Heroic female figure once almost added to West Virginia state seal

930
Heroic female figure once almost added to West Virginia state seal

BECKLEY, W.Va. — The figure of a heroic female was proposed to be added to the State Seal of West Virginia in the 1990s, though the effort died in the statehouse, and the matter ended without explanation.

Advertisement

West Virginia artist Earl Ferguson, who was commissioned to design the new seal, said he was disappointed never to have heard a word about the outcome afterward.

"It was a huge disappointment for me," said Ferguson, who was commissioned by the late Florine Warden, a political activist from Beckley, West Virginia, to design the alternate version. "Nobody said squat to me about what happened."

Warden had proposed that a female figure be added to the seal to honor the many women who played a role in West Virginia history, including author Pearl S. Buck, first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, Mother's Day founder Anna Jarvis, and labor activist Mother Jones.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

The woman was to have joined a male farmer and male miner already present on the seal. She was dressed in a blue dress and bonnet and held a hoe in one hand and a basket of vegetables in the other.

Warden had reported that the had created a resolution to adopt the new design, but the measure died in the Senate.

Ferguson says he was disillusioned that he never heard of the matter again and that the commissioned work was never seen again.

"Most people probably have no idea about them even talking about it," he said. "She took the original to the state capitol, and that's the last I saw of it."

Advertisement


The Great Seal of W.Va.: what its symbols mean

The Great Seal of West Virginia with an accompanying illustration of commerce.

The Great Seal of West Virginia may be as fascinating to some West Virginians as the U.S. dollar bill is for other Americans. It's full of symbolism, the origins of which continue to be examined. Some of its symbols are mysterious, while others are likely more obvious.


Sign up to receive a FREE copy of West Virginia Explorer Magazine in your email weekly. 

Facebook Comments

Advertisement