Naked Lady Liberty #ThisWeekInWYHistory
(Gillette, Wyo.) On Jan. 11, 1891, the Wyoming Legislature approved a state seal, which was designed by Rep. Hugo Buechner. A Cheyenne jeweler. However, this would not go on to be the state seal after all.
Fenimore Chatterton, the sixth Wyoming Governor, apparently liked his design better, which displayed Lady Liberty in the buff. As the seal design was on its way to Acting Governor Amos Barber’s desk for signature, Chatterton switched Buechner’s design with his own.
So, Wyoming very nearly had a naked lady on its seal. Exactly when the deception was realized is unclear, but by the summer of that same year, the ruse was up. Barber, who was also secretary of state, declared that until the legislature designated a new seal, the Wyoming Territorial Seal would continue to be the seal for the state.
For reasons that are also unclear, Barber didn’t want to use Buechner’s design. Barber commissioned Philadelphia artist Edmund Stewardson to design a new seal and produce a four-foot wide plaster mold to be displayed in Barber’s office.
The legislative committee overseeing the design wanted the figure on the left to be a shepherd, but instead a rancher in chaps was portrayed. In order not to leave out other types of ranchers, the word “cattle” was replaced with “livestock.”
The official seal also contains the words grain, mines, and oil.
The plaster seal of the official design was then sent to the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Philadelphia. It was then misplaced.