Why does the Department of State have possession of the Great Seal of the United States?

The Department of State acquired possession of the Great Seal through an Act of Congress on September 15, 1789, entitled, “An Act to provide for the safe keeping of the Acts, Records, and Seal of the United States, and for other purposes.” In the fulfillment of its duties, the Department of State uses the Great Seal in the preparation, sealing, and recording of the commissions of Presidential appointees, on instruments of ratification of treaties and in the preparation and authentication of copies under the Department’s Seal.

For more information about the Great Seal, please see The Great Seal of the United States.

For more information on copyright and use of the Great Seal, please click here.