Identified! [Device that impresses the Great Seal of the United States on certain official documents] (LOC)

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Where: Unknown

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When: 01 January 1935

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Harris & Ewing,, photographer.

[Device that impresses the Great Seal of the United States on certain official documents]

1935 December 2.

1 negative : glass ; 4 x 5 in. or smaller

Title information from Flickr Commons Project, 2015.
Gift; Harris & Ewing, Inc. 1955.

United States.

Format: Glass negatives.

Rights Info: No known restrictions on publication.

Repository: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C. 20540 USA,

Part Of: Harris & Ewing Collection (Library of Congress)

General information about the Harris & Ewing Collection is available at

Higher resolution image is available (Persistent URL):

Call Number: LC-H2- B-8656


Owner: The Library of Congress
Source: Flickr Commons
Views: 23521
libraryofcongress dc:identifier=httphdllocgovlocpnphec39696 xmlns:dc=httppurlorgdcelements11 thegreatsealoftheunitedstates usdepartmentofstate thennow thenandnow mysterysolved commonsthennow mrshelensbru helenbru bru statedepartmentappointmentsection statedepartmentexhibithall

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    Pixel Wrangler

    • 02/Oct/2015 19:30:12

    This is The Great Seal of the United States. Shown are the die, the counter-die, and the press. The device is kept at the State Department. "These stand in the Exhibit Hall of the Department, [and are now] inside a glass enclosure which is kept locked at all times, even during the sealing of a document. The mahogany cabinet’s doors also are kept locked, and the press is bolted and padlocked in position except when in use." [1] More information, including photographs, about the history of the seal dating back to July 4, 1776, can be read at the State Department's Bureau of Public Affairs.

    [The Great Seal of the United States] The Great Seal in use today

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    bawdy kittens

    • 02/Oct/2015 19:54:49 Good answer Pixel. I thought it was some kind of hot air regulator.

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    • 06/Oct/2015 00:33:17

    another photo

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    Jon (LOC P&P)

    • 07/Oct/2015 20:49:41

    Thanks Pixel Wrangler for figuring out what this is. We'll update the catalog record. They may keep it locked up today but back then apparently it was not so secure.

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    • 08/Oct/2015 17:29:04

    To stamp a document.

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    • 13/Oct/2015 18:56:57

    A labeled Harris & Ewing photo also shows it.

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    • 13/Oct/2015 22:19:59

    And yet another LOC Harris & Ewing photo, from a little over 2 years after the one shown here, shows who I'm pretty sure is the same woman putting the seal on a document: "Affixes U.S. seal to all state documents. Washington, D.C., Jan. 8. Mrs. Helen S. Bru, clerk in the State Department's Appointment Section, affixes the great seal of the United States to about 1200 documents per year. This is the only machine in the world which will place the seal of the United States on a document,1/8/38."

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    • 13/Oct/2015 23:39:37

    Good eye, Art! I'd totally buy that it's Helen Bru again. Height, hairpin, shape of ring, curve of nose all match.

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    • 21/Oct/2015 16:04:16

    A different uncaptioned H&E photo also shows it.