Municipal Archives

History of the City Seal


City Seal.png

Authority to use a corporate seal is established in city charters, granted by the State of Texas. The earliest known City of Dallas authority to use a corporate seal is the 1871 Dallas City Charter when the Dallas City Council authorized the mayor to procure a seal. The seal was made in 1872 by O. L. Bailey for a charge of $9.00. The 1876 Dallas City Charter as amended in 1883 provided the authority to change the design of the seal. The City Secretary received custody of the seal in the 1889 charter as amended in 1905. The 1907 Dallas City Charter as amended through 1993 continues authorization to use a corporate seal. Changes to the imprint and design of the seal are evident on municipal bond certificates. The Municipal Bond Certificate Collection, 1874-1972, reveals design changes in 1881 and 1904. The seal design of 1904 was ​incorporated in the City Code in 1941 and is still used today. Slight variations of the seal have appeared, usually in printed form, throughout the City's history.  Most notable variations appear on covers of annual reports, the center of the official city flag, and on the outside of City Hall, 1500 Marilla Street.

Date Tim​​eline Description​​
April 20, 1871​​ The 18​71 Dallas City Charter, Section 1, authorizes the use of a corporate seal.
June 20, 1871
City Council Minute Book - Volume 1 records the procurement of the corporate seal on ​page 36.
"on motion the Mayor [Henry Ervay] was authorized to procure a Seal for the City Council."
Feb. 20, 1872City Council Minute Book - Volume 1 records payment to the maker of the seal on page 72.
"following accounts against the City were allowed to be paid - O. L. Bailey - $9.00 (Making Cor. Seal)."
1876 - 18831876 Dallas City Charter as amended in 1883, Section 1, provided for changes in seal design.
"may have a common seal and alter the same at pleasure."
The seal design was changed as evident on an 1881 municipal bond certificate. The actual date of the change may have been earlier.
Earliest known record of the current seal design.
1889 Dallas City Charter as amended in 1905, Section 34, gave custody of the seal to the City Secretary.  
"He shall have the custody of the seal of corporation and shall only affix the same to the obligations of the city by order of the City Council."
The design of the seal was incorporated in the City Code:
Ordinance #3251, July 30, 1941, Adoption of the City Code, Section 2.
"That the official seal of the City of Dallas from which the facsimile seal shall be reproduced is impressed herewith."
The City Code was revised and adopted by Ordinance #8737.  Design of the seal remains unchanged.
1907 Dallas City Charter as last amended retains the authority to use a corporate seal.
The City Code was reformatted and reprinted.  Design of the seal remains unchanged.

The above timeline was compiled from the following historical records collections​:
1. 1991-016: Dallas City Code Collection
2. 1991-074: Dallas City Charter Collection
3. 1991-111: Municipal Bond Certificates
4. Dallas City Council Minute Books​