The Lions Name
On June 7, 1917 at the invitation of Melvin Jones, delegates met in Chicago. The only point of contention was the selection of a name for the new organization. Melvin Jones researched the idea of calling the new organization Lions. He was convinced that the lion stood for strength, courage, fidelity and vital action. On a secret ballot the name Lions was chosen over several others.
The Lions Emblem
At the 1919 convention, there was a move to change the symbol, but a young attorney from Denver, Colorado rose to speak. His name was Halsted Ritter. “The name Lions stands not only for fraternity, good fellowship, strength of character and purpose, but above all, its combination of L-I-O-N-S heralds to the country the true meaning of citizenship: LIBERTY, INTELLIGENCE, OUR NATION’S SAFETY.”
The January 1931 issue of THE LION Magazine featured this interpretation of the association’s name:
Our name was not selected at random, neither was it a coined name. From time immemorial, the lion has been the symbol of all that was good, and because of the symbolism that name was chosen. Four outstanding qualities – Courage, Strength, Activity and Fidelity – had largely to do with the adoption of the name. The last mentioned of these qualities, Fidelity, has a deep and peculiar significance for all Lions. The lion symbol has been a symbol of Fidelity through the ages and among all nations, ancient and modern. It stands for loyalty to a friend, loyalty to a principle, loyalty to a duty, loyalty to a trust.
The emblem consists of a gold letter “L” on a circular area. Bordering this is a circular area with two Lion profiles facing away from the center. The word “Lions” appears at the top and “International” at the bottom. The Lions face both past and future – showing both pride of heritage and confidence in the future.1