Monday, May 9, 2016

Blogerata - Coat of Arms

This is the first of a series of pieces regarding the Glomerata, the Auburn University yearbook.

Recently, I purchased many old Gloms at a local thrift store. My girlfriend and I (she was very proud of the "Blogerata" name. It was too good not to use) thoroughly enjoyed looking through each volume and all the old photos of campus, and comparing it to how Auburn looks today. One volume was more memorable than others for me - the 1934 edition. Through all the black and white photos, it was still easy to grasp the nature of pre-World War II Auburn University.

Out of the nearly 300 pages, one in particular stood out to me. Just a few pages in to the publication, we came across what was titled the "Official Coat-of-Arms of the Alabama Polytechnic Institute." Take a look below:

How awesome is that?! I love looking through old logos of sports franchises and the like, but I've never seen anything like this. I never thought Auburn, well, API, to have an image like this. Granted there was no official logo like today's interlocking AU for API, the school's seal is about the closest thing we have to an API school logo. This Coat of Arms is the first time I've ever seen API on anything other than clothing and the seal.

Not only does its age make it cool, but the design is spectacular. The top of the image features a stoic eagle head hanging under an 1872 banner, the year in which Auburn officially adopted the Agricultural and Mechanical College name (side note, it's interesting to see Auburn publications during the early-to-mid 1900s switch back and forth on the 1856 and 1872 founding dates, due to the history of the school and change of legal control from the Methodist Church to the State of Alabama). Towards the bottom we see a Sphinx-like tiger head staring directly at the viewer.

A quick Google search came up empty when looking for other documentation of this design.

Because I loved the imagery so much, and had never seen it before, I decided to try my hand at digitizing it. I used my Canon DSLR camera to get a large, high quality photo, and spent the weekend in Photoshop outlining the entire image and eventually coloring the Coat of Arms. Here's how it came out:

I know it's not all that clean, but I'm happy with it. I'm pretty confident this is the only copy of this design available on the internet. I just wish there was some more backstory on this whole thing.

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