31 March 2009

Seal of the City of Auburn

The official seal of the City of Auburn was designed by local artist Frank Rathbun in anticipation of the 1893 celebration of the centennial of the founding of Hardenbergh's Corners. The seal bears three dates important to the city's history: its settlement by John L. Hardenbergh in 1793, its incorporation as a village in 1815, and its attainment of a city charter in 1848. It also includes the city's Latin motto, Pax et Labor (Peace and Work) and symbols of the region's Native American past and industrial present. (The earliest versions of the seal depicted the arm of a robust working man, with sleeve rolled up and wielding a hammer; this symbol, offensive to the city's industrial elites, did not survive the labor unrest and Red Scares of the earliest decades of the twentieth century.) The seal appeared on commemorative medals issued to each of the students in the city schools during the centennial celebration, on the banners that decorated downtown streets during the 1948 celebration of the centennial of the city charter, and on city documents even today.