“What is it that induceth you, what stirs you up to believe, or who told you that white signifieth faith, and blue constancy? An old paltry book, say you, sold by the hawking pedlars and balladmongers, entitled The Blason of Colours. Who made it? Whoever it was, he was wise in that he did not set his name to it. But, besides, I know not what I should rather admire in him, his presumption or his s...ottishness. His presumption and overweening, for that he should without reason, without cause, or without any appearance of truth, have dared to prescribe, by his private authority, what things should be denotated and signified by the colour: which is the custom of tyrants, who will have their will to bear sway in stead of equity, and not of the wise and learned, who with the evidence of reason satisfy their readers. His sottishness and want of spirit, in that he thought that, without any other demonstration or sufficient argument, the world would be pleased to make his blockish and ridiculous impositions the rule of their devices.” - Rabelais
I'm an Academic Herald. I'm not a "real" herald; I don't design and register people's coats of arms (though I can certainly suggest designs for those who might be interested). What I do is study, research, teach, and write about heraldry. (You can find some of my books about heraldry and a list of my articles and presentations about heraldry at "Our Website" below.) And I like to share what I have learned about heraldry, hence this blog. I hope that you'll find it informative, interesting at least occasionally, and worth your time to come back. Got a question? Comments? Feel free to ask or let me know. I'd love to hear from you. You can find my contact information in my Profile.
In a recent (April 9, 2013) news article, kentnews.co.uk noted the display in the Natural History Museum in London of the first substantiall...
Genealogical Speakers Guild
Genealogical Speakers Guild
Thursday, September 5, 2013
On the Road Again
We recently took a little trip to Fort Wayne, Indiana followed by a drive up to the little town of Charlotte, Michigan, where my family lived fifty years ago. We were attending the Federation of Genealogy Societies annual conference in Fort Wayne, and then went to Charlotte to do some family history research. (My father used to write a column in the local weekly newspaper, but he didn't keep copies of them. Admittedly, his columns were written on a manual typewriter, and carbon paper would have been the only option to do so. I learned a while back that the local library kept bound copies of the paper and would allow me access to them as well as permit me to photograph and/or scan them. Having done that now, I've got a huge digitization project facing me.)
Anyway, this trip was a great opportunity to once again confirm my long-standing belief that you can find heraldry everywhere, even in towns the size of Charlotte, which in the most recent census had just barely over 9,000 people. ("Salute!")*
Admittedly, not all of the heraldry we found was real coats of arms. But still, even the faux heraldry serves to illustrate that the use of coat armor is alive and well.
So let me share what I ran across in our travels, good, bad, and indifferent.
First up is the first piece of faux heraldry I saw, directly across the street from the Fort Wayne convention center, on the facade of the Embassy Hotel.
As you can see, the "shield" is blank, but it is otherwise organized very much like a complete achievement of arms, with a human face taking the place of helm and crest and a foliate design with flowers serving as mantling. The shield is being supported by two bird-winged wyverns resting atop a "gas bracket" compartment. There are also two pelicans atop a pair of columns vulning themselves in the upper corners of the rectangle containing the achievement.
It's a wonderful bit of carving (several identical panels ran across two sides of the hotel) and architectural decoration, but I find it a real shame that the shields are blank when it would have been so easy to carve a real coat of arms there.
* For my foreign readers, that's a line from the old TV show "Hee Haw," which would name some usually small town in America, give its population size, and then everyone in the cornfield would salute while saying "Salute!"