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6th State (February 6, 1788), New England, northeast U.S.


State Abbreviation: MA

Nickname: Bay State, Old Colony State, Puritan State, Baked Bean State.

 Origin of Name: From Massachusetts tribe of Native Americans who lived in the Great Blue Hill region, south of Boston. The Indian term means "at or about the Great Hill".




Massachusetts State Symbols:

Capital: Boston
Motto: Ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem (By the sword we seek peace, but peace only under liberty)
Massachusetts Great Seal
Bean: Navy Bean
Berry: Cranberry
Beverage: Cranberry Juice
Bird: Black-Capped Chickadee (Penthestes atricapillus)
Building Rock and Monument Stone: Granite
Cat: Tabby Cat (Felis familiaris)
Ceremonial March: The Road to Boston
Cookie: Chocolate Chip Cookie
Dessert: Boston Cream Pie
Dog: Boston Terrier
Explorer Rock: Dighton Rock
Fish: Cod
Flower: Mayflower
Folk Dance: Square Dance
Folk Hero: Johnny Appleseed
Folk Song: "Massachusetts," words and music by Arlo Guthrie
Fossil: Theropod Dinosaur
Game Bird: Wild Turkey
Gem: Rhodonite
Glee Club Song: The Great State of Massachusetts
Historical Rock: Plymouth Rock
Horse: Morgan Horse
Insect: Ladybug
Marine Mammal: Right Whale (Eubabalena Glacialis)
Mineral: Babingtonite
Muffin: Corn Muffin
Ode of the Commonwealth: Ode to Massachusetts)
Patriotic Song of the Commonwealth: "Massachusetts (Because of You Our Land is Free)", words and music by Bernard Davidson
Poem: Blue Hills of Massachusetts (includes State Seal of MA.)
Rock: Roxbury Puddingstone
Shell: New England Neptune
Soil: Paxton Soil Series
Song: All Hail to Massachusetts (site includes music and lyrics)
Tree: American Elm

Massachusetts State Symbols
Information Sheet
and Color Pages (pdf)


Things to Know

Massachusetts produces the nation's largest cranberry crop.

Massachusetts is home to 150 public and private institutions of higher learning and is recognized worldwide for its academic heritage and reputation. Some of the well-known ones are Harvard, MIT, Holy Cross, Tufts, Boston College, Boston University, and the University of Massachusetts.

Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts opened on April 20, 1912 and is major league baseball's oldest ballpark.

The Pilgrims left Europe in 1620 to seek religious freedom. They made a treacherous voyage across the Atlantic Ocean on a ship called the Mayflower. The Mayflower was named after a flower known as "Trailing Arbutus," an evergreen with a white flower that has a pink center. The Pilgrims established their settlement at Plymouth, MA in 1620.

They were followed shortly by the Puritans, who established the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The Puritans named their colony after a local Indian tribe whose name means "a large hill place." The birthplace of many of the ideals of the American Revolution, Massachusetts attracted people who believed in self-government.

Massachusetts became a leader in resisting British oppression. In 1773, the Boston Tea Party protested unjust taxation. The Minute Men started the American Revolution by battling British troops at Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775.

Major Rivers: Charles River, Connecticut River, Hoosic River, Housatonic River, Merrimack River.

Presidents From Massachusetts

John Adams (1735 - 1826), 2nd President of the United States.
Printable fact sheet on President John Adams provides you with photos and personal information.

John Quincy Adams (1767 - 1848), 6th President of the United States.
Son of John Adams (2nd U.S. President)
Printable fact sheet on President John Quincy Adams provides you with photos and personal information.

Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933 ), 30th U.S. President
Printable fact sheet on Calvin Coolidge provides you with photos and personal information.

John F. Kennedy(1917-1963), 35th president of the United States.
Printable fact sheet on John F. Kennedy provides you with photos and personal information.

George Bush (1924- ), 41st U.S. President, Milton, Massachusetts.
Printable fact sheet on President George Bush provides you with photos and personal information.

Famous Bay Staters

Samuel Adams (1722 - 1803), American Revolutionary patriot and statesman, signer of the Declaration of Independence, and governor of Massachusetts.

Emily Dickinson (1830 - 1886), poet.

Benjamin Franklin, (1706 - 1790), printer, author, philosopher, diplomat, scientist, and inventor.

John Hancock (1737 - 1793), merchant, statesman, first signer of the Declaration of Independence, and first governor of the state of Massachusetts.

Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804 - 1864), novelist.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807 - 1882), poet.
Paul Revere (1735 - 1818), silversmith and patriot.
Midnight Rider--A Paul Revere Virtual Museum
This site contains 5 exhibit halls with many activities to do.
Read the poem "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere" by Longfellow.

Henry David Thoreau (1817 - 1862), essayist, naturalist, and philosopher.

Clara Barton (1821-1912), American Red Cross founder.

Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888), writer
Virtual visit of Orchard House the home of the Alcott family.

Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906), woman suffragist

Things to Do

Poem: Blue Hills of Massachusetts (includes State Seal of MA.)
Before printing under File in Page Setup set margins to zero.

Massachusetts State Bird and State Flower Printable Color Page.
Before printing under File in Page Setup set margins to zero.

Pomander Balls
Need: Thick skinned oranges, Whole cloves, Colored ribbon, Optional nylon netting

Colonial women often placed pomander balls in baskets or cupboards to hide cooking odors. They also carried them in handkerchiefs to sniff to cover bad street odors.

Wash fruit and dry well. Insert whole cloves in skin, covering entire surface of the fruit. Pre-punching holes into the fruit with a ball-point pen or toothpick makes inserting the cloves easier.

Wrap fruit loosely in cheesecloth or place in a foil covered tray or basket. If you wrap with cheesecloth you can also stick the tips of a wire hairpin into the fruit. Wrap the fruit in a piece of cheesecloth. and twist the cheesecloth together around the hairpin. Use a piece of yarn to tie the cheesecloth onto the hairpin. Next tie a ribbon bow around the yarn.

Store in a warm dry place till fruit shrinks and hardens, a week or two then they are ready to use. Dried pomander balls can be placed in a room to cover odors, a closet, or a drawer.

Indian Pudding
Need: 1 T. margarine, 2 ½ cups milk, ¾ cup cornmeal, 2 eggs, ½ cup molasses, ¼ t. salt

The first year the Pilgrims spent in America was difficult and harsh. The Indians taught them how to create a pudding that featured cornmeal with molasses as a sweetener. It became known as Indian Pudding.

Directions: Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a baking dish with the margarine. In a saucepan, mix the milk and cornmeal together over medium heat, stirring often. Cook about 10 to 15 minutes or until thickened. In a bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Gradually add the eggs to the cornmeal mixture, stirring constantly. Add the molasses and salt. Stir. Remove cornmeal mixture from heat and pour into the baking dish. Bake, uncovered, for about 45 minutes and then serve warm.

Today the pudding is served topped with vanilla ice cream.

Color Pages

Massachusetts Flag

Mayflower color pages

Things To Do-Other Sites

Massachusetts State Quarter
Read about the Massachusetts State Quarter and print out the color page.

Make a hornbook
The Pilgrims taught young boys and girls to read using hornbooks.

Massachusetts History Quiz
Play online or print


Virtual Tour of Plimoth Plantation
The living history museum of the seventeenth century.
Kids Section:
coloring pages, recipes, crafts, and more.

Stories To Read

The Ladybug Story
Read online or print.

The true tale of how a group of school children used the legislative process to make the ladybug the Official Bug of the State of Massachusetts.

Sites to See

The Meaning Of The Journey Mayflower II

Salem Witch Museum
The Salem Witch Trials of 1692.

Salem Witch Trials Chronology

Secrets of the Dead: The Witches Curse (PBS)

The Salem Witch Trials Memorial

A Brief History of the Salem Witch Trials (Smithsonian Mag)
One town's strange journey from paranoia to pardon.

Boston Cooking School Cook Book
Lots of old-time recipes from Fannie Farmer, published in 1918.


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