I am delighted to welcome you to the College of Arms Foundation's website, which seeks to present English heraldry and the work of England's heraldic authority, the College of Arms, to the American public.

I am delighted to welcome you to the College of Arms Foundation's website, which seeks to present English heraldry and the work of England's heraldic authority, the College of Arms, to the American public.

The Foundation was established in New York in 1983 at the time of the College of Arms' 500th anniversary when a major exhibit on English heraldry was organised at the New-York Historical Society. The purpose of the Foundation originally was to raise funds to preserve the building, on Queen Victoria Street in the City of London, where the College has been based since the late 17th century.

The fabric of the College has been restored and upgraded since then, allowing the Foundation to pursue new objectives. In 2012 the Board of Directors voted to award a £25,000 over five years to support the production and publication of the first volume of A Catalogue of Manuscripts in the College of Arms Records.

As well the Foundation seeks to inform American audiences about English heraldry by producing events featuring experts on the subject. Accounts and photos of these events, which started in 2001, may be found under the "Activities" tab on this site.

Founded by a charter of King Richard III in 1484, the College of Arms (www.college-of-arms.gov.uk) is the world's oldest heraldic authority. It is not a "college" as the word is generally used today: it has no professors or students and does not offer courses. Instead it is body collectively made up of a number of Officers of Arms, popularly known as heralds. Heralds have a long history dating back to the early Middle Ages.

As a department of the British Royal Household, the College is responsible for organising official, or "state", pageants such as coronations, funerals, openings of Parliament and the annual Garter service at Windsor Castle. In addition, the College possesses the largest repository of English, Welsh and Northern Irish family pedigrees. These have been accumulated over centuries.

Acting through the three Kings of Arms under the authority of the Earl Marshal, His Grace the Duke of Norfolk, the College has long exercised the Crown's prerogative of granting armorial bearings to worthy English and Commonwealth subjects who seek them. American descendants of British subjects, and individuals of any nationality who have been honoured by the British Sovereign, may also petition for honorary grants of arms.

A coat of arms by definition is unique and may only be borne legitimately by the grantee and his male descendants. The College is renowned for the high quality of its designs, which artfully adapt a historical art form to modern-day needs. New designs of armorial bearings – consisting of a shield, helm, mantling and crest – often contain visual references to the accomplishments or career of the person to whom the arms were granted.

Americans unfamiliar with heraldry imagine that it is “dead." Nothing could be further from the truth. The College in England receives dozens of petitions for armorial bearings each year. Heraldry is very much alive and well and enjoyed by many. This is the fundamental message of the Foundation.

The Board of Directors of the College of Arms Foundation is made up of heraldic enthusiasts from the United States of America and the United Kingdom. Currently the board consists of:-

President
John Shannon
Vice President
John C. Harvey
Secretary
Ellsworth G. Stanton III, MBE
Treasurer
Robert W. Thompson
Director
Paul Borrow-Longain, FSA Scot
Director
Julian V. Brandt III
Director
Paul D. Campbell
Director
Earl Fain IV
Director
R. Brandon Fradd
Director
Victoria Campbell Kirsten
Director
Albert O. Louer
Director
Arthur J. Rawl, MBE
Director
Jorge L. Rivera III
Director
Randall L. Taylor
Director
Kevin L. Tierney
Honorary Director
Sir Henry Bedingfeld, Bart.
Honorary Director
Very Rev. Harry E. Krauss, FRSA
Honorary Director
Peter O'Donoghue, York Herald
Honorary Director
Thomas Woodcock, CVO, Garter Principal King of Arms
The Internal Revenue Service recognised the Foundation as a 501(c)(3) entity. The Foundation's EIN is 13-3152635.