1825 - The "Mystery" Seal

We know that a seal was struck in 1825 as the minutes of the meeting the Trustees of the University of Michigan, held at the Academy in the City of Detroit, on Saturday, the 30th of April 1825, include the following resolution:

Resolved, That the seal procured by the President of this Board, under the instructions and authority in the resolution of the 29th of October 1824, now in the custody of the Secretary, and having upon it certain emblematick devices, and these words near the circumference, "Seal of the University of Michigan", shall be and the same is hereby declared to be the seal of the said University.

Trustees Minutes 1821-1837, Box 1, University of Michigan. Board of Regents, BHL

[Image of original resolution from minute books]

Frank Robbins' inquiries on the origins of the seal

Frank Robbins, assistant to the President from 1921 to 1953, and to whom we owe much of what we know of the mysteries of the university seals, made inquiries during the late thirties into the origins of the seal . In a letter to G.B. Krum of the Burton Historical Collection, Detroit Public Library, he wrote:

. . . while we have impressions of the seals in use after the University came to Ann Arbor, there is none, as far as I know, of any seal used by the Trustees during the Detroit period. . . . Have you an impression of this seal or have you ever seen one? It must have been used on deeds given for University lands.

Frank Robbins to G.B. Krum, April 8, 1937,Vertical File, Fimu D1, Seals, BHL

[Robbins letter to Krumm]

Frank E. Robbins

In a newspaper article Robbins stated: "Considerable research . . . has failed to come upon any instance of its use, although there are records of transactions in which its imprint must have been employed."
[newpaper article, paper and date unknown, Vertical File, Fimu D1, Seals, BHL]
[Image of article, undated]