Although the equipment, which dates back to the late 1800s, looks awfully formal to our modern-day sensibilities, the machine was used to seal envelopes for everything from official college correspondence to monthly bills. If the president wanted to write to the parent of a woman who seemed bent on bending the rules, for example, his secretary would seal the letter by pulling that lever, lowering the stamp into hot wax. The result was a circular seal with the words “Shepardson College” curved along the top, and “Granville, O.” swinging on the bottom. In the center, an image of academia: an open book surrounded by a laurel wreath.
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the seal likely lived bolted to a tabletop in the Shepardson College president’s office, which would have been located on today’s lower campus. Burton Hall, Stone Hall and King Hall were once women’s dorms—and the ladies of Shepardson would have trekked uphill to Denison to take classes. The stamp was retired after Shepardson merged with Denison in 1927 and is now tucked away in Denison’s archives.