1883: Crew, Cricket and Cross-Country

By - Systems Librarian April 6th, 2017


This carving by John Gregory Wiggins commemorates the St. Paul’s School Form of 1883. The top of the plaque shows one of the six-oared shells that were raced on Long Pond that year. The “Veritas” shield celebrates a cricket victory over Harvard. The hound and hare represent a vigorous twelve mile cross-country race around the school grounds run by most of the students – the winner receiving bragging rights for a whole year!

Read more about this image by clicking HERE.


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New Archives Exhibit: The Form Plaques of SPS

By - Systems Librarian March 31st, 2011

As promised on Ohrstrom Blog just prior to March break, a new Archives online exhibit is now available on the Ohrstrom Library Digital Archives: The Form Plaques of St. Paul’s School: John Gregory Wiggins.

Eighteen images have been selected as the focus of the exhibit. Each image includes a description of the symbols employed in the plaque design and is written by the carver of the plaques, John Gregory Wiggins.  In addition to the individual entries in the exhibit you can take a quick overview of the plaques by viewing a slideshow of the images. The exhibit offers a great introduction to this School tradition, and helps to decipher some of the interesting imagery used to depict aspects of St. Paul’s School history.

A more detailed description of the Form plaque tradition begun by Fourth Rector Samuel Smith Drury and Wiggins can be read HERE.

You can also view a complete list of Form plaque images available on OLDA by clicking HERE.

Take a few minutes to browse through this latest addition to the OLDA collection and learn more about the history of the plaques that adorn the dining halls in the Upper.

New on OLDA: Form Plaque Photos

By - Systems Librarian March 3rd, 2011

The Ohrstrom Library Digital Archive – OLDA for short – has some new images available from the SPS Archives for online viewing. A series of photographs have been digitized featuring forty-two of the Form plaques on display in the Coit Upper Dining Hall. The first nine plaques from the Forms of 1859 through 1867 have been added to the website this week and include descriptions of the symbols present in the designs as described by the carver, John Gregory Wiggins.

Click HERE to see the images.

Wiggins was a teacher at St. Paul’s School from 1912 -1916, until he left to pursue a full-time carving career. Counted among his many ecclesiastical commissions are the carvings he created for the New Chapel – including the allegorical animals that adorn the pews in the choir room. Wiggins began carving Form plaques in 1921 and over the years he designed and carved the plaques for the Forms of 1858 through 1953.  These include all the plaques on display in the Coit Upper Dining Hall and the colorful heraldic shield plaques in the Upper Cloister.

More images will become available on OLDA over the next few weeks, and a selection of the images will be collected into an online exhibit with more detail on the history and tradition of the plaques.  Over time, images will be added of plaques carved by other artists that continued the tradition after Wiggins.

In addition, you can follow the process of the creation of the Form plaque for the Form of 2011, as documented in the SPS Form Plaque Project blog and SPS Form Plaque Project Facebook page. This project is the result of the Form of 1973 Mentor Fellowship awarded to me last spring, and I will be carving the plaque over the summer that will be displayed in the Coit Middle Dining Hall when completed.  Over the next few years I will be carving additional Form plaques for the missing years going back to 1991 so that a cherished school tradition begun ninety years ago by John Gregory Wiggins can continue into the future.