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American Eagle

Army and Navy Weekly: A Weekly Publication For Our Boys, Vol. 1, No. 1, front cover, June 19 1897, published by Howard Ainslee & Co.: New York, USA

The front page emblem of this periodical displays the fierce characteristics of the American bald eagle, which in 1782 the United States of America claimed as its official bird to represent the country. The bird of prey sits, wings unfurled, head raised, and beak partially open in an intimidating pose. It clutches the Army and Navy shield, surrounded by the American flag, laurels framing the shield, soldiers on either side, and a ship and barracks in the background. The predator brings vitality, pride, and dynamism to the otherwise static image.




Imprese Nobili et Ingeniose di Diversi Prencipi, et d'altri Personaggi Illustri nell'Arme et nelle Lettere: le quali, col Disegno loro Estrinseco, Dimostrano l'Animo, et la Buona o Mala Fortuna de gli Autori loro / con le Dichiarationi in versi di M. Lodovico Dolce & d'altri, selection from Plate 59, 1583, Pittoni, Battista, b., published by Presso Francesco Ziletti: Venice, Italy

Many family sigils, seals, and coats of arms bear an animal or two. These creatures represent some form of strength or moral principle which the whole family claims to emulate. The hydra, like the phoenix, signifies defiance of death. Whereas the phoenix can be reborn, the hydra gains the power of additional heads when challenged with death.



Dove of Peace and the Holy Ghost

Men of Malvern, Vol. 6, No. 10, selection from p. 1, March 1945, Philadelphia, USA

Of all the misconstrued and misappropriated animal characteristics in human history, the purity of the dove is perhaps the most bewildering. In reality, the dove belongs in the same animal family as the pigeon, with little to no distinction between the two. The pigeon, often referred to as a ‘rat with wings’ does not inspire the same association of peace, love, and the Holy Ghost which attaches to the dove. Does a rose by any other name really smell as sweet? Or does it rather like to fly about, excreting upon the heads of passers-by and swarming the urban food-bearers? In this image, a dove, adorned with halo and hovering below the word ‘PEACE,' stretches its wings wide, as if to encompass God, the Earth, and Christ depicted underneath.