Pennsylvania Emblems
at a Glance

The State Seal

The State seal shows a shield with a sailing ship, a plough, and three sheaves of wheat. The combination of symbols on the shield may represent seals from early Pennsylvania counties. The plough, which was on Chester County's seal, symbolizes the rich resources of the Commonwealth. The ship under sail, which was on Philadelphia County's seal, symbolizes the commercial network across the state and around the world. The wheat symbolizes the harvest of not only agriculture and minerals but also of creative minds. The seal of Sussex county, Delaware (originally a part of the Pennsylvania province)had three sheaves of wheat.

The Indian cornstalk of plenty and an olive branch of peace are on either side of the shield.

The crest of the shield is a Bald eagle with outstretched wings symbolizing sovereignty with hope and purity.

The seal received legal recognition from the General Assembly in 1791, when it was designated the official State Seal.

The State Counter Seal

The counter seal shows a woman who represents Liberty trampling on a lion that represents Tyranny. The motto encircling the two indicates that both can't survive. The Commonwealth has demonstrated that tyranny can not live with her liberty loving citizens.
Coat of Arms

Coat of Arms

Pennsylvania's Coat of Arms is a more familiar symbol. It consists of: a shield with the ship, plough, and sheaves of wheat; an eagle for the crest; two black horses as supporters; and the motto "Virtue, Liberty and Independence." An olive branch and a cornstalk are crossed below the shield.

Numerous modifications were made to this coat of arms between 1778 and 1873, chiefly in the position and color of the supporting horses. In 1874, the legislature noted these variations and the lack of uniformity and appointed a commission to establish an official coat of arms for the Commonwealth. In 1875, the commission reported that it had adopted, almost unchanged, the coat of arms originally designed by Caleb Lownes ninety-six years earlier. This is the coat of arms in use today.
State Flag

State Flag

Pennsylvania's State Flag is composed of a blue field on which is embroidered with the State Coat of Arms.The blue, which is the same blue in the United States' Flag, signifies Justice and Loyalty.

The first State Flag bearing the State Coat of Arms was authorized by the General Assembly in 1799. During the Civil War, many Pennsylvania regiments carried flags modeled after the U.S. Flag, but substituted Pennsylvania's Coat of Arms for the field of stars. An act of the General Assembly of June 13, 1907, standardized the flag and required that the blue field match the blue of Old Glory.
Keystone arch
Keystone image

The Keystone

A "keystone" is the central, wedge-shaped stone in an arch, which holds all the other stones in place. Geographically, Pennsylvania was said to be "the keystone in the federal union." However, Pennsylvania is also a keystone in the development of the United States.

The application of the term "Keystone State" to Pennsylvania cannot be traced to any single source. It was commonly accepted soon after 1800. At a Jefferson Republican victory rally in October 1802, Pennsylvania was toasted as "the keystone in the federal union," and in the newspaper Aurora the following year the state was referred to as "the keystone in the democratic arch." The modern persistence of this designation is justified in view of the key position of Pennsylvania in the economic, social, and political development of the United States.

State Song

Music Sheet (PDF file)

Written and composed by
Eddie Khoury and Ronnie Bonner.

The official state song of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania was adopted by the General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Robert P. Casey on November 29, 1990.


Verse 1
Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania,
Mighty is your name,
Steeped in glory and tradition,
Object of acclaim.
Where brave men fought the foe of freedom,
Tyranny decried,
'Til the bell of independence
filled the countryside.
Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania,
May your future be,
filled with honor everlasting
as your history.

Verse 2
Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania,
Blessed by God's own hand,
Birthplace of a mighty nation,
Keystone of the land.
Where first our country's flag unfolded,
Freedom to proclaim,
May the voices of tomorrow
glorify your name.