In honor of the Greenbrier Historical Society’s 50th Anniversary, we thought we would share the following article describing the significance of the GHS seal with you. It originally appeared in the first issue of the society’s Journal in 1963. Hope you find it as interesting as we did! – Beth McMullen, Executive Director
From ancient times man has been aware of the advantages which accrue from the use of symbols representing his concepts and aspirations. They provide him a ready means for establishing and maintaining communication; and they may serve as standards around which like-minded individuals can rally to accomplish a common purpose. For these and other good and sufficient reasons it seems fitting that this Society devise and adopt for the use of its officers and members a symbol in the form of a seal, and such a symbol is represented herewith.
This seal may be described as follows: The two concentric outer circles represent the limits of the universe within which human thought and action are confined. Between these circles and the inner circle, which represents the confines of the areas of interest of the Society, is the name of the organization, its date of birth, and the artist’s concept of the plant from which the area derives its name.
Three straight lines drawn to subtend equal segments of the inner circle form a triangle, which represents the span of life, bounded by youth, maturity and senescence. Prominently displayed across the base of the triangle is the word “VERITAS”, to emphasize the ultimate objective of the Society. Immediately above this slogan, in a central position, is pictured a lighted silver lamp; designed by a Mexican artist of Mayan ancestry, it symbolizes man’s capacity for combining art and utility in his quest for the truth and its promise of freedom. Above the lamp, in the apex of the triangle, is pictured an open eye surrounded by a halo. This is symbolic of the alertness, perception, knowledge and wisdom required for the discernment of the elements of truth.
Surrounding the triangle, in each of the three arcs is a word representing one of the major activities by which the Society seeks to attain its goals — Research, the effort to locate, verify and codify the evidences of man’s presence and his reaction to his environment; Education, to transmit to others current knowledge and understanding of this and other cultures; and Preservation, to maintain for future generations the heritage of the present and the past.
In each of the arcs is also a small symbol, one of which represents the human male, another the female, and the third is the generally accepted symbol for Eternity. These ancient characters invite our respect for the accomplishments of our ancestors; and serve as a reminder that life is short but art is long; and we are its masters.