horseback, a log cabin with a settler plowing in the foreground, together with a number of other incongruous, allegorical and metaphorical augmentations which destroyed the beauty and simplicity of my design.

The clouds at the base were intended to represent the perils and troubles of our territorial history; the star emerging therefrom, the new state; the constellation, like that on the flag, the Union, to which, after a stormy struggle, it had been admitted." - Joseph Ingalls
[Biographical record prepared by G. H. Meixell]
(accessed via::
posted by ThomThomThomThom to Grab Bag (1 answer total)
Best answer: I wrote the Governor's office for you, with your question, and this was their reply:

"The Governor's Office forwarded your email question about Senator Ingalls and the State Seal to us. There is a fairly detailed description of the drawing of the original in an article in the Kansas State Collections, volume 8, pages 294-297, but it does not reproduce the drawing. The Collections is one of our early publications. The article describes a "blue shield at the base of a cloud," and a "single star rising from clouds at the base of a field with the constellation above." The clouds were supposed to represent the perils of Territorial Kansas history; the star represented the new state and the constellation represented the Union. The original sketch was submitted to a Joint Committee On Ways and Means during the 1st session of the Kansas Legislature in 1861. We do not have unpublished records from that committee. An article about the new seal appeared in the Leavenworth Conservative newspaper on May 20, 1861. None of these sources revealed where the final drawing ended up, if it was saved. If you would like to look into this further, it would probably require more time than our limited staff could devote to it. We have a list on our web page of people who do research in the Topeka area that you would be welcome to contact:
Thank you for writing.

Lin Fredericksen

Reference Archivist
State Archives & Library
Kansas Historical Society"

Sorry I couldn't help further...
posted by Petrot at 10:38 AM on May 23, 2009

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