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The Mystery of Peter Stuart Ney

A guide to materials in Archives and Special Collections related to Peter Stuart Ney, the designer of the college seal, and the mystery of his identity.

Introduction

In 1840, the Board of Trustees asked Peter Stuart Ney to draw a design for the college seal. Ney did so and the seal that he designed is still used by the college today. This seal can be found formal college documents and artifacts, including diplomas, presidential records, and the college mace. A brass version of the seal can be found in the first floor lobby of E.H. Little Library.

Image of Latin text from diploma

Image of Latin text found on Davidson College diploma. College seal designed by P.S. Ney can be found in the bottom left.

Listed below are select materials related to Ney and the history of the college seal.

Archival Materials

Archival materials are the institutional records of Davidson College from its establishment in 1837 to the present day. Included within the collections are president's office records, academic department files, and student organization records. Listed below is a selection of relevant collections related to Peter Stuart Ney. Collections are organized by record group, along with a brief description of the collection's contents, and are hyperlinked to the collection's digital finding aid.

President Cunningham. Records, 1940-1958 (RG 2-1-13)

Description: John Rood Cunningham was the 12th president of Davidson College. The vast majority of the files include correspondence with various persons or organizations. Included in this collection is a file on the "Davidson College Seal."

President Martin (David Grier). Records, 1950-1968 (RG 2-1-14)

Description: David Grier Martin was the 13th president of Davidson College. The vast majority of the files include correspondence with various persons or organizations. Included in this collection is a file on the "Davidson College Seal."

Sigma Upsilon Literary Honor Society. Records, 1915-1970 (RG 12-20)

Description: The Blue Pencil Club organized in 1914 as a literary honor society became the Blue Pencil Chapter of Sigma Upsilon in 1915 as a literary honor society. The fraternity was active until the 1966 and its main purpose was to encourage creative writing. Included in this collection is an epic written about Peter Stuart Ney in 1949.

Davidson Online Encyclopedia and Around the D

Listed below are relevant entries in our Online Davidson Encyclopedia related to Peter Stuart Ney and his work in designing the college seal.

And here is a blog post from our blog, Around the D.

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