U.S. Universities and Colleges

Heraldry in the United States
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JMcMillan
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U.S. Universities and Colleges

Postby JMcMillan » 30 Jan 2016, 18:43

Taking up Arthur's challenge for people to post images of universities in their own countries...and sticking to those that are passably heraldic, not including allegorical/pictorial seals.

Maybe I could start with the family of arms of Harvard University and its component parts and associated institutions.

Harvard University, founded as Harvard College 1636. The arms first appear in monochrome as the design for the college seal in 1643 and gradually acquired the gules field, gained and lost an argent chevron between the books, and finally were set in this form in the late 19th century. My emblazonment from the AHS website:
Image

Harvard College, now the designation of the undergraduate component of the university, similar to the arms as used from the late 1600s into the 19th century.
Harvard College.png


Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, apparently not much used. Adopted in the early 20th century as part of a project to create arms for all Harvard's components, primarily led by Pierre de Chaignon La Rose.
Harvard GSAS.gif


Harvard Medical School, by La Rose based on the arms used by the Massachusetts Warren family, of which the founder of the school was a member. The barrulet in chief should be azure and or.
Harv Med.jpg


More to come.
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Re: U.S. Universities and Colleges

Postby Arthur Radburn » 01 Feb 2016, 18:00

An interesting family of arms. La Rose evidently worked on the "theme and variations" principle. For my part, I prefer the two arms with the chevron and the fess. The medical school design seems a bit awkward, with the barrulet compony looking rather like a boom across a vehicle entrance!

The barrulet also raises the question of the "rule of tincture". Purists might well say that Azure and Or on a field Gules contravenes the "rule" whereas Or and Azure complies, because placing Or first is taken to be metal on colour, but placing Azure first is taken to be colour on colour.
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Re: U.S. Universities and Colleges

Postby JMcMillan » 01 Feb 2016, 23:22

Rather than do all the Harvard component arms seriatim, I've uploaded a Harvard armorial that can be viewed at
http://www.seaflags.us/Harvard%20Armorial.pdf

Unfortunately, I can no longer find the link to Professor Mason Hammond's 1981 article giving the history and significance of the various arms. Most of the academic component arms are derived from the arms of major figures in the establishment or endowment of the various schools. The School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (now John A. Paulson School of E&AS) arms are an abominable revision/revival of the arms created by Pierre de Chaignon La Rose for the Lawrence Scientific School, which was later abolished and merged into the overall Faculty of Arts and Sciences. In 2007, the Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences was carved out into a separate school once more and given the former Lawrence School arms with the erstwhile Argent field changed to Gules, the cross raguly Gules and the Harvard chief changed to Sable, and the idiotic little rope border between the chief and field added. Very unfortunate.

"Houses" at Harvard are the equivalent of residential colleges at British universities, more or less. The arms of the original colleges were developed by La Rose based on the arms of the people they were named after. Some of these have, in practice, reverted to the actual undifferenced arms of the namesakes; some of the newer ones have barely heraldic arms.

If I can explain anything about any particular coat, I'll try.
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Re: U.S. Universities and Colleges

Postby JMcMillan » 02 Feb 2016, 01:13

The second oldest university in the USA, and the only one to have a full-fledged grant of arms from the English heralds, is the College of William and Mary in Virginia (still called a college, but with full university status).

W-M transparent.gif


The arms are blazoned in the 14 May 1694 grant by Garter and Clarenceux as "Vert a Colledge, or Edifice Mason’d Argent in chief a Sun rising Or the Hemisphere proper." As the institution was still in the planning phases, the arms were granted to the trustees of a college that didn't yet have a name, then were later transferred by new letters patent in 1698 to the “President and Masters or Professors of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.”

Without going into the full history, the college now invariably uses the arms as emblazoned above, which is from a 1929 certification of the arms by Algar Howard, Windsor Herald, intended to be in the style depicted on late 17th century grants. The basic depiction of the "colledge" is close to that shown on the college's 18th century seal (although the shield shape is different). It doesn't remotely resemble what William and Mary has ever looked like, but is a fair approximation of Brasenose College, Oxford, with the Radcliffe Camera in the background.
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Re: U.S. Universities and Colleges

Postby Chris Green » 02 Feb 2016, 05:45

I am sure that the alumni, staff and students of the College of William and Mary treasure their CoA, just as the parents of an ugly baby still love it to bits. The difference is that an ugly baby may well grow into a gifted, perhaps even handsome/beautiful adult. These arms will never be anything but a travesty of heraldic art and science. They must rank with the arms of Lord Nelson in the list of "memorable for all the wrong reasons". The various Harvard arms by contrast are classical, if predictable with their open books
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Re: U.S. Universities and Colleges

Postby JMcMillan » 02 Feb 2016, 15:11

I can't say that I disagree; just one more bit of evidence that professional heralds don't necessarily produce better heraldry than amateurs.

Moving on to Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, the 3rd oldest in the U.S.

Official_Yale_Shield.png


Yale was founded in 1701, but the arms date a bit later, sometime between 1722 (when the Connecticut General Assembly authorized the trustees of the college to adopt a common seal), and 1736, when a seal depicting an open book inscribed with the Hebrew words Urim v thummim is known to have been used on degree diplomas. Apparently Biblical scholars debate what these words mean, but the Congregationalist (Puritan) ministers who founded Yale apparently thought they translated approximately as "light and truth."

In contrast to Harvard, where the de facto use of a red field in the arms was well established long before crimson was adopted as the college color, Yale’s shield seems to have had no established tinctures, either official or customary, until well after the college’s rowing crew adopted blue as its color in the 1860s.

Like Harvard, Yale has an extensively family of mostly good arms, developed in the 20th century, for its component schools and colleges. Yale College is the undergraduate element of the university. Its arms are based on those ascribed to Elihu Yale, the British East India merchant who was a major early benefactor and for whom the institution is named, with a chief of the university arms.

Yale College.gif


Other components generally bear arms with either a chief of the university arms or a chief of Elihu Yale's arms, but not as systematically as their Harvard counterparts. Most of the genuinely heraldic arms (including those of Yale College) were designed by Lt. Col. Theodore Sizer, professor emeritus of art history, who was officially appointed as Yale's "pursuivant of arms" in 1963. An interesting aside: Prof. Sizer's military title was not merely a courtesy; as a U.S. Army Reserve officer in World War II, he was one of the "monuments men" about whom the George Clooney movie was made.

The arms of the residential colleges are mostly simply the arms of the people for whom they're named--bad heraldic practice but justified by the examples of many colleges at Oxford and Cambridge. I've uploaded a Yale armorial at http://www.seaflags.us/Yale%20Armorial.pdf
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Re: U.S. Universities and Colleges

Postby JMcMillan » 03 Feb 2016, 04:29

I just came across my notes of official blazons of the various Harvard arms. La Rose blazoned the thin line between field and chief on those arms with a gules field as a "fillet gobony." Thus the arms of the School of Medicine were officially blazoned "Gules a lion rampant argent and, sustained by a fillet gobony or and azure, a chief of Harvard," while the Graduate School of Design is "Gules fretty argent a bend vair, and sustained by a fillet gobony or and azure, a chief of Harvard."

And knowing that someone is bound to ask, the blazon for the Yale School of Drama is "Argent on a bend sinister sable a tilting spear of the field, issuant from chief a drapery gules overall fastened in dexter chief, chief point, and sinister chief by bezants, and overall a base triple nowy sable irradiated in chief or."
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Re: U.S. Universities and Colleges

Postby Michael F. McCartney » 03 Feb 2016, 08:37

Do those last arms signify a collection of drama queens? Oy vey... but at least both the University and the descendants if any of old Elihu, are spared the embarrassment of appearing on this armorial stage; too bad about the Bard.

One might speculate that the arms might originally had the Yale U and/or family arms on the drapery in chief, but that someone's attorneys sent the drama folk a demand to cease and desist, with a copy of the Court of Chivalry decision in the Manchester Palace of Varieties case... ;)
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Re: U.S. Universities and Colleges

Postby GSelvester » 04 Feb 2016, 15:17

Columbia University adopted a "school shield" which it insists is not a coat of arms, in 1949.

Image

It was shown sometimes with a crest but usually shown as just the shield and motto.

Image

It was later redesigned to its current appearance which the university uses only on occasion as the school's "official unofficial emblem".

Image

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Re: U.S. Universities and Colleges

Postby Chris Green » 04 Feb 2016, 15:46

Columbia University adopted a "school shield" which it insists is not a coat of arms, in 1949.


When is a shield not a coat of arms?

1) When the President of an American University so decrees.

2) When the Trustees of the same American University so decree.

3) When the Alumni of the same, or any other, University so decree.

or 4) When a shield has just arrived from the shield-smith and before the herald-painter has unpacked his brushes.

Do not on any account attempt to write on both sides of the paper at once.

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