For information regarding the use of the state seal or flag, see the usage restrictions.
The Great Seal of the State of Nebraska is a well known symbol of the state and is used to authenticate official documents. The Nebraska Constitution provides that the seal is to be kept by the secretary of state and used by him or her as directed by law. Legislation creating the original seal was passed in 1867.
The seal’s design is as follows: On the eastern part, a steamboat is ascending the Missouri River. The mechanic arts are represented by a smith with hammer and anvil. Agriculture is represented by a settler’s cabin, sheaves of wheat and stalks of growing corn. In the background, a train is heading toward the Rocky Mountains, which are in view in the west. In the top of the circle is the state motto: “Equality Before the Law.” The circle is surrounded with the words, “Great Seal of the State of Nebraska, March 1st, 1867.”
Legislation was passed in 1867 that required the secretary of state to procure an instrument to stamp the seal, and $25 was appropriated for the purchase. To carry out the law, a cast-iron press in the shape of a lion’s head was purchased.
The lion’s head press, which imprinted the seal, was used for official business for a remarkable 138 years. In 2005, Secretary of State John Gale retired the historic press after it was showing its age and was in danger of breaking. It was replaced by a new toggle-hand press.
However, the lion’s head press has not been forgotten. It was refurbished and is prominently displayed in a glass case in the Secretary of State’s Office.