Sunday, January 1, 2012

Old Seal/New Seal - City of New York

Happy New Year! To start us off this year, Sandy Sanford explains why there were two dates on the seal of the City of New York, and why the older date prevailed. Here are the details:

The basic design of the Seal of the City of New York originated in the seventeenth century and has been in continuous use since that time with two major modifications: first, at the time of the American War of Independence, the crown originally at the top of the seal was replaced by an eagle, signifying the new nation; second, approximately two hundred years later the date at the bottom, which was originally 1664, was replaced with the date 1625.

Here is the seal dated 1664:

from Seal and flag of the city of New York: authorized by the committee appointed by the mayor to commemorate the two hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the installation of the first mayor ... Edited by John B. Pine. In the public domain; on Google Books.

The first date commemorated the year that the Dutch ceded control of New Amsterdam to the English. In the 1970s, however, a passionately anti-English New York City politician, Paul O'Dwyer, led the move to replace the date (1664) with one that made no reference to the English but rather commemorated the locating of the administrative center of the Dutch New Netherland colony to New Amsterdam.

Here is the newer seal with the older date:

This image (available from Wikipedia Commons) is in the public domain and is originally from Vector-Images. com. The vectorization is by Alexei Ishimov.

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