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History: The Sierra Club Seal

1892 Sierra Club logo

1892-1894: The first Sierra Club seal was created in 1892. It depicts a giant Sequoiadendron giganteum centered between the letters S and C. Below this is the Latin phrase Altiora Peto, meaning "I seek high places." Around and above the tree, motto, and letters was a circle with the words "Seal of the Sierra Club. Two five-pointed stars separated these words from "Incorporated 1892." This seal remained in use until 1894.

1894-1939: After much dissatisfaction with this first logo, alternatives were solicited in 1893. The Club adopted the second seal, designed by San Francisco architect Willis Polk, in Spring 1894. A less diagrammatic Sequoiadendron gigantea is in the foreground, with Yosemite's Half Dome behind it, and larger mountains in the distance.

1940 Sierra Club logo

1940-1941: The Polk logo remained in use until the February 1940 issue of the Sierra Club Bulletin, when a much modified version appeared in the masthead with a four-ring outline, new typeface and repositioned lettering.

1941 Sierra Club Logo

1941-1946: In the February 1941 issue of the Sierra Club Bulletin, the rings changed from four to three, but the Board minutes from June 15, 1941, noted that "the old form of the seal [the Willis Polk version] … was still to be considered as the official form of such seal."

Sierra Club logo

1946-1993: In December 1946, the seal changed again in the context of a redesign of the Sierra Club Bulletin. The basic design elements remained the same, but the words Sierra Club were in bold face, lines appeared in the sky, and a single line surrounded the center.

1985 Sierra Club logo

1985: A very stylized logo put in a brief appearance on Sierra Club letterhead, having been designed under the direction of then Executive Director Douglas Wheeler.

Sierra Club logo

1986: At its meeting in February 1986, the Board of Directors adopted a Standing Rule that said: The official design of the Sierra Club seal shall continue to be the attached version designed in 1941, depicting a Sequoiadendron giganteum, Half Dome and other Sierra Nevada peaks, with the words "Sierra Club" in bold serif type, and the date "MDCCCXCII" on a banner, all surrounded by a solid elliptical border. Only this design, or the earlier version of the same design created by Willis Polk about 1894, may be used as the Sierra Club logo. No modifications of this logo or other designs shall be used in place of the above logo with specific approval of the Board of Directors. (This resolution was incorrect about the design date of the logo currently being used in the Bulletin, and the 1941 should have read 1946.)

Sierra Club logo

1992: During the celebration of the Sierra Club's Centennial, a special logo, encorporating elements of the Willis Polk design, was made available.

Sierra Club logo

1993- 1998: A new logo was designed in 1993, and it approved by the Board of Directors at its meeting in February 1994, when it modified the relevant Standing Rule to say: The official design of the Sierra Club seal shall be the version designed in 1993 by Sharon Williams and Ellen Reilly, depicting a Sequoiadendron giganteum, Half Dome with mountain peaks in the background, with an elliptical border containing the words "Sierra Club" at the top and "Founded 1892" at the bottom in ITC Garamond type. An official reference copy of this design shall be maintained by the Executive Director at the Principal Office of the Club. Only this design, or the original version of the same design created by Willis Polk about 1894, may be used as the Sierra Club logo. No modifications of this logo or other designs shall be used in place of the above logo without specific approval of the Board of Directors.

Sierra Club logo

1998-present: - At its July 1998 meeting, the Board adopted a new logo, modifying the Standing Rule to read as follows: The official design of the Sierra Club seal shall be the version designed in 1998 by John Bielenberg, depicting a Sequoiadendron giganteum and Half Dome with a mountain peak in the background, and with an elliptical border. The words "Sierra Club" and "Founded 1892" are underneath in Trajan type. An official reference copy of this design shall be maintained by the Executive Director at the Principal Office of the Club. Only this design may be used as the Sierra Club logo. No modifications of this logo or other designs shall be used in place of the above logo without specific approval of the Board of Directors or its designee.


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