American College of Heraldry

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The coat of arms of the American College of Heraldry.

The American College of Heraldry was founded in 1972 with the aim of aiding in the study and perpetuation of heraldry in the United States and abroad. Registrations are restricted by policy to American citizens or residents, as well as to others with significant personal or business connections in America.


After the foundation of the College in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1972, it was reorganized and chartered as a non-profit corporate body by the State of Alabama. The College is directed by a Board of Governors who elect Administrative Officers and an Advisory Board. There are several types of membership in the College, including distinguished fellows, recognized for their eminent standing, particularly in the field of heraldry; fellows, who are so recognized because of their faithful service to the College and to the cause of heraldry; members, who are persons with an interest in heraldry; and associate members, who are less than eighteen years of age. The College's membership is composed of persons having a serious interest in heraldry and includes individuals from across the United States and from throughout the world.

Several private heraldic societies were organized through the years in the United States, but none were sufficiently strong enough to survive. It was in response to this heraldic vacuum that the College was established. The College's intent was to bring some semblance of order into the American heraldic arena and to begin meeting the erstwhile heraldic needs of the public in the United States. The College acts as a resource for those seeking information about heraldry and also as a database of existing armorial bearings that have been either collected or registered.

The first few years of the College were marked by creative experimentation and modification in heraldic modes. In time, experience led the way toward a more conservative standardized approach, compatible with heraldry existing in other nations.

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