Book

There probably isn’t a library in America that doesn’t have a dated state symbols reference. Nowadays, these frankly sterile references are supplemented by various websites focusing on state symbols.

Yet the recipe never seems to change. State symbols are typically relegated to the domains of school book reports and trivia, spiced with a little patriotism.

Yet symbols can be powerful and surprisingly complex. Think about the American flag, the Christian cross, the swastika and our national motto, E Pluribus Unum.

Symbols can tell us a lot about the people and jurisdictions that adopt them. Maine’s symbols are refreshingly unique and wholesome, maybe even a little inspirational.

What state motto can top “Dirigo,” which Mainers have tied to the North Star? What child wouldn’t want to live in a state that has two official state pies, including a creation called “whoopie pie”?

Moxie merits a book by itself. In fact, several books have been written about Moxie. Suffice it to say that I’ve become a believer, even if I’m still trying to figure out exactly what Moxie is.

My Maine Symbols doesn’t qualify as an encyclopedia. But it is probably the best reference on Maine symbols available. It discusses all the officially adopted symbols, along with some candidates that were never adopted. But the stars of the show may be some of Maine’s iconic unofficial symbols. Think flannel shirts, Bean boots and lighthouses. Maybe even Stephen King hanging upside down from a barn rafter.

But why stop there?

Rather than offer a simple list of symbols with boilerplate descriptions, My Maine Symbols ventures off the beaten path into the realm of inquiry and – gasp! – criticism.

What are Maine’s worst symbols? Why are Mainers hiding their official ballad and march? Should Mainers adopt a new flag…or an old one? And where is the best place in Maine to watch the sun rise?

This book doesn’t have all the answers, but it offers lots of food for thought.

  • Chapters

  • Symbols of State
  • Name & Nicknames
  • Motto & Slogans
  • Songs
  • State Seal & Coat of Arms
  • Flag(s)
  • EcoSymbols
  • Trees
  • Flowers
  • Fruit
  • Birds
  • Mammals
  • Herptiles
  • Insects
  • Fishes
  • Lobster
  • Earth Symbols
  • Cultural Symbols
  • Lighthouses
  • Clothing
  • Ships
  • Food
  • Moxie
  • Sports
  • People
  • Language
  • The Arts

Below is a list of Maine’s officially adopted state symbols.

Symbols of State
Nicknames The Pine Tree State, Border State, Old Dirigo State
Motto Dirigo
Song State of Maine Song 1937
March The Dirigo March 2012
Ballad The Ballad of the 20th Maine 2010
EcoSymbols
Flower white pine cone and tassel (Pinus strobus) 1895
Tree eastern white pine (Pinus strobus) 1945
Berry blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium) 1991
Herb wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens) 1999
Bird chickadee (Poecile) 1927
Animal moose (Alces alces) 1979
Cat Maine Coon Cat (Felis catus) 1985
Fish landlocked salmon (Salmo salar) 1969
Heritage Fish brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) 2005
Heritage Fish blueback charr (Salvelinus alpinus oquassa) 2007
Insect honeybee (Apis mellifera) 1975
Crustacean Maine lobster (Homarus americanus) 2016
Soil Chesuncook Soil Series 1999
Fossil † Pertica quadrifaria (Pertica quadrifaria) 1985
Gemstone tourmaline 1971
Cultural Symbols
Dessert blueberry pie 2011
Treat whoopie pie 2011
Sweetener pure Maine maple syrup 2015
Drink Moxie 2005
Vessel Schooner Bowdoin 1987
Official Language of the Deaf Community American Sign Language 1991
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