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

The first mace of the House of Delegates (then known as the Lower House of Assembly) was presented to it by Governor Francis Nicholson in 1698. Although it is not known for certain, the present mace may well be the original mace. It is capped by 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 and 1 and 3/4 inches in diameter and is made of ebony capped with silver. Today it is placed in a wooden holder on the lower rostrum of the House of Delegates chamber whenever the House is in Session.

Annually, two Medallions are awarded by the Speaker. One is awarded 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. Both are given in memory of Thomas Kennedy, a former member of the House, for his courageous stand on principle.

 Maryland Manual On-Line, 1998

July 10, 1998   
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