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State Emblem, New Hampshire Almanac

The information contained in the paragraphs below explain the State's emblem's design and the history of the State's motto, "Live Free or Die."

State Emblem

State Emblem

The state emblem shall be of the following design: Within an elliptical panel, the longest dimension of which shall be vertical, there shall appear an appropriate replica of the Old Man of the Mountain; surrounding the inner panel, and enclosed within another ellipse, there shall be at the bottom of the design the words of any state motto which may be adopted by the general court; and at the top of the design, between the inner and outer elliptical panels, the words, New Hampshire, appropriately separated from the motto, if adopted, by one star on each side. Said emblem may be placed on all printed or related material issued by the state and its subdivisions relative to the development of recreational, industrial, and agricultural resources of the state.

Sources: New Hampshire Revised Statutes Annotated (RSA) 3:1; Anderson, Leon. History. Manual for the General Court 1981.

State Motto

The words "Live Free or Die," written by General John Stark, July 31, 1809, shall be the official motto of the state.

It was the 1945 Legislature that gave New Hampshire its official motto and emblem, as World War II approached a successful end.

The motto became "Live Free Or Die," as once voiced by General John Stark, the state’s most distinguished hero of the Revolutionary War, and the world famous Old Man of the Mountain was voted the official state emblem.

The motto was part of a volunteer toast which General Stark sent to his wartime comrades, in which he declined an invitation to head up a 32nd anniversary reunion of the 1777 Battle of Bennington in Vermont, because of poor health. The toast said in full: "Live Free Or Die; Death Is Not The Worst of Evils." The following year, a similar invitation (also declined) said: "The toast, sir, which you sent us in 1809 will continue to vibrate with unceasing pleasure in our ears, "Live Free Or Die; Death Is Not The Worst Of Evils."

Sources: New Hampshire Revised Statutes Annotated (RSA) 3:1,8; Anderson, Leon. History. Manual for the General Court 1981; Moore, Howard Parker. A Life of General John Stark of New Hampshire. Howard Parker Moore author and publisher, c.1949.

The New Hampshire Almanac is compiled by the New Hampshire State Library from state statutes and other sources as noted.

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