Thursday, November 8, 2007

Arms of the AHS (emblazoned by Alexander Kurov) Arms of the AHS (emblazoned by Alexander Kurov)
The American Heraldry Society is a learned society that promotes the study of heraldry and education of U.S. citizens about heraldry. The organization also advocates the legal protection of armorial bearings in the U.S. and the development of a distinctly American heraldic tradition.

Organization History
The coat of arms of the American Heraldry Society are blazoned Gules an American Bald Eagle proper displayed on a Chief Azure three Escutcheons Argent. The eagle on the red field alludes to the Society's purpose of promoting heraldry in the U.S. and the escutcheons refer to heraldry; the tinctures gules, argent, and azure also allude to the U.S. For a short time after the adoption of the arms, an argent fimbriation was included on the chief, but this has since been removed.

American Heraldry Society Society Mission
The Society's education mission is headed by Joseph McMillan, the Director of Education. The Society undertakes an education program to increase the heraldic knowledge of Americans. One of its primary concerns is to combat popular misconceptions about heraldry. These misconceptions include:
The last fallacy–that there are family-name coat of arms–is the most destructive to heraldic practice in America. The false pairing of coats of arms with surnames is aggressively promoted by hundreds of American heraldry bucket shops, i.e., businessmen who, for profit, provide unsuspecting people with bogus armorial bearings. For example, bucket shops will sell arms borne by someone named "Smith" to thousands of Smiths who have no direct ancestral relation.
The Society publishes educational material on its website, and is currently conducting a survey of all personal coats of arms used by former U.S. Presidents; the presidential series articles were alluded to in a 2006 New York Times article on the Army Institute of Heraldry.
After extensive discussion and debate, the Society's directors recently approved and published Guidelines for Heraldic Practice in the United States on its website. This work outlines a uniquely American standard for creating and displaying coats of arms.

Heraldry is snobby, pretentious and anti-egalitarian;
The study of heraldry and its use belong to an "old world" sensibility that was shrugged off during the War of Independence; and
There are such things as "family-name coat of arms" (i.e. a coat of arms which may be borne by anyone who has a particular surname). Legal Goals

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