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The Peregrinus

Symbolism of the Peregrinus

Peregrinus 1918The Peregrinus is not an accidental composition. Rather, the Peregrinus ("Perry") is an aggregation of symbols and an embodiment of legal ideals:

  • His tail brushes aside technicalities in favor of justice.
  • His long and pointed beak delves into relevant and irrelevant facts.
  • His arched back shows his readiness to spring to do right and prevent wrong.
  • His eyes are all-seeing.
  • He wears a white crown of truth.
  • His footwear varies, depending on the artist, and has included a ditcher's boot to show his allegiance to the masses; a Stacy-Adams boot, popular since its founding in 1875, to show his ability to keep up with changing times; cowboy boots to honor his Texas roots; as well as boxing gloves to indicate his willingness to fight for law and equity.
  • In some versions, like the 1918 one pictured above, his right foot is extended, emulating "the right foot foremost," an expression used to indicate a favorable start.

According to longtime Law Librarian Lucy Moore in 1946, Perry boasts the hindquarters of a dog, man’s most faithful friend, and his “broad bill represented the wide latitude of a bill in equity.” While the Peregrinus has changed over time, his status as a noble legal emblem remains.