I realize that I don’t have a very good grasp of the historical use/practice of heraldry in the United States. I have looked through the resources available on the main Society page and found them helpful, particularly in detailing the use of arms by specific individuals. What I’m looking for, though, is a more general survey of the history of heraldry in the US.
Are the books below, from the basic heraldry bookshelf, the best options?
Whitmore, William H. The Elements of Heraldry. 1866; rpt. New York: Weathervane Books, 1968.
Whitmore was one of the central figures in the revival of interest in heraldry in the United States in the mid-19th century. However, he took an extremely restrictive, Anglocentric view of the right to bear arms which most modern American heraldists would reject. Mainly of use for its inclusion of historical information on arms borne in early New England. (Joseph McMillan)
Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. 1895; rpt. New York: Crown Publishers, 1984.
While not perfect (what is?) it is a fairly thorough coverage of American heraldic usage, at least as of the time of publication. (Michael McCartney)
Lots of examples of arms on seals, tombstones, and in other applications from the colonial period, with many black and white illustrations. Zieber’s thoughts on appropriate heraldic usage in the United States are worth consideration, and on some points quite persuasive. (Joseph McMillan)
elements of heraldy
heraldry in america
have a look if they fit your purposes
As far as anything theoretical/historical/legal on American heraldry specifically, Zieber’s pretty much the only book I know of. Whitmore basically is a rehash of the English texts of his time, Cussans (with whom he seems to have been in regular correspondence) and the early editions of Boutell. He just uses American (mainly New England) examples to illustrate the principles. There’s a broader treatment of actual usage in the Heraldic Journal, edited by Whitmore and other founders of the NEHGS COH, which is also available through Google Books.
Zieber provides more of a collection of actual heraldic usage in the early U.S.—examples of seals, tombstones, church memorials, hatchments, bookplates, etc. He casts his net much more widely than Whitmore in geographical terms and offers thoughts on American-specific "rules" for the use of heraldry, albeit for the most part consciously derived from the English rules as well.
I’d also suggest looking at the introductory material to Bolton’s American Armory as well.
Is Zieber actually readable online? Ton’s link seems to lead to a different volume.
seems that some joker hanged the wrong book pdf to the wrong title :(
Thanks for the assistance. I guess I’ll start with these and see where they lead me.