Evolution of the Gilman Seal

Our modern School seal (2009) represents the best of Gilman: a deep respect for history and a modern sensibility.


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The coat-of-arms, or shield, at center is a contemporary interpretation of the very first seal of the Country School for Boys, designed in 1907 by Hamlet S. Philpot, Greek, Latin, and History Master from 1904 to 1913. The shield's heraldic emblems, as they have for more than 100 years, represent our founder Anne Galbraith Carey's notion to educate boys in mind, body and spirit. Her novel idea for education remains our abiding mission. The book signifies scholarship, the bees embody industry and the crosses stand as a symbol of spirituality. The chevron, upon which the bees sit, represents builders or others who have accomplished some work of faithful service. Today we embody these symbols in our vigorous academic and artistic program, required athletic participation and our affirmation of the importance of spirituality and character development for the formation of an integrated personality.

The complete circular form carries elements consistently found in our seal, through all its interpretations. The star, our cynosure, anchors the adage on the book, "Ad Astra," an abbreviated version of "Ad astra per aspera," which means "to the stars through difficulties." The motto, "In Tuo Lumine Lumen," translates to "in thy light we shall see light," words from Psalm 36 that have been part of the seal since Mr. Philpot's design.

"In Tuo Lumine Lumen" captures the essence of Gilman: strength, courage, character, heart, determination, integrity, honesty, soul. Whether one interprets the phrase according to the biblical text, gleaning that we find light and meaning as we bask in God's light, or one relates the phrase to a more secular explanation that teachers, when they pass on knowledge, create light and spirit in their students, it is clear that this concept of light courses through Gilman. Each student and teacher, in every generation, brightens our School and our world.

The Shield

We redesigned our seal as part of a larger project to develop a coordinated visual identity for the School that speaks to our strong traditions and signals our progressive spirit. We are traditional, but we embrace change, as we did when our name transformed from Country School for Boys of Baltimore City (1897) to Gilman Country School for Boys (1910) to Gilman School (1951). The shield conveys many meanings at once: traditional and modern, familiar and different, secular and religious, polite and respectfully assertive. It embodies the pedagogy of Gilman and the holistic tenets of mind, body, spirit. The design reveals lessons about history and iconography, providing an opportunity to convey current moral convictions as well as lessons in tolerance, understanding, character and diversity. Our seal acknowledges Gilman School's leadership, confidence and relevance in our second century. Ballasted by a venerable history and heritage, Gilman is moving toward the future.

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