Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts HistorySauer, Anne
College Seal, 1857
The official seal of Tufts College was created on July 17, 1857, by vote of the Board of Trustees. The design they adopted showed a dove with olive branch and an open Bible as symbols."Pax et Lux," or Peace and Light, was chosen as the aphorism, with the words "Sigillum Collegii Tuftensis" meaning seal of Tufts College. The original design showed the dove of peace with the olive branch in its beak flying downward toward an open Bible resting on a rocky eminence, like a hill. The sun's rays stream through clouds in the background. A modified version of this original seal still serves as the seal of the university as of 2000.
Various changes were made to the seal over the years. In 1909 the words Holy Bible were translated to Biblia Sacra. Other minor changes were made to the aesthetics of the seal, as the clouds changed shape, the dove lost feathers, and the rocky eminence became a jumble of rocks.
In 1939 President Leonard Carmichael introduced a coat of arms for general use rather than the seal, which was to be reserved strictly for official documents. Confusion in subsequent years over use of the shield and the seal prompted a move to reinstate the seal as the only official insignia of the University.
In 1966 an updated design of the traditional seal was adopted, with several changes from the original design of 1857.The book featured is not ecclesiastical, and the rocky eminence was dropped altogether. The words circling the seal were updated to reflect the expanded scope of the University with the words Sigillum Universitatis Tuftensis used to replace the former designation of Collegii. This design is that which is still in use as of 1999.
The encyclopedia seeks to capture more than 150 years of Tufts' achievements, societal contributions and outstanding alumni and faculty in concise entries. As a source of accurate factual information, the Encyclopedia can be used by anyone interested in the history of Tufts and of the people who have made it the unique institution it is.