National Geographic : 1946 Jul
The National Geographic Magazine the National Geographic Society's Research Committee and a member of its Board of Trustees. Branches of the Smithsonian are the National Museum, the National Gallery of Art, the Na tional Collection of Fine Arts (including the Freer Gallery of Art), the International Exchange Service, the Bureau of American Ethnology, the National Zoological Park, and the Astrophysical Observatory. The seal, 2/8 inches in diameter, is impressed on a bronze wafer on formal letters of introduc tion. The design appears on the Institution's publications. Seals of the President and of the Government Departments THE Chief Executive of the United States and all of the ten executive departments headed by Cabinet officers have seals. The President's seal is considered personal, but the others are departmental devices. The Cabinet officer is the official custodian of his departmental seal, but for practical purposes a deputy is usually appointed to do the actual affixing (page 41). Seals are used for all commissions and for legal documents issued by the Departments. The President's seal is always impressed into dark-red sealing wax. Departmental seals are either direct impressions made into documents or impressions made on wafers or stickers gummed to the documents. Direct impressions are occa sionally used by all. Wafers or stickers are employed by all Depart ments. Some Departments use several colors. In some cases the color of the wafer identifies the type of document; in others the color has no significance. Gold wafers are used by all except the State, Treasury, and War Departments; red wafers carry seals of the Commerce, Interior, Justice, Navy, and State Departments. Blue stickers are em ployed by the Navy and War Departments, green by Agriculture, and white by the Treasury. Ribbons are used regularly by some Depart ments, but by others only when necessary to bind several sheets of paper together. Blue ribbons are used by Commerce, Interior, Labor, Post Office, Treasury, and War; red ribbons by Justice and State, and green by Agriculture. The Navy De partment disavows the use of ribbons, employing red or blue "cotton tape" when necessary. The designs of the seals appear in many ways; special uses are indicated under individual seals. Most Departments have their seals on depart mental publications and on stationery for depart mental heads. All the Secretaries have flags, and the design on the seal or some adaptation of it is shown on all the flags except those for the Secretaries of War and the Navy. PRESIDENT, page 32. The design of the President's seal is the Presidential coat of arms, surrounded with the words, "Seal of the Presi dent of the United States." The arms were used for many years on a blue field as the personal flag of the Chief Executive; in each corner of the flag was a white star. Although the four stars were placed on the flag for artistic purposes, not as indications of rank (the President does not have "rank" in a military sense), it was felt that the creation by Congress in December, 1944, of 5-star generals and admirals rendered the Presi dent's flag inappropriate. Therefore, when a new Presidential flag was necessary, a new coat of arms, seal, and flag were simultaneously adopted by Executive order of President Truman on October 25, 1945. Diligent search by the President's staff had failed to reveal the date of adoption of the old seal or any information about the original matrix. There was no statutory authority for that seal. President Franklin D. Roosevelt had requested Commodore Byron McCandless to make sugges tions for a new flag, but the designs reached Washington after the President's death. Presi dent Truman, after consulting members of his staff, suggested that a circle of 48 stars surround the eagle. Commodore McCandless's painting with the stars in a circle was then submitted to the War and Navy Departments for comment. The final design was drawn under the supervision of Mr. A. E. Du Bois, Chief Heraldic Consultant of the Office of the Quartermaster General of the Army. The new arms have met with general approval, especially since the eagle's head now faces to dexter, the bird's own right, the side of honor. President Truman also wanted the eagle in natu ral colors rather than in white, as it had appeared in the old design. The President's seal is applied to close official envelopes bearing messages or other documents from the President to the Congress of the United States. When a seal is to be affixed to a docu ment signed by the President, the Great Seal of the United States is affixed by the Secretary of State. The President's seal never serves for this purpose. The seal is 13. inches in diameter, a quarter inch larger than the old one. President Hayes was the first to place the old arms on Executive Mansion invitations. President Theodore Roose velt had the seal in bronze set in the floor at the entrance to the White House. President Wilson put the arms on the President's flag and on the White House china. When the Executive Office was remodeled during the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the seal was set in the ceiling of the President's office. None of these will be changed, under present plans, but the new design will be used for future decora tions (see page 10).