According to the Memorial and Biographical Record and Illustrated Compendium of Biography published in 1899, the coat-of arms of President Hayes was casually described as follows:
The Hayes family had for a coat of arms, a shield, barred and surmounted by a flying eagle. There was a circle of stars about the eagle, while on a scroll underneath was their motto, "Recte."
From a 1922 description of the atrium of the Hayes Library comes this account of his coat-of-arms:
Over his portrait in the atrium is the Hayes coat of arms, from his Scottish ancestor, a falcon lighting on a rock which bears the inscription Recte.
Does anyone have an image of the arms that the president is supposed to have borne?
I live about an hour away from the Hayes library, and I happen to know that there is a great deal of information on Pres. Hayes at his Alma Matre, Ohio Wesleyan. I won’t get around to it until this summer, but if you are patient, I’ll see what I can dig up. As a grad of Ohio Wesleyan myself, I’ve been meaning to make a visit to get an image of the school seal for the Accademic Heraldry page.
I recently had an email exchange with the curator at the Hayes museum and she sent me the contents of their file on heraldry. It seems RBH took a personal interest in such things, but accepted the contemporary expert wisdom that only those who could prove descent from English or Scottish armigers were entitled to bear arms (i.e., no assumption). However, wanting a heraldic emblem to put on his stationery, Hayes devised his own "crest"—what we would more correctly call a badge—derived from the crest of the Scottish family of Hay, from whom the Hayeses believed themselves (probably incorrectly) to be descended.
Hayes did not use the arms described in his bios, but he did use the badge. The material I received from the curator includes a print of the engraved device as well as some of the developmental art work that went into the design. Stay tuned; it’s second in my queue for upcoming articles.
Was the crest/badge a falcon as above or something else?
A falcon rising from (or alighting upon) an anvil.
And here’s my rendering of the Hayes badge, minus the motto. Article for the website to be written:
Dunno ..... it looks like the falcon is flying away with the anvil! Pretty strong falcon, that. :D
Nice emblazon, Joe.
I don’t know if you have an emblazon or just a blazon of President Hayes badge, but the Earl of Erroll’s falcon is usually shown affrontee with wings spread.
I do have copies of Hayes’s letterhead, and it has the falcon in profile with wings elevated and addorsed. Not a peregrine falcon in full color, however.
This is a late version, possibly after Hayes’s death. He originally used the motto RECTE, simply written in Old English lettering beneath the anvil, with no scroll. The motto was subsequently altered to the one shown here, "He serves his party best who serves his country best," but the artwork is similar to the original. All to be discussed in the eventual article.
http://mysite.verizon.net/vzeohzt4/Hayes BW Long Motto.gif
And the Hayes article is now complete and available at http://americanheraldry.org/pages/index.php?n=President.Hayes
Excellent article Joseph. You spoil us with your gifts of heraldic research.
Thank you, David. You’re very kind.
Another fine addition Joseph. Thanks for your continued work on this series. I always enjoy reading the articles.
Arian’s note on the Grant dinner service, which as far as I can make out use something like the Scottish Grant arms despite the President not being of known Scottish descent, made me revisit the other Presidents with Scottish ancestry.
Rutherford B. Hayes made me think. It is obvious that both the President and his biographer, Russell Conwell, thought that bars were involved in the arms and Conwell makes the apparently confused statement.
Some antiquarians describe the coat-of-arms as having alternate bars of silver and red on the shield; while others claim that the colors were white and blue.
There is one Hay coat that fits the above reasonably well, that of the line from the Hays of Lochterworth, later Lords Yester and Marquesses of Tweeddale.
1st & 4th: Argent three fraises : Fraser of Oliver Castle
2nd & 3rd: Gules three bars Ermine : Gifford of Yester
Inescutcheon: Argent three escutcheons Gules : Hay (the illustration shows the Hay arms in standard tinctures, but originally the Hays of Lochterworth bore Azure three escutcheons Argent)
What is interesting is that, as the title suggests, these were Lothian/borders Hays rather than Hays from the north east of Scotland, and if the interest in heraldry came through the Rutherford line (another border family) these would have been the Hay arms best known to them.
What adds to the confusion is that the Tweeddale Hays (and almost all of their cadet lines) used a goat’s head as a crest rather than the falcon of the Errolls.
Perhaps an easier explanation is that the vagueness on the arms came from a bucket shop that punted on the arms of the Hay who was most senior in the peerage (rather than the chiefly arms) but that the crest came from a source that showed the chiefly crest badge.