Paul Revere and the seal

Background on informant: Informant is a senior at USC, studying philosophy, politics and law. He is from New York City and attended Phillips Academy Andover for high school.

Informant: It’s a known fact around Andover that Paul Revere created the school’s seal because he was a metal worker in Boston at the time. He designed it for the school and made it. It’s an interesting connection my school has to American history. I found out from a variety of different people there…students and teachers. I can’t remember who exactly.

Analysis: This folklore is interesting because it bears meaning for the people associated with the group since it plays with common historical knowledge. I also found it interesting to learn that the informant was told this by many people, not just students but also by teachers. The fact that teachers spread this provides the belief with even more credibility and incorporates in an academic setting, as if the legend is fundamental to the identity in a pretty integral way, in a way that suggests the teacher has made a conscious decision that the myth is not only worth telling but important in some way. Moreover, it is telling that the informant reports that he cannot remember exactly who told him the legend, suggesting that the meaning of the legend is more fundamental than anything else.

This folklore also appears on Andover’s website: “PA History.” Phillips Academy –. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Apr. 2015.” According to the website, “Paul Revere casted Andover’s unwavering mission thus, personally engraving its official seal, which includes two Latin phrases: Finis Origine Pendet (the end depends upon the beginning) and Non Sibi (not for self). According to the account book of Paul Revere, on April 5, 1782, he received two pounds eight shillings from John Lowell, a trustee of Phillips Academy, for his work.”