ad U.S. Heraldic Registry � Registrations/Harvard University?




Harvard University

Registration number 20060927Q

This certifies that the heraldic arms of Harvard University are registered as an original design and are described by the blazon below

Arms: Gules, three open books Argent, edges, covers, and clasps Or, on the books the letters VE RI TAS Sable.


John T. Bethell, et. al., "Harvard A to Z", Harvard Magazine, May-June 2004, pp. 41-42.
Jay Rogers, "Harvard's Christian Heritage" (online article)

Historical note

On an archway, above a gate leading into the Harvard Yard, visitors may view the original arms of 1650 with the words "In Christi Gloriam" on the open books. The top two books are turned facing upward, while the bottom book is overturned. The upward facing books symbolize the truth that is discernible through our five senses; the overturned book symbolizes that which can only be known through the illumination of the Holy Spirit.

By the mid 1800s, the Harvard seal had fallen out of use. When Charles Eliot attained the presidency of Harvard, he wished to reinstate the coat of arms as Harvard's official school arms. This time, however, he made two changes based on the original sketch found in the University archives. First, he added the Latin word VERITAS (Truth). Second, he turned all the books facing upwards.

Registered by

Michael Swanson


Education, US, H

Roll of Arms