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Old 08-20-2010, 10:54 AM
Gusteau Gusteau is offline
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This thread makes me all...

Anyway, this thread combines two things I'm passionate about - heraldry and Greek History! So I'm going to warn you in advance that these posts will be lengthy, but hopefully fun and informative. Since I have, ahem, a lot to say I'm going to separate this into two posts, Delta Chi pre Coat of Arms and The Evolution of Delta Chi's Arms.

Delta Chi did not have a Coat of Arms until 1899. Before that we used the Emblem as a visual representation of the Fraternity. The Emblem was drawn by Founder Peter Schermerhorn Johnson to be used in the 1891 Cornellian. It represents the Hand of Humanity reaching for the Key of Knowledge.

Johnson wrote the following poem when he designed the Emblem:

In the city of Grenada, In that quaint old Moorish town, Where Alhambra's noble palace, From the lofty height looks down; O'er the portal to the courtyard, Where each passerby may see: Graved by subtle Moorish sculptor, Are the mystic hand and key. On that symbol rests a legend, Brought from far Araby's sands, By the Saracenic warriors. When they conquered Gothic lands: And the meaning of that emblem. As has oft been told to me: Is that wisdom's rarest treasures, Fill the hand that grasps the key. We have placed that ancient emblem on the banner that we love. Golden key of golden promise, with the open hand above: Aid our Maters' strength, my brother, that our own fraternity: In the coming years yet distant, have the hand that grasps the key.

The Emblem is worn on a medallion by past and present international officers and members of the Order of the White Carnation. As an Associate Member I remember being so mystified by the Emblem, and I still think of it as a special part of our history.

This design was used on early charters. It has the interlocking letters on a shield with an owl, laurel leaves, and the lamp of knowledge, which has been Delta Chi's symbol for Education since 1890.

"Delta Chi is not a weekend or once-a-year affair but a lifelong opportunity and privilege"
- Albert Sullard Barnes
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Old 08-20-2010, 11:05 AM
Scully Scully is offline
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The crest of AEPhi. The three columns Α, Ε & Φ stand for faculty approval, student esteem, and sorority fidelity. It also incorporates our motto: Multa Corda, Una Causa (Many Hearts, One Purpose).

Alpha Epsilon Phi
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Old 08-20-2010, 11:11 AM
purcupile purcupile is offline
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I’m intrigued by this thread from the standpoint of a graphics artist.

It is very presumptuous of me to refer to myself as an artist of any sort when actually I am a history buff who can stay in the lines. I became interested in the history of my fraternity (never called it a frat, and it’s very unlikely I will ever call it a GLO) when I was fortunate to come across a copy of the history of my fraternity written in 1906. As I read that history I became intrigued with the development of the coat-of-arms and began to study other histories and images from different fraternities.

It is important to note that on this subject a little of the evolution of fraternities and sororities from literary societies to social societies is important. During the 1870’s into the 1890’s most fraternities were loosely controlled organizations. While they had their roots in a small group of founders the growth of these organizations was limited by the necessity to keep their existence a secret from the administration of their various colleges. It being easier to keep a secret among a small group resulted in slow growth in membership in terms of both individuals and chapters. Following the War of Rebellion and the 1870’s began a period of breaking out of their secret existence. As a result there was a growth of expansion with chapters quickly springing up in different geographical areas across the country. With this expansion there was more control at the chapter levels than through what was then a disorganized national leadership. This resulted in different images (most often in the form of steel engravings) of the various organizations reflecting the local image of the individual chapters or charters. These images most always were represented in the college annuals…in fact that was about the only place where an organization’s image appeared. Some of my favorite images came from this era, in the form of elaborate allegorical representations from the various chapters. One of my favorite images was a Sigma Chi image of their badge and motto floating above an island…from that image I created, what I consider to the most beautiful image of the Sigma Chi badge. I have subsequently seen this same allegory with other fraternity’s badges and mottos. However, I digress as this forum is for a discussion of the arms of the fraternities not for badges…nor is it my intent to discuss fraternities different from my own.

Following this period of chapter freedom the National leaders began to see a need to control what today we call “branding” of their organizations…they wanted to be in control of the images of both their badges and coat-of-arms. It was vital that they take this control for jewelers across the country were designing badges however an individual member wanted it done…and they were finding every possible use for the images they were creating…button covers, hat pins, watch fobs, shirt studs as well as adding symbols and colors which was never intended. And the same thing was occurring in the designs of the coat-of-arms and the seals.

During the period of the late 1880’s through the turn of the century many fraternities went about creating specific images which incorporated the rituals, and purpose of their founding. Some just drew up an image which appealed to them, while others took a more pragmatic approach which required that a heraldic description from which to artistically design the coat-of-arms. For those reading who are not familiar with that terms is a cryptic and specific description of a coat-of-arms,,,it follows the ancient symbols in use hundreds of years ago. At that time there were only 5 colors and 2 metals that were used on arms… e.g. horizontal lines symbolized azure in drawings.

The blazon for the “new” (new being over 100 years ago) coat of arms of my fraternity (Phi Delta Theta) reads:

Escutcheon: azure, on a bend argent, between six mullets of the second, a sword or point downward.

Helmet: affrontee, visor closed of the third, mantling of the first and second.

Crest: a dexter arm embowed vambraced of the third, hand carnation hurling a javelin of the third.

Motto: Eis anhr oudeis anhr

After exhausting and painstaking consultation of heraldic authorities The Fraternity, had the blazon completed and since that description accurately described the various elements of the coat-of-arms it was turned over to the engravers to interpret and etch their image into copper sheets from which the steel engravings were produced.

This leads to the interesting saga of the Phi Delta Theta coat-of-arms. The Fraternity had various images submitted which reflected engraver’s interpretation of the blazon. A specific image was chosen and copyrighted in 1899, and an engraver R.B. Lockwood of New York was selected to engrave the new coat-of-arms. When it was completed it was provided to the publishers of the various college annuals. However the final engraving was rejected by the Convention of 1900…Lockwood had further embellished the image by adding different and undesired components. For instance he added a face on the top of the helmet, changed the visor to look more like a mouth, and added crescent to the bottom of the helmet. This last embellishment was offensive to the members as it did not represent their Christian ideology or the tenets of The Fraternity.

The Convention of 1902 ordered that the coat-of-arms should be engraved by Louis Dreka of Philadelphia…a well know engraver who engraved for the U.S. Mint and was responsible for many fraternity and sorority images. Dreka completed his eng4aving in 1903 and his coat-of-arms was accepted and was the frontispiece of The Scroll, October 1903. The chapters across the country were given the assignment of seeing that the publishers of their annuals had the new coat-of-arms. In many cases this did not happen and as a result, for nearly a hundred years the Lockwood design was used by publishers.

At this time the images of most organization were only what was published in the college annuals and a few specialty publications, in almost every case those images were only a few inches tall. The sometime in the 1920’s a Phi Delt artist hand-drew the image which increased the size, but it was drawn from the Lockwood image and as a result nearly every product the licensed vendors create is from that hand-drawn image…the one rejected by The Fraternity.

I have digitally recreated the coat-of-arms, as well as badges of Phi Delta Theta and I am in the process of donating them to The Fraternity. Those designs represent more than 1000 hours of study and design. As I have done with all of my images I have created them as a vector image which results in being able to reduce the image to the size of a postage stamp and enlarge it to billboard size without any distortion or pixilation.

If anyone is interested in seeing some of these images I will try to figure out how to manage the uploading images process and add them to a later post.

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Old 08-20-2010, 11:15 AM
MysticCat MysticCat is offline
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Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia

Our Tenth National Convention in 1910 (Ithaca, NY) was a big event for us symbol-wise. That convention standardized the form of our badge, after a decade of a variety of styles. It added gold to red and black as an official color. It adopted the design of our shingle, which is still in use. And it adopted our coat of arms and our flag.

As a little background, it's worth remembering that in 1910, our name was Sinfonia Fraternity (formally, Sinfonia Fraternity of America). We were founded with that name in 1898, but the Greek letters ΦΜΑ were in use at the latest by April 1902. Some forms of our badge included the Greek letters, while others just had the Old English S. In 1908, the Constitution was amended to include the Greek letters, but the name was not legally changed until 1947.

This is our coat of arms:

As you can see, the design from the center of the badge is the centerpiece of the design. The arms appear on the shingle adopted in 1910 (this one is blank, lacking the name and chapter of the member, the chapter president's signature and the seal):

The arms also appear on the official flag:

(Not a great picture; the yellow should be gold and the red should be a little darker, but it shows what the flag looks like.) The flag is usually seen in the form of a banner that hangs from the top and has gold fringe on the bottom and sides. If on a pole, there is no fringe.

A variant of the coat of arms has been seen over the years (although it seems more rare these days), that includes the words "Phi Mu Alpha" on top, but this alternate design has never had official sanction:

[ETA: Readers may notice that other aspects of this design look different, including the jewels on the badge. In this post down thread, I explain the restoration of the original form of the coat of arms in late 2011.)]

One particular design predates the coat of arms. The Second Convention (1902) adopted this design for chapter charters:

It was in use until sometime in the 1930s. Look carefully and you'll see the letters ΦΜΑ on the small seal that hangs from the book. You can also see the harp and pan pipes that would later appear on the coat of arms. In recent years, the store at our national HQ has offered a number of items, including tee shirts, that incorporate this old logo. I have a computer mousepad with this design on it.

I couldn't find a picture of our seal. It dates from the early 1900s, and is simple in design. It is circular with the words "SINFONIA FRATERNITY OF AMERICA" around the circumference. The letters ΦΜΑ are in the center. Above the letters is "FOUNDED 1898," and below them is "INCORPORATED 1904." Originally, the seal said "FOUNDED 1901," perhaps because that was the year of our first National Convention. When that seal broke and had to be replaced, it was replaced with one that (correctly) noted the founding year as 1898.

Enough for now, I guess.

Last edited by MysticCat; 09-07-2012 at 11:37 AM. Reason: to reflect restoration of arms and fix picture links
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Old 08-20-2010, 11:17 AM
naraht naraht is offline
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Originally Posted by AzTheta View Post
MysticCat, you in Big Trouble now. New obsession kindled: COA for fraternities and sororities. Of course nothing will replace the quest for opal badges, but this is definitely a new interest.

@Leslie Anne, if not a dagger, then poison? I spy a skull & crossbones on the KD COA. Man, you guys do not mess around!

I might start an excel sheet or something of the sort that lists the symbols that are shared (eg flowers/stars/hands clasped/griffons etc). Note the use of MIGHT.
For figuring out aspects, I suggest the way that the US Patent and Trademark Office does it. Go to , search for the name of your GLO in quotes and click search. Find the entry for your GLO that contains your Coat of Arms and then look at the section called Design Search Code. For example for Alpha Phi Omega, the entry contains

01.01.06 - Stars with rays or radiating lines
01.01.13 - Stars - multiple stars with five points
01.15.18 - More than one drop including teardrops or raindrops; multiple drops (rain, tear, etc.); Raindrops (more than a single drop); Teardrops (more than a single drop)
05.05.03 - Fleur-de-lis
13.01.02 - Blow torch; Propane torches; Torches; Welding torch
23.01.01 - Epees; Foils; Rapiers; Sabers; Swords
23.05.01 - Helmets, armor
24.01.02 - Shields or crests with figurative elements contained therein or superimposed thereon
24.01.05 - More than one shield or crest; Shields or crests (more than one)
24.09.07 - Advertising, banners; Banners
24.13.02 - Cross, Greek (equal sides); Greek cross (equal sized lines)
25.01.25 - Borders, ornamental; Other framework and ornamental borders

Because "undergrads, please abandon your national policies and make something up" will end well --KnightShadow
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Old 08-20-2010, 11:42 AM
Psi U MC Vito Psi U MC Vito is offline
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Originally Posted by Leslie Anne View Post
Oh yes! Never cross a KD lady. We're the only NPC with a deadly weapon as our symbol.

Doesn't Delta Delta Delta have the trident?
And he took a cup of coffee and gave thanks to God for it, saying, 'Each of you drink from it. This is my caffeine, which gives life.'
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Old 08-20-2010, 11:54 AM
PhoenixAzul PhoenixAzul is offline
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Lord knows where my pledge book is (I think I might have hid it to keep my husband from seeing it, but now I can't remember where I hid it!) but I've got some semi-decent images of my sorority's crest. One is from my first pledge paddle, the other is my initiation certificate.

(Please ignore the fact that I'm in my bathrobe and my hair is a mess)

Buy the ticket, take the ride!
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Old 08-20-2010, 12:03 PM
AZ-AlphaXi AZ-AlphaXi is offline
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Originally Posted by Psi U MC Vito View Post
Doesn't Delta Delta Delta have the trident?
and don't forget a Quill Pen can be mighter than any sword!!
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Old 08-20-2010, 12:05 PM
thetygerlily thetygerlily is offline
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Originally Posted by MysticCat View Post
I see this coat of arms a lot (being married to a Kappa). Sometimes I see both the area above the chevron (the ^-shape) darker blue while the base (below the chevron) is light blue, and the fluer-de-lis are gold, like this:

Other times it's like the image you posted -- both darker blue and light blue fluer-de-lis. Any info on the differences.
As far as I know, this one is just a very stylized version. Our official CoA is the one Lucy posted. Personally I am not a fan of the stylized one... there are some blankets as well that have green added, which baffles me because green has nothing to do with KKG.

As an aside, something I didn't notice until a few years into Kappa: Our overall CoA shape is a fleur de lis. When I realized that it made me like the CoA even more for pure awesomeness.

ETA: Here's a pretty cool stylized one on MSU's site. Not official, but fun:
And in the years after, with tears or with laughter, we'll always remember our dear Kappa days.

Last edited by thetygerlily; 08-20-2010 at 12:16 PM.
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Old 08-20-2010, 12:11 PM
Gusteau Gusteau is offline
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Originally Posted by thetygerlily View Post

As an aside, something I didn't notice until a few years into Kappa: Our overall CoA shape is a fleur de lis.
mind = blown

I'll post more Delta Chi stuff later!
"Delta Chi is not a weekend or once-a-year affair but a lifelong opportunity and privilege"
- Albert Sullard Barnes
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Old 08-20-2010, 12:13 PM
TSteven TSteven is offline
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Sigma Chi Fraternity

"Much of Sigma Chi's heraldry is inspired by the legendary story of the Emperor Constantine from the Battle of Milvian Bridge against Maxentius. Notably, the White Cross and the motto "In Hoc Signo Vinces" are evidence of the Constantine link. Although many of the symbols of Sigma Chi relate to Christianity, Sigma Chi is not a religious or Christian fraternity." -- The Norman Shield [Reference manual (pledge book) of the Fraternity]

The Crest - The Crest is a Norman Shield of blue bearing a white Sigma Chi cross, the shield being surmounted by a scroll and a crest of an eagle's head holding a key. The public motto, "In Hoc Signo Vinces" is placed below the shield on a scroll. The meaning of the motto is, "In this sign you will conquer." It is pronounced: "in hoke sig'no win'case."

The Flag - The flag is rectangular, the length being one and one-half times the width, the upper half being blue, the lower half being old gold, with a white Sigma Chi cross standing upright in the center and parallel to the lesser sides.

The Seal - The Fraternity seal is circular. Around the top of the outer edge is the name Sigma Chi Fraternity, and at the bottom are the numbers 1855. The central portion contains seven stars and a seven-branched candlestick.

During my search for pictures, I found this and thought it was nice to see how the various symbols are used on each.
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Old 08-20-2010, 12:18 PM
Senusret I Senusret I is offline
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^^^ This one is wearable.

The below are not are are for official use only (documents, certificates, banners, flags, etc)

There are one or two intermediate versions which I cannot find online.

Current shield
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Old 08-20-2010, 12:22 PM
jennyj87 jennyj87 is offline
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I love our coat of arms. Its our colors (silver, gold, blue and the combination of green), our motto on the bottom meaning "let us steadfastly love one another".

In tri delta we have three stages of membership: new member (where you are a pearl), college (a pine tree) and an alum ( a pansy). I love how our crest has three of the stages.

Looking at the other crests I think its kind of different that on our crest we don't have our letters on it at all.

Our flag is the combo of all our colors, the pinetree, then three stars which have to do with the night we were founded.

I wish we used our flag more. I can't even find a place to purchase it.
AσΦαλως ' Ayαπωµεν Aλληλας
δέλτα δέλτα δέλτα
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Old 08-20-2010, 12:24 PM
GTAlphaPhi GTAlphaPhi is offline
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Originally Posted by AzTheta View Post
as I am intrigued by symbols like the owl, fleur-de-lis and key on your COA; and on Vito's, the clasped hands - echoes of the ADPi badge. This is going to be so educational.

@Leslie Anne, nudge nudge...

So many badges/insignia/COA's of NPC/NIC/other conferences/regional/defunct GLO's have the clasped hands -- I'm guessing for similar reasons (but necessarily the exact same reasons).

I just realized that both KKG and SSS have the same "sigma within a delta" symbol at the top!
If this isn't ritual (which I'm guessing it is), could either of you share?
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Old 08-20-2010, 12:28 PM
thetygerlily thetygerlily is offline
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Originally Posted by Gusteau View Post
mind = blown
I know, right? That was me a few years back.

Originally Posted by GTAlphaPhi View Post
I just realized that both KKG and SSS have the same "sigma within a delta" symbol at the top! If this isn't ritual (which I'm guessing it is), could either of you share?
I didn't notice that until Lucy mentioned the tops were the same. At first I thought she meant the wings, and then I noticed the sigma within a delta! For KKG, it is our new member pin & is ritual so you're out of luck there. I was thinking that the Tri Sigma one represented a Sigma for their org and the shape of their badge- but then why wouldn't they do an indented triangle? So I'm left with no ideas there, which means it may be ritual... I'm sure someone can clear that up!
And in the years after, with tears or with laughter, we'll always remember our dear Kappa days.

Last edited by thetygerlily; 08-20-2010 at 12:37 PM.
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