The Speaker's Medallion takes its design from the mace of the Maryland House of Delegates. A symbol of the independence and authority of the House, the mace is used to bring order to the House of Delegates and to summon witnesses before it. The mace first took on special meaning in the history of a legislative body when it was employed by the English House of Commons as a symbol of its resistance to Charles I. Apparently, the mace of the House of Commons was an ebony rod surmounted by a silver globe, bearing the King's coat of arms and other marks of royal authority.

In Maryland, the first mace was presented in 1698 by Governor Francis Nicholson to the House of Delegates (then known as the Lower House of Assembly). Although it is not known for certain, the present mace may well be the original. It is made of ebony capped with silver, upon which is engraved the 1794 Great Seal of Maryland, designed by Charles Willson Peale, a native Marylander and one of the foremost artists of his day. The mace is 24 and 1/2 inches long by 1 and 3/4 inches in diameter. Today, it is placed in a wooden holder on the lower rostrum of the House of Delegates chamber whenever the House is in session.

The Speaker of the House of Delegates awards two medallions annually. One is presented to a former member of the House of Delegates in recognition of an outstanding career of service. The other is given to an individual chosen for his or her exemplary service to the House and the State of Maryland. Both are awarded in memory of Thomas Kennedy, a former member of the House, for his courageous stand on principle.

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 Maryland Manual On-Line, 2000

July 18, 2000   
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