Memorial Wall Publication

The Book of Honor

“The stars are what made this country great and their names should be in a Memorial book, not as signage on the wall.”

—Harold Vogel
Master Stone Carver

Original Book of Honor_mini
Original Book of Honor used from 1974-2004.

The Book of Honor—on display in front of the Memorial Wall at all times—contains the names of employees who died while serving their country. Each is next to a 23-carat gold leaf star. For reasons of security—to protect intelligence sources and methods—the names of some of those on the Wall must remain secret, even in death. Each of these officers is remembered in the book by a gold star alone.

Part of Vogel’s concept for the Memorial Wall included a display case to house the Book of Honor. The cover of the book, never seen by the public, displays a 22-carat gold embossed Agency seal. Vogel selected Levant leather—from Morocco—with a soft pebble-grain texture commonly found in fine book binding. The inside cover is light tan silk end sheets. The original book is small in size, 25 inches x 9 inches. Sadly, by 2004, the 83rd star had been added to the original book and it was poignantly apparent that a larger book and case were required. Vogel and his apprentice, Johnston, designed and built the current case out of Carrara marble (measuring 36 inches x 22 ½ inches), leaving a resting place for the original book to lie underneath.

The second book is almost double the size of the original, but in all other ways an exact duplicate. The outside of the book is 20 inches x 32 inches and the page size is 18 inches x 29 ¾ inches. The Arches paper—selected for its high archival quality and calligraphy receptive surface—has rough, deckled edges typical of handmade paper.

Professional calligrapher at work.
The book is a work of art thanks to the skill of a professional calligrapher—a CIA employee—who writes each name and draws each star. She uses a dip pen, not a fountain pen; black sumi ink is used for its ease and glossy finish; a Mitchell round hand square nib, size three and a half, is reserved exclusively for the book; the gold stars are hand drawn with a Gillott number 303 nib; the shell gold is made in France from a hundred-year-old recipe. The stars are polished using an agate burnisher.

The style of lettering was selected by the calligrapher for its functionality and readability. “The importance is in the names, not the lettering,” she said.

When a star is added to the Wall, the Book of Honor is updated concurrently.


For more pictures of the Book of Honor, click here.

Historical Document
Posted: Jul 27, 2010 07:24 AM
Last Updated: Jun 18, 2013 01:04 PM