Mount Pleasant, SC 29465
31 October, 1989
Unto the members of the College of Arms and any others who may read this missive, greetings from Alisoun MacCoul of Elphane, Laurel Queen of Arms!
The September meeting was held on Sunday, September 17 to consider the letters from the West (5/26), Caid (6/15), Trimaris (6/15), Ansteorra (6/16), East (6/22), Meridies (6/26), Calontir (6/30), and Middle (6/30). As much commentary arrived after the meeting (again!) a secondary meeting was scheduled for the following weekend. Unfortunately, as you all know, this was postponed due to Hurricane Hugo. The secondary meeting was finally held on the last day of September by daylight and Coleman lantern, but work on this letter could not seriously begin until electricity was restored some three weeks after the storm. This delay was unfortunate, but unavoidable. Of 266 actions in September, 208 were positive, 55 were negative and 3 involved pended items for an overall acceptance rate of 78%.
The October meeting was held on Sunday, October 15 to consider the letters from the East (7/15), Ansteorra (7/16), West (7/16), Meridies (7/24) amd Calontir (7/31). The secondary meeting for these letters was held the following weekend. The results of this meeting will be forthcoming shortly.
The November meeting previously scheduled for November 12 has been postponed until Thanksgiving weekend due to the fact that the movers are finally arriving to pick up Laurel's furniture, books and files on November 11 and she must be in New York to supervise. Since this (estimated) six tons of impedimenta is scheduled to be delivered the following Friday/Saturday, it seems prudent not to schedule a Laurel meeting for that weekend. Therefore, the meeting will be held on November 25 to consider the letters from An Tir (3/8), An Tir (6/15), Atlantia (8/1), East (8/5), Caid (8/6), West (8/6), Atenveldt (8/8), Ansteorra (8/20), Middle (8/29), Atenveldt (8/31), Meridies (8/31) and Calontir (8/31). As we have discovered that the June letter from An Tir appears to have been sent to the Laurel Office, but not to most members of the College, this letter is indefinitely pended until copies have been properly circulated to the commenting members of the College. Note that a considerable amount of time has elapsed since commentary on the March An Tir letter and renewed conflict checking will be necessary for most items on that letter.
The scheduled date for the December meeting is December 17. At that time we will consider the letters from Trimaris (9/5), East (9/10), East (9/11), West (9/17), Ansteorra (9/21), Outlands (9/23), Caid (9/25), Meridies (9/25) and Calontir (9/30).
On November 4, Erasmierz Waspanieski will be stepping down as White Stag Principal Herald after a tenure of more than two and a half years. During that time he has not only aggressively processed and pursued the submissions of his consistuency but has also commented vigorously in the commentary of the College of Arms, contributing new and distinctly different perspectives on many of the issues before the College. While some of his positions have been controversial, the scholarship with which he has supported those positions has always been instructive and the College will miss his voice.
The new White Stag Principal Herald will be Saerlaith l'Estrangere (Snail Scott), formerly Palmer Herald of the Outlands. Her address remains 119 Princeton SE, Apt. 1, Albuquerque, NM 87106 (505-266-1632). Stefan Laskowski remains as Trefoil Herald but the new Palmer Herald will be Katerina Katya Leonovna Cherkasska (Catherine Collins), 5374-A West Canyon Trail, Littleton, CO 80123 (303-972-1014). Palmer will not be commenting at this time.
RULES FOR SUBMISSIONS
At this time, the Laurel Office has not been informed of any action by the Board of Directors at the earthquake-delayed Board meeting on the Rules for Submissions.
PAWPRINTS AND PERIOD STYLE
Over the years there has been a lot of discussion on the subject of the use of pawprints in Society heraldry. As a category of charge pawprints are alien to period heraldry and it appears that they were almost accidentally ruled compatible with Society heraldry.
The Armorial shows only one instance of armoury with pawprints prior to August, 1979: the device of Esther of Darkhaven registered in January, 1973: "Per fess sable and argent, in bend nine wolf pawprints counterchanged, five and four, in sinister chief a plate." Several other registrations from that month were in fact acknowledgements of "arms of assumption" (for instance, the arms of the East and West Kingdoms) and there is some doubt whether the contents of the armoury were considered in the same manner they would be today.
The next instance of pawprints occurring is in several pieces of armoury registered at the Great Heraldicon of August, 1979, when representatives of the various Kingdoms met in the West to play catch up on a significant backlog of submissions. Split up into various working groups and working without commentary for most submissions, the heralds there present felt compelled to register many pieces of dubious armoury and relatively little attention was paid to wider issues beyond conflict, use of reserved charges, etc. Certainly, there was little or no discussion of the relevance of submitted designs and charges to period style, as we recognize it today.
In the decade since Heraldicon, pawprints have been registered on a number of occasions. On most occasions, a significant proportion of the commentors have noted that they were not period style or commented on the difficulty of determining difference between one type of pawprint and another. Neither Laurel nor any member of her immediate staff can recall any commentary in support of pawprints as a period charge in Western European heraldry (we dimly recall some discussion of war insignia of the native tribes of the American Great Plains some years back).
This being so, it would seem that there is little or no justification for us to continue to register pawprints in Society armoury. That we have registered them in the past is not in and of itself justification: one think of the analogy of the "shazam" lightning flash, not infrequently registered in the early days of the Society, but banned for some years now.
Therefore we propose that armoury containing pawprints shall be registered after February 1, 1990. We solicit your commentary on this issue for the January meeting.