For decades, the only state symbols reference was a book written by George Earlie Shankle. It was first published before World War II, before Alaska and Hawaii were even states. Long after WWII, a second reference—by Benjamin and Barbara Shearer—was published.
Both books have a striking lack of pictures, particularly color pictures, and no classification scheme. Moreover, even the second book was last published two decades ago.
Reality check: the 50 U.S. states are represented by hundreds of officially designated symbols, along with countless unofficial symbols, and more are adopted each year. In fact, the sheer number of symbols makes it difficult to organize, study, and understand them. I was the first to develop a state symbols classification scheme, beginning with three broad categories: symbols of state, ecosymbols (plants, animals, and minerals), and cultural symbols.
I was also the first to undertake the task of grading each state’s symbols rosters. (The results weren’t pretty.)
In fact, I’m the author of a four-book series focusing on state symbols that is light years ahead of the stuffy references that have been gathering dust in libraries across America for decades.
This website offers brief descriptions of the state symbols, along with additional resources that should make it a good resource for students writing school reports. If you have a greater than average interest in state symbols, I suggest you continue your journey with My State Symbols Book (tentatively priced at $25-$50).
Geobop’s State Symbols is a huge reference—a virtual dinosaur. Tentatively priced at $100, I do not recommend it for anyone other than reference librarians, students of Americana, and hard core state symbols fanatics.
More than three decades in the making, I’m attempting to finally finish this series with a three-month sprint (July-August-September, 2022). If I can’t meet my deadline, oh well.
I am nearing the finish line, and you can check back now and then to learn when these books are available. Or Contact me if you’d like me to notify you when the books have been published.
The two larger references will be available as ebooks only. Grading the States and Flag Quest may be available as paperbacks as well. A related book, U.S. Symbols may be available as both an ebook and paperback, also.
I’ve even begun working on books about symbols of individual states, beginning with Maine.