Secretary of State
Both the Great Seal of Michigan and the Coat of Arms were adopted at the Constitutional Convention of 1835. Lewis Cass, Michigan's second (non-acting) Territorial governor, created the original design.
The Coat of Arms is familiar to us because it is shown on Michigan's state flag. This first occurred in 1837. From that time, numerous flags were in use bearing the State Coat of Arms, with various designs and emblems.
It was not until 1865, however, that an official Michigan flag was adopted. The design of this flag, recommended by Adjutant-General John Robertson, and approved by Governor Crapo, bore on one side the State Coat of Arms on a field of blue. On the reverse side was the arms of the United States.
Michigan's state flag was first unfurled at the laying of the corner stone at the monument of the Solders' National Cemetery at Gettysburg on the Fourth of July, 1865.
By Act 209 of 1911, the State of Michigan flag was adopted with a simple phrase, "The State Flag shall be blue charged with the arms of the state." (MCL 2.23) Please contact your legislator for information on ordering a State of Michigan flag. You can find your legislator at www.legislature.mi.gov.
Michigan's current Coat of Arms was adopted by the Legislature in 1911. (MCL 2.21) It is identical to the Great Seal of Michigan with the legend or circle, The Great Seal of the State of Michigan, A.D. MDCCCXXXV, omitted.
Unlike the Great Seal, the Coat of Arms may be printed on documents, stationery, or ornaments with no design or words and disconnected with any advertisement. (MCL 750.247) However, a person who improperly exhibits and displays the Coat of Arms is guilty of a misdemeanor. (MCL 750.245)
If you would like to request a camera-ready copy of the Coat of Arms, you may contact the Department of Technology, Management and Budget, Print and Graphic Services, Visual Communications Unit, at 517-322-1889.