Heraldry in the News

Harvard Heraldic Hoohah


Harvard University. Just the name conjures up an image of ivy league, preppy types, crested blazers, rowing and barbershop singing. An oasis of academic excellence. But all is not well in the hallowed halls of Harvard. Why? well it seems heraldry is causing quite a stir in the Law Faculty.  A shield used since the 1930’s is now deemed inappropriate as an emblem. The shield is representative of the Royall Family, notorious and brutal slave owners. So the Law Faulty has now retired it.  That action now begs the question, if we are to hold and judge our ancestors accountable for misdeeds by banning symbols associated with them where do we stop? Is the very emblem of America itself now under threat?  Turkey-New-Yorker-FranklinThe eagle, far from being the symbol of liberty could as easily be construed as an emblem of oppression and subjugation. It was after all also the symbol of Rome who thrived on slavery, Napoleon, whose legions butchered their way across Europe, Mussolini’s Fascists and of course most notoriously of all Adolf Hitler under whose eagle’s gaze the brutality of the Holocaust was perpetrated.  Perhaps before long Ben Franklin’s Turkey will be adopted as America’s emblem after all, but then again perhaps not as it also could symbolise early settlers removing the native Americans.  It seems we may be in for a future of  bland logo type branding for institutions and possibly nations. The precedent is set, Liechtenstein recently did away with it’s coat of arms and now uses a brand logo.  ASD

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