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Markers XXIV 

Annual Journal of 
The Association for Gravestone Studies 

Edited by 
Gary Collison 

Association for Gravestone Studies 
Greenfield, Massachusetts 

Copyright © 2007 

Association for Gravestone Studies 

278 Main Street, Suite 207 
Greenfield, Massachusetts 01301 

All rights reserved 
Printed in the United States 

ISBN: 1-878381-17-2 
ISSN: 0277-8726 
LCN: 81-642903 

The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of the 

American National Standard for Information Sciences — Permanence of Paper 

for Printed Library Materials, ANSI Z39.48-1984. 

Cover Illustration: Motlicr and Tzviiis Moniiiiieut (detail). 
Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, courtesy of Laurel Hill Cemetery. 



Virtuous Women, Useful Men, & Lovely Children: 

Epitaph Language and the Construction of Gender and 

Social Status in Cumberland County, Maine, 1720-1820 vi 

Joy M. Giguere 

New Netherland's Gravestone Legacy: An Introduction to 

Early Burial Markers of the Upper Mid- Atlantic States 24 

Brandon Richards 

Myths and Realities of Laurel Hill's "Mother and Twins" Monument 40 

Janet McShane Galley 

Embodying Immortality: Angels In America's Rural 

Cemeteries, 1850-1900 56 

Elisabeth L. Roark 

Borden Thornton (1762-1838), Rhode Island Stonecarver 112 

Vincent Luti 

The Year's Work in Cemetery and Gravemarker Studies: 

An International Bibliography 132 

Compiled by Gary Collison 

Contributors and New Editorial Board Members 140 

Index 142 



Gary Collison, Editor 

Pemi State York 

Richard F. Veit 

Associate Editor 

Moniuoiitli University 

June Hadden Hobbs 

Assistant Editor 

Gardner-Webb University 

Tom Malloy 

Assistant Editor 

Mount Wachusett Community College 

Jessie Lie Farber 
Editor, Markers I 

Richard Francaviglia 

University of Texas at Arlington 

Laurel Gabel 

Former AGS Research 

Clearinghouse Coordinator 

Blanche M.G. Linden 

Independent Scholar 

Richard E. Meyer 

Editor, Markers X-XX, 

Western Oregon University 

Julie Rugg 
University of York (UK) 

James A. Slater 

University of Connecticu t 

David Charles Sloane 

University of Southern California 

David H. Watters 

Editor, Markers II-IV 

University of New Hampshire 

Wilbur Zelinsky 
Tlie Pennsylvania State University 

This year's issue features work by young scholars — a hopeful sign for 
gravestone and cemetery studies — as well as by one senior scholar still young 
at heart. It includes not one but two articles on "rural" /garden cemetery 
sculpture. The longer article, by Beth Roark, explores the historical back- 
ground, types, and meaning of the angel sculptures that began to populate 
cemeteries in great numbers in the second half of the nineteenth century. Janet 
McShane Galley's article on Laurel Hill's early and outstanding sculpture, 
known popularly as "The Mother and Twins" (1858), analyzes the romanti- 
cized stories about the sculpture that began to circulate in the late-nineteenth 
century, several of which are still in circulation today. As she discovers, the 
actual events behind the sculpture did not involve twins, and the realities be- 

hind the sculpture and its meaning are at least as interesting, and more com- 
plex, than the fanciful myths. Both of these articles are welcome follow-up 
pieces that draw on Elise Ciregna's article on early rural cemetery sculpture 
{Markers XX7), and all three works suggest possibilities for future research on 
cemetery sculpture. 

Tliree articles discuss colonial-era gravestones. One is the first Markers ar- 
ticle to focus on gender as it is manifesteci in cemeteries, in this case, a study 
of gender as it affects language on colonial and early national gravestones in 
Cumberland County, Maine. The author, Joy Giguere, analyzed over 1,000 ex- 
tant gravemarkers between 1720 and 1820 to discover how a person's gender 
(and age and social status) often dictated the way he or she was remembered. 
Another article on colonial-era gravemarkers is Brandon Richard's analysis 
of early Dutch gravemarkers. Finally, a new contribution from Narragansett 
Basin gravestone carver sleuth Vincent Luti describes the life and work of 
Borden Thornton, a Rhode Island carver. It is an excellent example of how 
dogged research — and fortuitous help from a fellow researcher — can lead to 
important discoveries, even if it takes twenty-some years! 

Once again I thank the members of the board of editors and several anony- 
mous scholars for their generous and conscientious assistance in evaluating 
manuscripts. For invaluable support both tangible and intangible, I am grate- 
ful to Drs. Joel Rodney, Chancellor, and Joseph P. McCormick III, Director of 
Academic Affairs, of Penn State York. For assistance of various kinds, I am in- 
debted to Andrea Carlin, Penny Davis, Robert Miller, Jim O'Hara, Judy Leece, 
and Brenda Malloy. 

Markers is indexed in America: History and Life, the Bibliography of the History 
of Art, Historical Abstracts, and the MLA International BibUograpihy. 

There are many potential topics that I would like to see covered in future 
issues o( Markers, including distinctive individual cemetery sculptures or types 
of sculptures (WWI soldiers, for example); or ethnic cemeteries, especially so- 
called "national" cemeteries for immigrant groups. There are dozens, if not 
hundreds, of groups that might be treated, such as the Armenians of Glendale 
and Fresno, Calif ornia — who may or may not have drawn on the distinctive 
"khatchkar" tradition of their native land; Native Anierican/ tribal cemeteries 
and gravemarkers; distinctive regional gravestone carvers and traditions such 
as the clay-sewer-pipe markers of Ohio; and many other topics. For some ideas 
and suggestions of ethnic groups and locations, see the Harvard Encyclopedia of 
American Ethnic Groups (1980); Ethnicity and the American Cemetery (1993), edited 
by Richard E. Meyer; or the recent Encyclopedia of American Folklore (2006), 4 
vols., edited by Simon Bronner. Also check the subject index in Markers XXI 
(also available on-line at the AGS Markers page). Please email me if you have 
an idea or project (or manuscript) underway — at 


Virtuous Women, Useful Men, & Lovely Children 

deaccvn reflect iimsdM^-' prudence indi ^ n .dul.eent parent esq. pastor 
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reflect i,wi......_v j .uder^— ^^^ x^ be indulgent parc^ ' -astor 

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reflect hamibtv ^ "* -trie L'ClI l\IC^[ .rent esq. pastor 

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Virtuous Women, Useful Men, & Lovely Children: 

Epitaph Language and the Construction of 

Gender and Soclvl Status in 

Cumberland County, Maine, 1720-1820 

Joy M. Giguere 

At the beginning of Good Wives, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich's study on the lives 
of women in northern New England, Ulrich cites the gravestone epitaph for 
Hannah Moody in York, Maine: 

Mrs. HaiTnah Moody, Consort 

of ye Rev.nd. Mr. Samuel Moody 

An Early & There Comfort Eminent 

For Holiness, Prayerfulness, Watchful-ness, 

Zeal, Prudence, Sincerity, Humil- 
ity, Meekness, Patience, Tenderness, From 
ye World, Publick spirited- 
ness. Diligence, Faithfulness & Charity, 
Departed this life in Sweet 
Assurance of a Better Jan. 29 
1724 AE 51 

She then goes on to note that the modern observer of such an epitaph would 
in all likelihood "smile, wondering what she was really like."' Ulrich's remark 
reminds us that the living used epitaph and inscription language not just to 
commemorate the dead but also to encourage the living to follow gendered 
codes of moral and social behavior according to age, sex, and marital status. 
Epitaphs lauded women again and again for having been faithful, dutiful 
wives and mothers — for their roles in the home and family. By contrast, 
men's epitaphs tended to stress social position, status, and occupation — that 
is, their public roles and achievements. Both wonien's and men's epitaphs 
function as a form of psychologically driven social control. Indicators of 
social or economic class also reveal a distinct separation of the sexes in both 
life and death. For example, epitaph language reveals that a woman's social 
status was inextricably tied to her father and husband. At times, however, a 
man's relationship to a renowned father or grandfather aided in establishing 
his own social standing. Although social and religious standards for 
children differed from those expected of their parents, epitaphs on children's 
gravestones also reflect socially constructed gender roles. Regardless of the 
age or sex of the deceased, many gravestone texts implicitly or explicitly 
urge the living to imitate the exemplary qualities of the deceased in order to 
attain a heavenly reward. 

2 Virtuous Women, Useful Men, & Lovely Children 

While much New England gravestone scholarship has focused on the 
significance of iconography and the distribution and styles of carvers' works, 
very little has been done to analyze the social and cultural significance of 
gender and age in epitaph and inscription language. Only Lynn Rainville's 
article on New Hanipshire mortuary variability has more than touched upon 
the significance of epitaph language for constructing and reinforcing gender 
roles in society.- Cumberland County, the second most southern county in 
Maine, functions here as a case study for analyzing epitaph language from 
1720 to 1820, the earliest years during which professionally carved headstones 
appeared in Maine. ' The database for this analysis consists of 1,150 gravestones. 
Conclusions presented here may apply to other areas of New England, but the 
timeline for the appearance of certain types of descriptive language in Maine 
lagged behind southern New England by a few decades because Cumberland 
County reniained a frontier until the eighteenth century."^ 

Wives & Widows, Consorts & Relicts, Esquires & Captains: What's in 
a Title? 

Of the 1,150 gravestones catalogued for this study, 559 memorialize 
women and girls, 551 commemorate boys and men, 38 memorialize both male 
and female individuals, and 2 were too illegible to discern the gender of the 
deceased. As shown in Figure 1, the number of gravestones for males and 
females per decade changed over time, with stones for males outnumbering 
those for females before 1760; from 1760 onward, the reverse was true. The 
steady increase over time for both genders reflects the approximate increase 
in local population. 




Jl ^ 

D Women 
■ Both 

y r-n 

M „ 

— r-1 1 — 1 

1 ~ 


_a _ 

1720 1730 1740 1750 1760 1770 1780 1790 1800 1810 ND 

Figure 1: Gravestones for Males and Females 
in Cumberland County by decade. 

Joy M. Giguere 3 

Figure 2 shows a total of 350 surviving gravestones for men, 394 for 
women, 167 for girls, 201 for boys, 8 for boys and girls, and 30 for a mixture of 
age and gender groups. Overall, there are more memorials for adult women 
than for adult men, but more for boys than girls over the period of study. It 
seems reasonable to speculate that niore girls survived to maturity than boys, 
thus dying as "adults," perhaps following childbirth, whereas many boys 
and unmarried young men died as the result of logging, farming, fishing or 
hunting accidents or in the military. 




3 n Hi n 



r ^ ' 

-. fLn.iji r [h L I 

n Women 

■ Men 

■ Men & Women 

D Girls 


H Boys & Girls 

Figure 2: Adult and Child Gravestones by Gender. 

Three forms of gendered identification appear on the Cumberland County 
gravestones: title, character description, and kinship. Titles indicated the role 
of the individual in society. Because women's social roles were primarily 
limited to home and church activities during the colonial period, titles for the 
most part were reserved for men. Descriptions of individuals included words 
reflecting how they were perceived by those who erected their nieniorials. 
In addition to descriptive language, gravestone inscriptions often identified 
women's and children's family relationships using such kinship terms as 
"wife," "mother," "son," "daughter," "child of" and so on. While inscriptions 
would, at times, indicate a man's kinship, such as "husband" or "son," his 
social or occupational rank was typically given precedence. In total, only 
fifteen kinship terms and variations were used for women, while twenty-five 
occupational titles and kinship designations were used for men (Figure 3). 

Virtuous Women, Useful Men, & Lovely Children 

Title and/or Kinship 
Designation (Men & Boys) 


Title: Male 


Kinship Designation 
(Women & Girls) 


Brigadeer General 


Major & 
Husband & 








Consort & Daughter 


Captain & Son 




Consort & Mother & 




Mr. & Friend & 
Husband & 






Mr. & Husband 
& Parent 


Friend & Companion 


Deacon, Son 






Deputy Collector 


None & Son 


























Widow & Wife & Mother 
& Friend 


Esquire & Husband & Parent 
& Christian 










Wife & Daughter 




Wife & Mother 




Wife & Parent 




Figure 3: Titles For Men and Women on Cumberland County Gravestones^ 

If a woman was married, her gravestone typically included the word 
"wife" and/ or "inother." Some young married women were listed as both 
the "Wife of" and the "Daughter of" so-and-so. Figure 3 shows that there was 
a total of eight such examples. The niost common terms used in Cumberland 
County to describe adult women on their gravestones were "Wife" (255), 
"Mrs." (13), "Consort" (29), "Miss" (17), "Widow" (41), and "Relict" (12). 
Often these terms were combined with each other or with other terms, such as 
"Mother" or "Parent." Figure 5 shows the seriation frequency model of the six 
most dominant terms used for adult women. 

Figure 4. Examples of Words Describing Women's Family Relationships. 

Joy M. Giguere 

































■ ■ 






■ ■ 






■ ■ 


















1 1 






















Figure 5: Seriation Frequency Model of Kinship Terms for Adult Women. 

The "wife" category includes gravestones that refer to women as both 
"Mrs." and "Wife," as well as those that only refer to a woman as the "Wife 
of" someone. As it is defined, "Mrs.," the written abbreviation of "Mistress" 
or its vulgar variations "Missis" or "Missus," refers specifically to a wife.^ In 
this study, the term "Mrs." appeared alone without "Wife," "Consort," or 
the name of the deceased's husband thirteen times. All 266 examples with 
"Wife" give the husband's name, with or without another defined role, such 
as "Daughter" or "Mother." The only other terms used to describe women 
without reference to their relationships with men as either wives or daughters 
were "Miss" without any additional kinship terms, of which there were 
seventeen examples, and no title whatsoever, of which there were twelve. 

The term "consort" has its roots in seventeenth-century vocabulary in both 
New England and England. The term is defined as a "partner in wedded or 
parental relations; a husband or wife, a spouse [and is] used in conjunction 
with some titles, such as queen-consort."'' The word "Consort" is still used 
today among English royalty; the official title for Philip, the husband of Queen 
Elizabeth 11, is "Prince-Consort." While the term was used for both men and 
women, its appearance on Cumberland County gravestones was restricted 
to women, and, for the purpose of this study, "Consort" can be considered 
synonymous with the term "Wife." In describing the relationship between 

6 Virtuous Women, Useful Men, & Lovely Children 

men and women in early New England, historian Laurel Ulrich identifies 
the meaning of consort as "based on a doctrine of creation which stressed the 
equality of men and women, the ideal of marriage which transcended legal 
formulations, and a concept of love which was spiritual, yet fully sexual."^ 
The word "consort" was common in the late seventeenth century in parts of 
New England but did not make its first appearance in Cumberland County 
gravestone epitaphs until relatively late in the eighteenth century. The 
earliest example in the county dates to 1761. Of the thirty-two gravestones 
that identify a woman as "consort," twenty-one (66%) commemorate women 
who were married to men of high social or civil standing — Captains, Reverends, 
or Esquires. 

Synonymous with "widow," the term "relict" or "relic," which originated 
in the sixteenth century, indicates something or someone that is left behind. 
"Relict" was used occasionally in Great Britain and early New England as a 
synonym for "Widow."'' Like "consort," "relict" did not appear on Cumberland 
County gravestones until the second half of the eighteenth century (1767). It 
appears that this rather old-fashioned term was also reserved for women who 
were widows of men with higher social standing. Ten out of twelve gravestones 
using "Relict" (83%) list husbands who had been captains, preachers, doctors, 
or esquires. By contrast, forty-one gravestones bear the title "Widow," and 
of these, only eleven (27%) commemorate women who were married to 
prominent men. While both of these titles appear concurrently, use of the term 
"relict" decreased after the 1770s and appeared only sporadically thereafter. 
The term "widow" began to appear on gravestones in the 1770s and its use 
steadily increased over time (Figure 4). 

In the case of unmarried daughters or males who died before the age to 
hold an occupation or attend college, inscription language was restricted to 
terms denoting kinship. In some cases where the deceased was especially 
young, no gender qualification was made and the deceased was simply 
referred to as the child of soineone. Otherwise, the deceased would be 
memorialized as the "Daughter" or "Son" of his or her parents. In the case of 
death during infancy, the phrases "infant son," "infant daughter," or simply 
"infant" were employed. 

In contrast to the social roles named on women's and children's gravestones, 
titles for men typically refer to their occupations or social standing rather than 
to their relationships with their wives and children. In several cases, however, 
young men who were fully grown with occupations of their own and who 
were the sons of prominent individuals, such as ministers or captains, 
were memorialized as the sons of their parents. The oldest men who were 
commemorated as the sons of their parents were Captain Stephen Tukey of 
Portland, who died in 1819, aged 29 years, and the Reverend Jonathan Gould 

Joy M. Giguere 7 

of Standish, who died in 1795, aged 33 years. While the occupation of Tukey's 
father was not given in his epitaph, we know that Gould's father was the son 
of Deacon Jonathan Gould of New Braintree. Jonathan Gould's inscription 
shows that a man's relation to a notable grandfather could emphasize his own 
socially elite status. In the few instances when a man was described as "Father" 
or "Husband," these terms appeared within the body of a lengthy, descriptive 
epitaph. The epitaph for Samuel Duning of Portland (1811) is representative 
of this type: 

In memory of 


Who died Jan. 21, 

1811: AEt. 37. 

In him was the good citizen, 

patriot, indulgent husband, & 

tender parent. In him the social 

virtues were eminent. Useful 

in life, in death lamented. 

The busy world where I with you did dwell, 

I've bid adieu, & took my last farewell. 

Ye living! Learn to live & learn to die. 

Strive to enjoy a blest eternity.'" 

In total, six broad title categories could be identified on gravestones of 
men in Cumberland County: "Esquire," Mr.," "Captain" (which includes both 
military and nautical), religious occupations (including "Deacon," "Pastor" 
and "Reverend"), military occupations (including "Brigadeer [sic] General," 
"Colonal [sic]," "Ensigii," "Lieutenant," "Major," and "Scout"), and no 
title whatsoever (Figure 6). The term "Esquire" appears on 27 gravestones 
in Cumberland County throughout the period of study, though its usage 
diminished by the begiiTning of the nineteenth century. Its use stretches back 
to the age of chivalry in England, during which tin^ie it referred to a young 
man who aspired to the knighthood and who carried a knight's shield and 
performed other services. During later periods, the term "Esquire" referred 
to a man belonging to the higher order of the English gentry, and by the 
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries functioned as a title accompanying a 
man's name. In all periods during which "Esquire" was used, it denoted rank 
or status above common laborers or artisans." "Esquire" indicated higher 
status, often by virtue of a higher degree of education, and was used rather 
infrequently. In Cumberland County, its use appears to be associated with 
men who were justices of the peace, civil magistrates, lawyers, or young men 
who were attending college at the time of their death. 

Virtuous Women, Useful Men, & Lovely Children 

Esquire Mr. Captain Religious IVIilitary None 

Figure 6: Titles for Adult Men, Cumberland County, Maine, 1720-1820 

The title "Mister," always abbreviated as "Mr.," and still the most com- 
mon term used to address adult men today, appeared most frequently on 
gravestone inscriptions. Given that the men who held religious, military, or 
maritime occupations or positions held separate titles, it can be assumed that 
a man who was simply referred to as "Mr." held another type of occupation, 
such as a merchant, craftsman or artisan. However, Joshua Shirley's memorial 
in Portland specifically identifies him as a "Printer," without any additional 
title such as "Mr." This is the only example for a man that does not conform to 
the seriation model in Figure 6. 

It is difficult to determine whether all of the men identified by their 
epitaphs as "Captains" were sea or military captains, but given the high level 
of importance of seafaring in coastal Maine, it is likely that the majority of 
men commemorated with the title of "Captain" were sea captains. Of the 40 
examples that cite the deceased as "Captain," only three specifically identify 
military (1) or sea (2) captains. These gravestones commemorate Captains 
Jacob Adams and Daniel Bragdon, of Portland, and Captain Nehemiah Curtis 
of Harpswell. 

of Schr Charles, 
was wrecked on 

Joy M. Giguere 

Richmond's Island 

July 12, 1807; 

where he & his wife, 

with 14 others perished 

AEt. 35. 

To the memory of 


who died Dec. 26, 1816: 

AEt. 83 

A true Patriot commanded the Militia 

before & during the Revolutionary war 

discharged with honor & fidelity the 

several offices he held and hath left an 

iini table pattern. 

You that pass by, see here I lie, 

[Inscription illegible] 

GOD's noblest work, an honest man 


from the storms of life, 

here rest the remains of 


whose spirit 

Death sunimon'd aloft 

on the 16* April, 1819, 

after a voyage of 

57 years. 


he was an early Patron, and useful member, 

have erected this stone as a just tribute to his memory. 

Cumberland County gravestone inscriptions that specified other iTiilitary 
titles, such as "Ensign," "Major," or "Lieutenant," were rare. 

A total of eighty-one gravestones for both sexes bore no title or kinship 
designation whatsoever. Of the eighty-one examples, thirty-eight (47%) 
commemorate individuals who were aged thirty years or younger at the 
time of death, and thirty-five (43%) commemorate those over the age of fifty. 
The remaining eight examples (10%) were for individuals between the ages 
of thirty and fifty. This seems to indicate that, in general, the vast majority 

10 Virtuous Women, Useful Men, & Lovely Children 

of those who died between the ages of thirty and fifty possessed definitive 
social titles or kinship designations by which to be remembered. As for 
the rest, with no titular information, it is nearly impossible to tell the social 
position of the individual unless the nearby gravestone of his or her spouse 
reveals status or family relationship. Gravestone inscriptions lacking titles 
or kinship designations were often simple and succinct, providing only the 
name, date of death, and age. However, twenty-nine examples (36%) included 
verse epitaphs or additional biographical information. Additionally, fifty-nine 
examples (73%) have inscriptions that begin with "In memory of," "Sacred to 
the memory of," or some other variation. 

The grandest monuments with the lengthiest, most laudatory inscriptions 
were those that commemorated the death of a man who held a religious 
office. This may be due, in part, to the central public role of Congregational 
ministers in most New England towns during the seventeenth, eighteenth, and 
nineteenth centuries. In Under the Cope of Heaven: Religion, Society and Politics in 
Colonial America, Patricia Bonomi asserts that "the idiom of religion penetrated 
all discourse, underlay all thought, marked all observances, gave meaning to 
every public and private crisis. There was hardly a day of the week . . . when 
colonial Americans could not repair to their churches . . . which gave a certain 
tone to everything they did in their collective and communal capacity."'- The 
types of language we see on 1720 to 1820 gravestones reflect the messages 
often preached by ministers to their congregations during this period. Given 
the social importance of a minister to his community, it therefore seems logical 
that any Reverend or Pastor who was considered particularly talented at his 
ministry or zealous in his faith was commemorated by his family, congregation, 
or town with a memorial that dominated the landscape. Memorials for fully 
recognized ministers and pastors (9 examples) were especially large, whereas 
gravestones for deacons (14) were often smaller, with simpler epitaphs. The 
following lengthy epitaphs came from three such large monuments: 

Here lyes Interr'd the Body of 


first Pastor of the Church in Harpswell, 

who triuniphantly Departed this 

Life the 22d of April A.D. 1764 

In the 62d Year of 

his Age. 

Est commune mori 

Mors nulli Parcit Honori 

Neque ulli Aetati 

Joy M. Gigiiere 11 

Here are deposited 

the Remains 


A Candidate for the Gospel Ministry 

& PASTOR ELECT of ye Church & Congregation 

in this Town, who after having sustained with 

Christian Patience & pious resignation a long & 

distressing Consumption calmly in hope of 

Blessed Eternity fell asleep in Christ May 29th 


hi the 30th Year of his age. 

To Perpetuate his remembrance & their affection. 

His relatives have erected this monument. 

Beneath this Stone Death's Pris'ner lies. 

The stone shall move - the Pris'ner rise 

When Jesus with Almighty word 
Call his dead saints to meet the Lord. 

My Friends be exorted to prepare for Death 

In Memory of 


late pastor of the Church 

in Standish son of Deacon 

JONATHAN GOULD of New Braintree, 

& ABIGAIL his wife departed 

this Life July 26th 1795, In the 33d 

year of his age, & 2d of his Ministry. 

He was a fervent & zealous preacher of 

the Gospel, very exemplary in his Life & 

conversation, & bid fair to adorn the 
Ministerial character with peculiar honour 

So sleep the saints & cease to mourn. 

When sin & death have done their worst, 

Christ has a glory like his own 

That wants to clothe their sleeping 


According to the epitaphs, Elisha Eaton of Harpswell, Otis Crosby of New 
Gloucester, and Jonathan Gould of Standish exemplified the qualities expected 
of ministers. In the case of the inscription for the Reverend Jonathan Gould, the 
opening line, "My friends be exorted [sic] to prepare for Death" (a common 
exhortation on gravestones even for laypersons), gives the appearance of the 

12 Virtuous Women, Useful Men, & Lovely Children 

minister continuing to preach to his flock from beyond the grave. Likewise, 
the Latin inscription on the Reverend EHsha Eaton's monument urges viewers 
to "remember death." 

In sum, an individual's title, occupation or kinship status was often an 
integral part of inscription language. Analysis of the types and distribution 
of different titles reveals how men's and women's social status was based 
primarily on their relegation to separate spheres of interaction — women 
according to their kinship bonds to their husband or father and men according 
mostly to their occupations. Figures 4 and 6 both show this differentiation: 
the most prominent titles for women were kinship-based, including "Mrs.," 
"Wife," "Consort," "Widow," "Relict" and "Miss," but for men, there was a 
distinct scarcity of kinship terms. Since gravestone inscription language was 
prescriptive as well as descriptive, the differentiation in titles for social status 
seems to have been a way to reinforce the social and occupational separation 
between the public and private spheres. 

"Useful, Wise & Just": The Significance of Descriptive Language 

Even more than specific titles given to men and women, descriptive 
language in epitaphs and biographical inscriptions reaffirmed socially 
defined gender roles. The words chosen to describe an individual after death 
established whether that person had lived according to prescribed codes 
of behavior. During the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, when 
orthodox Puritanism reigned as the dominant religion in New England, men 
were expected to adhere to strict moral codes of their Christian faith, as well 
as to exhibit qualities that reflected their achievements and prominence as 
upstanding members of their communities. Women, on the other hand, were 
expected to exhibit qualities of piety, faithfulness, purity, and devotion to God 
and their husbands. Laurel Ulrich has noted that "[s]ubn"iission to God and 
submission to one's husband were part of the same religious duty." '' 

In Cumberland County, most inscriptions are consistently simple and 
biographical in nature, as in the case of the gravestone inscription for Andrew 
Ring (d. 1744) in Yarmouth: 

Here Lyes Buried 

The Body of 
Mr Andrew Ring 

Aged 48 Years 

Died Novr Ye 17"^ 


However, eighty-seven gravestones (roughly 8%) provide descriptive words 
and phrases about personal qualities, religious virtue, and moral character. 
Descriptive words and word combinations appear in fifty-one different varia- 
tions between the 1750s and 1820 (Figure 7). Many gravestones include reli- 
gious verses alone that stress death and/ or the hope of resurrection and meet- 
ing one's loved ones in heaven. 

Joy M. Giguere 


Description Combinations 
& Variation (Women) 


Description Combinations & 
Variations (Men) 




Benevolent, Sincere, Kind, 
Friendly, Just, Industrious, 


Amiable, Meekly Submissive 

Fervent, Zealous, Exemplary, 

Amiable, Tender 

Good, Faithful 

Exemplar^' Character 


Kind, Sincere 

Honest, Prudent, Industrious 

Lo\ ing. Tender 

Honest, Useful 




Pleasant, Happy 


Religious, Wise, Just 

Patience, Pious 



Tender, Sincere 

Patriot, Indulgent, Tender, 

Virtue, Piety 

Patriot, Just 




Virtuous, Pious 

Pure, Just, Dear, Kind 

Virtuous, Tender 







Youth, Beauty 

Useful, Kind, Indulgent 

Virtue, Just 

Virtuous, Just 

Wise, Just 

Wise, Peaceable 



Description (Children) 


Bloom (Descriptive) 

5(4F, IM) 

Loving, Kind, Pleasing 


Flower (Descriptive) 


Rose (Descriptive) 




Sweet, Lovely 






Lovely, Beautiful 




Figure 7: Descriptive Words and Word Combinations Listed 
Alphabetically by Gender and Age 

Gravestones bearing language describing virtue and piety did not begin to 
appear on the Cumberland County landscape until the 1760s, during which 
time the strict tenets of the Puritan faith had begun to wane significantly. 
Despite this, from 1759 to 1819, references to virtue appear on twenty-one 
occasions (24% of the gravestones bearing descriptive language). The terms 
"virtue" and "virtuous," the most popular descriptive terms, appear on 
gravestones for both men and women. However, the connotations of the terms 
differ according to gender. For men, references to virtue often implied that 
it was a public quality or one pertaining to religious devotion or republican 
sentiment. For women, the descriptive "virtue" most often appeared before 

14 Virtuous Women, Useful Men, & Lovely Children 

her kinship title (e.g. "Virtuous Consort"), thus suggesting that this quality 
was restricted to the private sphere. However, as with men, it could also refer 
to a woman's religious devotion. The earliest example to note a man's virtue 
dates to 1759 for Reverend Stephen Minot of Brunswick: 

Here Lyes Interred ye Remains of Mr 

STEPHEN MINOT A.M. Son of ye Revd 


Concord) Who Died Sep. 3: 1759 An AEt. 28 

He was one of uncommon natural and 

acquired Parts In his Publick Character, as a 

Preacher he was Esteemed & admired In his 

moral Character unreproachable, [Illegible] 

a Steady abhorrence of vice [Illegible] 

adherance to virtue in [Illegible] 

[Bene]volent & obliging. The [Illegible] Scholar & the 

Christian were [Illegible] Conspicuous in his Life. 

that he was Greatly respected whilst Living 

& at his Death Generally & Sincerly Lamented. 

The earliest example for a woman, representative of most epitaphs for women 
that include the term "virtuous," bears the date 1761 and commemorates 
"Virtuous Consort" Sarah Cocks of Portland: 

Here lies Buried the Body of 


the Virtuous Consort of 


who Departed this Life 

Octr Ye 25th 1761 

In the 40th Year 

of her Age 

The addition of "consort," "wife," or "relict" before a woman's husband's 
name (e.g. "virtuous consort," "virtuous relict," "virtuous wife") is typical, 
as on the gravestone for Mrs. Tabitha Longfellow (d. 1777), the "virtuous 
Consort of Stephen Longfellow, Esq[uire]" (Fig. 8). There were no instances in 
which a young woman was referred to as the "virtuous daughter" of someone, 
suggesting that only a mature — that is, married — woman could be considered 
a model of virtuous conduct. The implication seems to be that unwed young 
women may have been considered virtuous, but without having faced the 
challenges of adult life, they did not have enough experience and maturity to 
be models for other women. 

In the colonial and early national periods, the concept of virtue for women 
tended to differ significantly from that for men, though there was some 

Joy M. Giguere 15 

overlap. Whereas women were expected to exercise virtue in the Christian 
sense primarily through "temperance, prudence, faith [and] charity," 
historian Ruth Bloch asserts that it was "specifically public virtue — active, 
self-sacrificial service to the state on behalf of the common good — that was 
an essentially male attribute."'"* Bloch adds that while exceptional women 
were capable of exhibiting public virtue, "it was never an inherently feminine 
characteristic."'" Given what appears to have been the politicized meaning 
of "virtue" to describe men, especially in the period during and immediately 
after the Revolutionary War, gravestones bearing this term for men did not 
appear until the 1790s. Similarly, references to men as having been patriots 
date from the 1790s onward. Other words that were used on gravestones to 
describe the admirable characteristics of men include "useful," "industrious," 
"honest," and "honorable." These qualities describe important civic virtues 
connected to the occupational world. Unlike in the Old World, where bloodline 
often dictated a person's social status, a man's social position in America was 
more likely based on his work ethic and utility to society, as illustrated clearly 
by the inscription on the gravestone for Major Paul Randall (d. 1807), 
memorialized first as "a useful member of civel [sic] society" (Fig. 9). A man 
who was both an honest and a successful businessman, tradesman, or artisan 
was doubly respected by his peers. 

By contrast, "virtue" and "virtuous" on women's gravestones from the 
1760s onward rarely refer to patriotic virtue. Social historians have referred 
to the postwar cult of "Republican Motherhood" and have discussed the 
ways during and after the war that prescriptive literature exhorted women to 
exhibit simultaneously their virtue as Christians, wives and mothers and their 
patriotism, political awareness, and sense of equality.'^' However, as Laurel 
Ulrich notes in A Midwife's Tnle, even after the establishment of the Republic, 
most women in all likelihood continued to live solely within the sphere of 
colonial housewives rather than as republican mothers actively promoting 
democratic values and civic duties.'^ 

Virtue as a personal quality remained important well into the nineteenth 
century, even when the most important qualities for women included being 
an amiable or loving wife and a tender mother. Descriptions of the deceased 
as having been "Virtuous" or possessing "Virtue" were more common for 
women, with six examples for men and eighteen for women. The latest example 
used for this study describing a woman as "virtuous" commemorates Dorcas 
Fickett in Portland, and likewise alludes to the burgeoning public roles for 
women during the early nineteenth century: 

In memory of 

wife of 

Mr. Asa Fickett, 

Died Dec. 11, 1819; 


Virtuous Women, Useful Men, & Lovely Children 

Fig. 8. Gravestone of Mrs. Tabitha Longfellow (d. 1777), Eastern Cemetery, 

Portland, memoralizing her as the "virtuous 

Consort of Mr. Stephen Longfellow, Esq[uire]." 

AEt. 53. 

She stretched out her hand to the poor: 

yea, she reached forth her hands to the needy. 

A tender mother and a virtuous wife. 

Through all the various scenes of life. 

The first two lines of Dorcas Pickett's epitaph come from Proverbs 31 of the 
Old Testament. Doing good works was one form of public activity that was 
sanctioned and encouraged for women, especially those from the middle class, 
throughout the nineteenth century. By the 1810s and 1820s, white middle class 
women had formed benevolent societies around the United States to help the 
poor, encourage temperance, and convert fallen women to the Protestant 
faith. '*^ This kind of social mobilization among these wonien was, as described 
by historian Nancy Cott, the "redeployment of domestic values as they tried 
to exert social power through reform organizations such as the Woman's 
Christian Temperance Union and women's clubs."''' The last two lines of the 
epitaph include the type of descriptive language comnionly used for niarried 

Joy M. Giguere 


Fig. 9. Gravestone of Major Paul Randall (d. 1807), Old Common 

Burying Ground, Harpswell, memoralizing him as both "a useful member 

of civel [sic] society" and a "kind husba[n]d and indulgent parent." 

18 Virtuous Women, Useful Men, & Lovely Children 

women. While it seems that "virtuous" encompasses the desirable qualities of 
a wife such as dutifulness or fidelity towards her husband, the niost important 
motherly qualities were those of tenderness and care. The ideal married 
woman was one who was both a virtuous wife and tender mother. 

Only one other Cumberland County gravestone conimeniorates the bene- 
ficence of an individual, in this case a man, to the poor. Also found in Portland, 
it memorializes Zachariah Marston: 


departed this life on the 7*'^ of Nov. 1813: 

in the 34* year of his age. 

He was benevolent, sincere, kind 

& friendly to the poor: 

just in his dealings, industrious & enterprising. He closed 

this life in full expectation of 

an immortal rest. 

In Marston's epitaph, his personal qualities take precedence over his pro- 
fessional traits. That he was "just in his dealings, industrious & enterprising" 
gives the impression that he may well have been a businessman or trader of 
some kind. The term "virtue" is not explicitly used on this epitaph, but the 
profusion of other complimentary terms implies that this man exhibited a 
great deal of both public virtue as an honest businessman and alms-giver, 
and private virtue through his benevolence, sincerity, and kindness. As with 
many other epitaphs for men, Marston's does not indicate whether he was a 
husband. Just as we know little of the private lives and qualities of men, we 
know little of the qualities women possessed aside from those related to their 
religious and family roles. This basic gender difference in descriptive language 
for men and women, as revealed in Figure 7, reinforced expectations for the 
living to confine themselves to their male and female designated spheres. 

Descriptive language on children's epitaphs during the late-eighteenth 
and early-nineteenth centuries was inherently different from the language 
used to describe adults. Children of the colonial period were not assigned 
gendered identities until the age of six or seven. Infants and toddlers wore 
gowns and dresses, regardless of sex. By six or seven years of age, boys 
began to wear breeches while girls remained in dresses. As noted by Karin 
Calvert in Children in the House: The Material Culture of Early Childhood, 1600- 
1900, changes in a boy's costume marked his progress in society toward 
manhood and "age only became noteworthy in the case of small boys as they 
progressed to greater and greater independence."-" Evidence for the creation 
of separate gender identities in childhood is apparent from eighteenth and 
nineteenth century portraiture, which depicted children in the clothing that 
was appropriate to their age. It was also at this age that girls began to help 
their mothers with household tasks and learn the skills they would need to 

Joy M. Giguere 19 

know in the future to run their own households, while boys would either 
help their fathers with their work, or attend school. Children were not held 
to the same moral standards as their parents until they reached six or seven 
and generally were not truly considered adults until they married. Epitaph 
language for very young children was likewise non-gender-specific until they 
reached their early to mid-teens, indicating that they were close to adulthood. 
Even young married women were at times still defined as the "daughter of" 
someone on their epitaphs, an indication of the continued subordinate and 
dependent status of even mature unmarried women. 

Descriptive language memorializing children and youths did not begin to 
be used until the 1790s in Cumberland County, and in most cases the child was 
compared to a withered flower, or the epitaph noted that the bloom of youth 
haci faded too soon (Figure 7). Flower imagery was also used in epitaphs often 
taken from hymns for young women in their teens and early twenties, as in the 
case of Betsey Lane of Cape Elizabeth: 

In memory of 


youngest dautr of Mr Eben 

& Mrs Mary Lane, who 

died April 7, 1803: Aged 

20 years & 6 months. 

So fades the lovely blooming flower 

Frail smiling solace of an hour 

So soar our transient comforts fly 

And pleasure only blooms to die. 

The inscription on the Jane F. Clark gravestone in Portland also shows how 
children were memorialized as cut or withered flowers: 

Jane F. Clark, 

Daur of Peter T. Clark 

& Eleanor his wife, 

died Feb. 4, 1819: 

aged 6 years. 

Cropt like a flow'r she wither'd in her bloom 

Tho' flatt'ring life had proinis'd years to come. 

This type of language is consistent with the ways in which children and young 
women appeared in contemporary portraiture: very often, the individual 
appears posed holding a flower such as a rose. Flower imagery was used 
in epitaphs for both girls and boys, though there are no references to young 
men as flowers after the age of fourteen; the disappearance of such language 
undoubtedly indicated the point at which a boy had started to be considered 
a young man. Other references for children and youths included allusions to 

20 Virtuous Women, Useful Men, & Lovely Children 

youth and beauty, or indicated that the child had been happy, lovely, or loving 
(Fig. 6). Such qualities as piety, virtue, and wisdom came with age, experience 
and knowledge of the world. The innocence and inexperience of children 
generally precluded their having been held up as models of behavior — at least 
until the Romantic era began to idealize children as paragons of purity and 
virtue — and in any case, such descriptive language was not used for children 
who had barely begun to enter into life.-^ 

The few references to the virtue of unmarried youths were restricted to 
those between the ages of fifteen and eighteen years. Still children in our eyes, 
in colonial times they would have assumed adult work roles by then and been 
subject to adult expectations of moral behavior. For example, the inscription 
for fifteen-year-old Cornelius Barnes in Portland, dated 1820, refers to virtue: 

only son of 
Cornelius & Lydia Barne[s] 
died July 10, 1820. 
AEt. 15 yrs & 11 mos 
Mortals, forbear to weep — twas God 
who gave that call'd from earth the spi- 
rit of a youth inured to toil in virtue's cause 
To the enjoyment of happiness without / 

allay, among the spirits of the just 

Given the age of Cornelius at his death (nearly sixteen years), he was very 
near to having been considered an adult by nineteenth-century standards. 
Additionally, according to the language of his epitaph, he was "inured to toil 
in virtue's cause." This inscription indicates that he had been accustomed 
to living a virtuous life, and thus suggests that had he lived, he would have 
grown up to be a virtuous man. 

The Last Word 

In addition to gravestone inscriptions, many forms of material culture from 
the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries articulate the ways in which men and 
women were expected to look, behave, perform daily activities, and interact 
with the opposite sex. Paintings and portraiture, samplers, clothing, popular 
prescriptive literature, novels and serialized fiction, as well as published 
sermons are but a few examples of material and print culture that reveal 
these differences. As we have seen, the epitaph language used by people in 
Cumberland County between 1720 and 1820 reflected socially constructed 
contemporary assumptions about, and expectations of, behavior. Epitaph 
language stressed time and again the importance of being a virtuous and loving 
wife and tender mother, or an accomplished nian, in order to be considered by 

Joy M. Giguere 21 

society as having earned commemoration and heavenly reward. It is evident 
from the data from Cumberland County that kinship designations played a 
particularly important role in identifying a woman's status in society. We most 
often know who a woman's husband was, and also, at times, what he did. 
Her function was defined almost entirely by kinship — wife, niother, widow, 
daughter. In contrast, inscriptions for men reveal that they stood on their own, 
and relationships to wife or parents were infrequently acknowledged. 

Descriptive language patterns on Cumberland County gravestones that 
stress virtue, tenderness, friendliness, and other qualities echo those that 
appear tliroughout the rest of New England earlier and in the same period. 
Though certain variations may occur depending upon geographic location, 
the basic linguistic trends are the same, indicating a certain level of uniformity 
in social expectations of behavior throughout New England. While certain 
qualities such as tenderness or coinpassion gained precedence over others 
as the eighteenth century drew to a close, all the characteristics described in 
epitaphs were obviously important. When we read the inscriptions on these 
monuments, we may in fact wonder whether these men and women had been 
as virtuous and pious as their epitaphs say. However, the significance lies in 
the embedded message, which remained constant during this period of New 
England history — that is, to follow the socially-approved patterns of behavior 
set by the deceased and strive to emulate those who had gone before. 


All illustrations are by the author unless otherwise noted. 

I would like to acknowledge with immense gratitude the help of my MA advisor. 
Professor Alaric Faulkner and my doctoral advisor. Professor Marii F. Weiner of the 
University of Maine, for their guidance and assistance during the research and editing 
process of this article. I would also like to thank the following people for their ongoing 
love and encouragement for my cemetery-related research endeavors: my parents, Jerry 
and Pat Giguere; my fiance, Ben Proud; my uncle, Richard Siembab; my grandparents, 
Raymond and Marie Siembab; and my dear departed friend, Nancy Lizotte. 

^ Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, Good Wives: Images and Reality in the Lives of Women in Northern 
Neio England, 1650-1750 (New York: Vintage Books, 1991), 3. 

^ Lynn Rainville, "Hanover Deathscapes: Mortuary Variability in New Hampshire, 
1770-1920," Ethnohistory, 46.3 (Summer, 1999): 570-1. 

^ I chose 1820 as a terminal date since gravestone types and materials changed about 
then. Also, language had begun to become more romanticized. 


Virtuous Women, Useful Men, & Lovely Children 

^This paper was originally the final chapter in a Master's thesis project, which entailed 
the systematic collection of information on 1,150 gravestones in 22 out of the 25 towns 
that comprise Cumberland County in southern Maine (see Map below). The temporal 
parameters of this research included the years between the earliest dated stone, 1717, 
until Maine's incorporation as a state in 1820. I visited nearly 200 cemeteries during 
the data collection process, but in the end, 70 cemeteries yielded gravestones within 
the selected time period of study (see Figure below). The object of the research as a 
whole was to determine the historical and archaeological significance of gravestones 
in southern Maine, the extent to which markers were imported from other colonies 
and, later, states, and the manner in which iconography and language was used and 
mampulated to express certain beliefs and expectations of the society that produced 


Cemeteries w/ 1720-1820 Gravestones 

# of Gravestones 







North Yarmouth 















Cape Elizabeth 



New Gloucester 






Stand ish 





































South Portland 






^ Does not include gravestones on which two or more people of the opposite sex (such 
as husband and wife together, or soil and daughter together) are memorialized; total 
number of examples in Figure 3 is 1,109, but the total number of gravestones in this 
study is 1,150. 

^J.A. Simpson and E.S.C. Weiner, eds., Oxford English Dictionary (Oxford: Clarendoii 
Press, 1989), 5:891. 

^Oxford English Dictionary, 2:780. 

Joy M. Giguere 23 

'^Oxford English Dictionary, 9:563. 

^^ All gravestone inscriptions have been transcribed and appear in this paper exactly 
as they are found on the monuments, including misspellings and parentheses (single 
or double). Any information appearing inside square brackets is supplemental 
information provided bv the author. 

^' Oxford English Dictionary, 4:398. 

^"Patricia U. Bonomi, Under the Cope of Heaven: Religion, Society and PoUtics in Colonial 
America (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), 3. 

^•^ Ulrich, Goodwives, 6. 

"Ruth H. Bloch, Gender and Morality in Anglo-American Culture, 1650-1800 (Berkeley: 
University of California Press, 2003), 140. 


^^See Mary Beth Norton, Liberty's Daughters: Tlie Revolutionan/ Experience of American 
Women, 1750-1800 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1980); Ruth Bloch, Gender and 
Morality; and Joan Hoff Wilson, "The Illusion of Change: Women and the Revolution," 
in Alfred F. Young, ed., Tlie American Revolution: Explorations in the History of American 
Radicalism {1976), 383-U5. 

^"Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, A Midwife's Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 
1785-1812 (New York: Vintage Books, 1990), 32. 

^^ For further reading on mneteenth-century benevolent societies, see Lori D. Ginzberg, 
Women and the Work of Benevolence: Morality, Politics and Class hi the 19"' Century United 
States (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990), and Peggy Pascoe, Relations of Rescue: 
Tlie Search for Female Moral Authority in the American West, 1874-1939 (Oxford & New 
York: Oxford University Press, 1990). 

■^^ Nancy Cott, Tlie Bonds of Womanhood: "Woman's Sphere" in Neiv England, 1780-1835, 
2"'' ed. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1997), xxiii. 

-° Karen Calvert, Children in the House: Tlie Material Culture of Early Childhood, 1600-1900 
(Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1994), 45-47. 

^^ There were, however, pre-Romantic ideas about children and their virtue and 
holiness, such as James Janeway's 1675 treatise, "A Token for Children," the subtitle 
of which was, "Being an Exact Account of the Conversion, Holy and Exemplary Lives 
and Joyful Deaths, of Several Children." 


New Netherland's Gravestone Legacy 



and Selected Colonial Era Burial Grounds 

■ plank / post-like marker sites 
trapezoidal / ponited marker sites 
other sites mentioned in text 

Frontispiece: The upper mid- Atlantic states and 
selected colonial era burial grounds. 

Brandon Richards 25 

New Netherland's Gravestone Legacy: 

An Introduction to Early Burial Markers of 

THE Upper Mid-Atlantic States 

Brandon Richards 


The colonial era gravemarkers of the upper Mid-Atlantic states (frontis- 
piece) have been the focus of limited research to date. That which has been 
conducted primarily concerns the New York/ New Jersey gravestone carving 
tradition, established prior to the 1720s, and its skillfully crafted sandstone 
markers. The work of Sherene Baugher and Fredrick Winter (1983), for exam- 
ple, touched upon the tradition in examining motif preferences among vari- 
ous groups in three ethnically diverse, early New York City burial grounds; 
Richard Welch (1987) took a more in-depth look into its history, motifs, and 
carvers; and Gaynell Stone (1991) conducted perhaps the most thorough lo- 
cal study of early markers in highlighting the ideological and ethnic differ- 
ences in gravestone choices on Long Island.' Stone's findings as they relate 
to Dutch/ English gravestone distinctions are also in line with the author's 
2005 M.A. thesis, "Comparing and Interpreting the Early Dutch and English 
Gravemarkers of the Lower Hudson Region."- 

Although locally produced sandstone and New England slate gravestones 
were erected in the upper mid- Atlantic colonies as early as the 1680s, the vast 
majority of the earliest markers were either made of wood or were simple stone 
non-artisanal markers. This study examines the rough-hewn stone traditions 
of colonial New York, New Jersey, and Delaware; more specifically, those 
markers erected by and for the descendants of the New Netherland colonists. 
The selected burial grounds are a sample from Dutch cultural area sites where 
there had been a history of cultural isolation. 

Researchers have claimed that other than the possible uninscribed 
fieldstones, the early Dutch, who in 1624 first colonized the region, did not 
use gravemarkers until they were introduced by the English following the 
1664 annexation of New Netherland.' The main reason for this claim is the 
fact that surviving markers from the New Netherland period have never been 
identified or documented. Moreover, extant Dutch language gravemarkers 
appear decades later than the English in the archaeological record of the 
American northeast. However, evidence suggests that centuries-old marker 
traditions were in use before English-inspired headstones were adopted. 
Unfortunately, most of the earliest markers have been lost over the centuries 
to development pressures, neglect, and misidentification. Because of this, the 
final resting places of many of America's first colonists have been, and risk 
continuing to be, disturbed. It is therefore important that remaining early stones 
are properly identified, not only for their own archaeological significance, but 
also to protect the remains they mark. 

26 New Netherland's Gravestone Legacy 

Early Dutch Burial Grounds in New York, New Jersey, and Delaware 

Although the Dutch language and culture predominated until the mid- 
1700s in many communities established by New Netherland colonists and 
their descendants, this group was by no n"ieans homogeneous. For example, 
the Swedes, along with a contingent of Finns, founded Fort Christina (near 
present-day Wilmington, Delaware) in 1638. New Sweden was amiexed by 
New Netherland in 1655. The Dutch colony also absorbed large numbers of 
Norwegian, Danish, German, and Walloon immigrants from a comparatively 
early date. In addition, French Huguenots arriving in the years before and 
after New Netherland was ceded to the English (1664) were assimilated as 
well."* These various groups utilized churchyards, public burial grounds, and 
private family grounds throughout the region for burials; but unfortunately, 
many of these sites have been and remain threatened due to their proximity 
to densely settled areas. The earliest burial grounds were established in New 
York's oldest settlements (i.e. Albany, Manhattan, Brooklyn) and had largely 
succumbed to development pressures during the 1800s. Graves in many cases 
were relocated to new sites in park-like cemeteries to accommodate urban 
growth.^ Gravemarkers, however, did not always make the journey. For 
example, the gravestones of one of New York's earliest burial grounds, the 
Old Dutch Churchyard of New York City, were destroyed when the property 
was sold off to real estate developers.^' 

Rural plots did not fare much better. Many of the stones of the old private 
and family grounds have either fallen apart, been discarded, or become 
buried. In writing on the colonial town of Bushwick in 1884, Henry Stiles 
commented that the ancient graveyard of this settlement had been unused 
and neglected for many years before its remnants were ultimately deposited 
under the Bushwick Dutch Reformed Church.^ And in 1929, as a member of 
the Saugerties Chapter of the D.A.R., Lila James Roney described the state 
of early Ulster County, New York, family plots as "fast disappearing, due to 
farms passing into alien hands." She also wrote that "the stones . . . where 
the earliest settlers of Saugerties were buried, were thrown in the Hudson 
[Rjiver," adding. 

The resting place of the earliest settlers ... is conipletely overgrown 
with large trees and dense underbrush. Many of the stones have 
fallen to the ground, and are almost buried from sight. The 
inscriptions on many of the old field stones have been worn away 
by the storms of years and the names lost to posterity.^ 
Thus, neglect is another factor contributing heavily to the loss of many early 

Although churchyards are some of the most well-maintained of surviving 
colonial-era burial grounds and are frequently home to excellent examples of 
early, crudely-cut gravemarkers, churchyards dating to the Dutch dominion 
are limited in number. This is due not just to later development but also to their 

Brandon Richards 27 

original scarcity. Prior to 1654, there were only two Dutch churches in the entire 
colony. It was not until the final decade of Dutch rule that permanent structures 
and churchyards were more widely established.'' Over tinie, many of the first 
churchyard burials were obliterated when congregation growth necessitated 
enlarging the church building, frequently over the adjacent graveyards.'" Such 
was the case at Flatbush, Hackensack, Kingston, and elsewhere, resulting in 
an absence of markers identifying the earliest churchyard burials. 

Indirect Evidence of Early Marker Use 

There is good indirect evidence for the use of burial markers in some 
form prior to an English introduction. Because they help to identify previous 
interments, gravemarkers are a very practical tool. While excavating near the 
site of Albany's Old Dutch Church, archaeologists found that the earliest New 
Netherland settlers were buried in coffins stackeci directly above each other 
in tiers." This practice requires knowledge of each previously dug grave, 
particularly when there is a desire to bury people together who have died 
years apart. In the Netherlands, as was the case in colonial America, it was not 
uncommon for spouses or family members to be buried in the same location 
and icientified on a single marker. 

Another strong piece of evidence supporting colonial New Netherland 
marker use is the presence of burial markers in the Netherlands, as well as 
elsewhere in northern Europe, from an early date. Although stone was scarce, 
gravestones like the one shown in Figure 1 were erected in the Netherlands 
during the 1600s. Many of the earliest surviving "Dutch" gravemarkers found 
in the study area appear to be simple versions of the same. In addition, there 
are some colonial marker forms that resemble traditions common throughout 
Scandinavia during the Middle Ages. These burial markers, referred to as 
runestones for the runic characters carved on them, were known all over the 
Germanic World.'- Although further research is necessary to link colonial 
gravestone traditions to those of Scandinavia during the same period, 
Scandinavians constituted a large minority segment of New Netherland' s 
population, and gravemarker evidence suggests a strong likelihood that these 
particular colonists played a part in the diffusion of runestone-like marker 
fornis into America. 

New Netherland's Scandinavian Influence 

Estimates place the 1664 population of New Netherland at as much as 9000 
colonists, with roughly half representing ancestries other than Dutch. ' -^ At New 
Amsterdam (New York City), 13 % of marriages between 1639 and 1649 involved 
a partner from Schleswig-Holstein (then part of Denmark), and 5% from other 
Scandinavian regions, according to Dutch Reformed Church records.'^ In 
places like Fort Christina, the Scandinavian element was inuch greater due 
to the origins of the settlement. Most of these colonists were Lutherans, as 
opposed to Calvinists like the Dutch.'" Fort Orange, near present day Albany, 

28 New Netherland's Gravestone Legacy 

Fig. 1. Seventeenth-century gravestone memorializing Oolee Pieterszkuyte 
and an unidentified individual, 1692, Den Helder, The Netherlands. 

reported "from 70 to 80 [Lutheran] families" in 1659. Equal numbers were 
documented on Long Island as well.'" This sizable Scandinavian presence 
should come as no great surprise to those familiar with Dutch history. During 
the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, many Scandinavians, particularly 
Norwegian and Danish sailors and their families, lived in the Netherlands.'^ 
This period of contact between the Dutch and Scandinavian peoples could 
have provided ample opportunities for the exchange of cultural traditions, 
including grave monument forms. 

Common Colonial Marker Forms 

From Schenectady, New York, to Wilmington, Delaware, non-artisanal 
gravemarkers still stand in many of the grounds established by the early Dutch, 
Huguenot, and Scandinavian colonists. Two common forms, plank and post- 
like in appearance, resemble cuts of wood and were possibly skeuomorphs 
carved in stone for permanence. Additional support for this claim comes 
from documentary evidence revealing that wood markers were erected at 
the Knickerbocker Burying Grounds in Albany. A.J. Weise, writing in 1880, 
mentioned to this effect, "[t]he durability of wood is practically exhibited 
by the excellent preservation of a pitch pine head board standing in this 
graveyard."'^ Wood was also more commonly used to mark gravesites in the 

Brandon Richards 


Netherlands, as stone was scarce and expensive.''' There, such gravemarkers 
were erected well into the twentieth century (Fig. 2). It is important to note 
that any wood markers erected during the New Netherland period would not 
have survived to the present due to the decomposing nature of the material. 

In the British communities of the upper mid-Atlantic colonies, it was 
not uncommon for non-artisanal gravemarkers to be hewn in the likeness of 
the professionally carved markers found in the more urban settlements. For 
example, tympanums, such as those found on the bedstead gravemarkers of 
the New England and New York/ New Jersey carving traditions, are present 
on many early rough-hewn stones in St. Paul's Churchyard in Mount Vernon, 
New York. At times, the English and New Englanders who settled in this area 
carved symbols on the tympanums as well (Fig. 3). These surviving markers, 
which date back to 1704, have inscriptions varying from simple initials and a 
year of death, to a complete name and date of death (Fig. 4). 

The earliest actual Dutch language gravemarker identified in the study area 
was erected around 1690 in the Schenectady Dutch Reformed Churchyard. 
Incidentally, it was found and removed during the late 1800s from a cellar 
wall into which it had been built.-° The marker was plank-like in appearance, 
measuring 14 x 7 x 4 inches, and inscribed: 

Fig. 2. Wooden gravemarker erected for Elbertje Van De Kolk, 1930, 
Elspeet, The Netherlands. Photograph courtesy of Leon Bok. 


New Netherland's Gravestone Legacy 


Fig. 3. Example of a non-artisanal marker from a colonial British 

settlement featuring a heart carved on the tympanum, John Obren, 

1755, Mount Vernon, New York. 

Fig. 4 Colonial British, non-artisanal marker hewn in the likeness 

of a professionally-carved gravestone, Rechel Gee, 

1752, Mount Vernon, New York. 

Brandon Richards 



Which translates to: 


The marker was cut with a characteristic top-end slant common among early 
Dutch gravestones of its type. Facing the marker, the slant ran from the left 
down to the right, sloping at an approximately 30° angle. 

Similar gravestones were erected in Kingston, New York, where the 
earliest date to the 1710s. At New Paltz, where Huguenots had established 
themselves, these markers are found as well. Although the markers at both 
sites are similar and feature the top-end slant, the inscriptions vary. In the 
Old Dutch Churchyard at Kingston, most do not include much more than the 
initials of the individual and a date of death (Fig. 5), while some New Paltz 
markers were more creative with inscriptions in acronym form. For example, 
the fifth line of the marker in Figure 6, IDHOS, reads in Dutch In Den Heere 
Ontslapen, which translates to "Sleeping in the Lord." 

Fig. 5. Colonial Dutch, plank-like marker featuring top-end slant, 
WHM, 1713, Kingston, New York. 

32 New Netherland's Gravestone Legacy 

'< »" '"I 

. »*>j 

Fig. 6. Example of a plank-like marker with additional carved details, 
Margaret Van Bommel, 1747, New Paltz, New York. 

Excellent examples of another type of burial marker, the post-like 
gravestones, stand in Kingston (from the 1720s) and New Paltz (from as early 
as the 1740s). The markers at Kingston are the earliest identified surviving of 
their kind and include the top-end slant (Fig. 7). In addition, the churchyard 
features an extant, rounded-top marker dating to 1737 (Fig. 8). Gravestones 
like this have been found with either initials only or lacking inscriptions 
altogether in West Nyack, New York, and in northern New Jersey at the Old 
Paramus Burial Ground. At Neshanic in New Jersey's Raritan Valley, there is 
at least one rounded-top, post-like marker from a later date, 1763, which was 
carved with the full death date and name of the deceased. 

The rounded-top feature is characteristic among gravemarkers in the 
Netherlands from the same period, which suggests that it might have been 
introduced to the upper mid-Atlantic colonies via the Dutch. Interestingly, 
Viking Age runestones bearing both rounded (Fig. 9) and slanted-tops (Fig. 
10, left) were carved and erected centuries earlier in Scandinavia as well. Some 
runestone-like markers, such as the Viele stone from rural Ancram, New York, 
in Figure 11, combine the rounded and slanted-top features. This combination 
is also present on the example in Figure 12 from Uppsala, Sweden, circa the 
eleventh century. As discussed previously, these factors, combined with 

Brandon Richards 


Fig. 7. Colonial Dutch post-like 

marker possibly identifying 

burial plot for Van Wyk family, 

1724, Kingston, New York. 

Fig. 8. Example of a post-like 

marker with a rounded top, 

HKS, 1737, Kingston, New York. 

Fig. 9. Eleventh-century runestone 

carved by the rune master 

Asmund for Svarthovde, Uppsala, 

Sweden. Photograph courtesy of 

Jack Ammerman. 

Fig. 10. Sketch by Robert Miller 

of late 12*-/ early 13"^-century 

gravestones at the Raisio Church 

in Raisio, Finland. The marker on 

the left features the top-end 

slant also common among 

the colonial Dutch. 


New Netherland's Gravestone Legacy 

Fig. 11. Sketch by Robert Miller of 
a non-artisanal grave- 
marker with a rounded and 
slanted top resembling a Viking 
runestone. It is inscribed "Here, 
1749, May 3rd day, was the child 
of G Viele buried," Ancram, 
New York. 

Fig. 12. Lieventii ceriiuiy milestone 

carved by the rune master 

Opir for Igulfast, Uppsala, Sweden. 

Photograph courtesy of 

Jack Ammerman. 

knowledge that the Dutch and Scandinavians were in early contact with each 
other, also open up the possibility of diffusion via colonists of Scandinavian 
descent. However, again, further research on the European end is necessary in 
order to connect these markers to those found in Anierica. 

It should be noted that similar non-artisanal gravestones are present in 
New England burial grounds as well. Figures 13 and 14 represent examples 
of plank and post-like markers with both rounded and slanted tops from 
Lancaster, Massachusetts. While professionally carved stones in many areas 
of New England superseded markers such as these by the late 1600s, non- 
artisanal marker use persisted as the primary form in the Dutch communities 
until the 1740s. -' At this time, colonial Dutch carvers like John Zuricher 
began crafting gravestones to their clients' ethnic preferences (i.e. language) 
and helped to bring the New York/ New Jersey carving tradition to the 
linguistically isolated Dutch communities of the lower Hudson. Similarly, 
John Solomon Teetzel, albeit some time later, was involved in the spread of 
the Anglo-German carving tradition among the German settlements of New 
Jersey's northwestern frontier, where fieldstone markers were common into 
the 1780s." 

Brandon Richards 



Fig. 13. Example of a plank-like 

marker from colonial British 
New England, Thomas Sawyer, 
1706, Lancaster, Massachusetts. 

Photograph courtesy of the 
American Antiquarian Society. 

Fig. 14. Example of a plank-like 

marker from colonial 

British New England circa 1700, 

John Bowers, Lancaster, 

Massachusetts. Photograph 

courtesy of the American 

Antiquarian Society. 

In the initial decades following New Netherland's English takeover, there 
had been little progress in integrating the Dutch and English. The major 
settlements of Albany and Kingston were almost exclusively Dutch, while 
Long Island was divided between five Dutch communities in the west and 
twelve English communities in the east. The Dutch had also concentrated in 
the Raritan Valley and Bergen County, New Jersey, as well as Delaware, where 
the population included many Swedes. By the end of the seventeenth century, 
New York City was the only place in the former New Netherland where the 
Dutch and English really came close together, and even there assimilation 
was limited.-^ Throughout the eighteenth and on into the nineteenth century, 
various aspects of Dutch culture, such as architecture, Dutch-language church 
services, and Dutch-language gravestone inscriptions, continued despite 
large-scale assimilation into the Anglo-American mainstream and no real new 
Dutch immigration. 

In addition to the plank and post-like markers, a third common form, often 
trapezoidal (Fig. 15) or pointed in shape (Fig. 16), has been identified in the 
Dutch communities of the study area. Like the aforementioned non-artisanal 
types, these markers have runestone-like counterparts as well. Inscriptions 


New Netherland's Gravestone Legacy 

Fig. 15. Sketch by Robert Miller of a trapezoidal gravemarker inscribed 

"BC 1726," Wilmington, Delaware. Many of the individuals 

interred here in the Old Swedes' Churchyard descend from the 

original colonists of New Sweden. 





tig. 16. hxample of a non-artisanal marker with a pointed top, 
GA, 1773, Ridgewood, New Jersey. 

Brandon Richards 


on the earliest of these markers, which date to the 1710s at Hackensack, the 
1720s at Old Swedes, and the 1730s at Old Paramus, include the initials of the 
deceased and a year of death. Stone (1991) also mentions that similar markers 
were popular among the Dutch on Long Island, where they were 50% more 
likely to erect non-artisanal gravestones than the non-Quaker English.-^ 

Most of the early rough-hewn markers examined had small "+" or other 
niarks separating the initials. It was also not uncommon for some later stones 
to include these separators between words in text inscriptions, as shown in the 
exaniple from Neshanic (Fig. 17). Unlike Old World runestones and carved 
British colonial fieldstones, artwork was very rare on non-artisanal, colonial 
Dutch markers. Figure 18 from Hackensack, bearing symbols, is a rare example. 
The marker is believed to identify the gravesite of a Native American woman, 
and the symbol thought to have tribal sigiiificance.-- 


In summary, evidence suggests that New Netherland colonists and their 
descendants knew of and used gravemarkers prior to the arrival of the English 
in 1664. Gravestones were erected in the Netherlands from a comparatively 
early date and, for practical purposes, were likely utilized by colonists as well. 
However, factors such as development pressures, neglect, misidentification 
and the fact that many were made of wood have all contributed to their 
absence from the archaeological record. As a result, the final resting places of 
many of America's earliest colonists remain unknown. 


Fig. 17. Sketch by Robert Miller of 

Elisabeth De Mot, 

post-like gravemarker, 1763, 

Neshanic, New Jersey. 

Notice the "+" between her 

first and last name, as well as the 

day and year of death. 

Fig. 18. A trapezoidal marker 

featuring an arrow through 

the initials "IIB," 1713, Hackensack, 

New Jersey. Carved symbols were 

a rarity on non-artisanal stones in 

colonial Dutch settlements. 

38 New Netherland's Gravestone Legacy 

Extant gravestones from the late 17"' century do exist in the upper-Mid- 
Atlantic region; however, they are few in number. Those that reniain were 
professionally carved and erected in British colonial burial grounds. The 
oldest surviving crudely-cut Dutch markers identified during this study date 
to the first few decades of the 18* century. Although there is variation among 
the carved stone forms, the m.ore comnion types are distinguishable from 
their colonial British counterparts. These stones include the plank and post- 
like markers, as well as the trapezoidal and pointed markers. They are distinct 
from English-inspired gravestones of the New York/ New Jersey carving 
tradition, and it is highly likely that the markers represent examples of New 
Netherland gravestone forms. The possibility also exists that these forms were 
inspired by the runestones of Northern Europe and/ or were introduced via 
colonists of Scandinavian descent. In any event, identifying these fieldstones 
and crudely-cut stones as gravemarkers will aid in identifying early colonial 
burial grounds for further study, and, it is hoped, will stimulate preservation 
efforts based on their historic significance. 


^ Sherene Baugher and Fredrick A Winter, "Early American Gravestones," Arclmeology 
36:5 (September/ October 1983): 46-53; Richard F. Welch, "The New York and New 
Jersey Gravestone Carving Tradition," Markers IV (1987): 1-54; Gaynell Stone, "Material 
Evidence of Ideological and Ethnic Choice in Long Island Gravestones: 1670-1800," 
Material Culture 23:3 (1991): 1-29. 

■^ Brandon K. Richards, "Comparing and Interpreting the Early Dutch and English 
Gravemarkers of New York's Lower Hudson Region" (MA Thesis: University of 
Leicester, Leicester, 2005). 

^ Welch, "NY/NJ Carving Tradition," 1. 

4 Louis B. Wnght, The Cultural Life oftlie American Colonies: 1607-1 763, V ed. (New York: 
Harper & Row, 1962), 47-56. 

^ Peter D. Shaver, "A Guide to Researching and Preserving New York's Burial 
Grounds," The Preservationist: NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation 7:2 

^ Welch, "NY/NJ Carving Tradition," 33. 

^ Henry R. Stiles, Tlie Civil, Political, Professional and Ecclesiastical Histon/ and Commercial 
and Industrial Record of the County of Kings and the City of Brooklyn, NY from 1683 to 1884, 
vol. 1 (New York: W.W. Munsefl & Company, 1884)', 15. 

^ Lila J. Roney, Gravestone Inscriptions of Ulster County, NY, vol. 1 (Copied and Compiled 
by the Author, 1924), 1. 

Brandon Richards 39 

^ Martha B. Flint, Enrh/ Long Islnuii: A Colonial Study (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 
1896), 95. 

^" Janice K. Sarapin, Old Burial Grounds of New Jersey: A Guide (New Brunswick, NJ: 
Rutgers University Press, 2002), 14-15. 

^^ Hartgen Archaeological Associates, Dutch Reformed Church Burial Ground, cl656-1882 
(Report prepared by Hartgen Archaeological Associates, Inc., 1986), 5. 

^- "Runestones," Wikipedia, . 

^^ "The New Netherland Dutch," The Colonial Albany Social History Project, . 

^^ Annals of New Netherland: Tlie Essays ofAJF van Laer, ed. Charles T. Gehring (Albany, 
NY: New Netherland Project, 1999), 15. 

^^ Robert Alexander, "Religion in Rensselaerswijck," Selected Rensselaerswijck Seminar 
Papers (Albany, NY: The New Netherland Institute, 1986), 311. 

^^ A.J.F. Van Laer, Tlie Lutheran Church in Nezv York, 1649-1772 (New York, NY: The 
New York Public Library, 1946), 39. 

^^ Theodore C. Blegen, Norwegian Migration to America, 1825-1860 (Northfield, MN: The 
Norwegian-American Historical Association, 1931), 332. 

^^ A.J. Weise. Histoni of the Seventeen Towns of Rensselaer County from the Colonization of 
the Manor of Rensselaerwyck to the Present Time (Troy, NY: J.M. Francis & Tucker, 1880), 

^^ Leon Bok, personal communication, August 13, 2005. 

-° Jonathan Pearson, Contributions for the Genealogies of the First Settlers of the Ancient 
County of Albany, from 1630 to 1800 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 

^^ A.I. Ludwig, Graven Images: New England Stone Cawing and its Symbols, 1650-1815 
(Middleton, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1966), 461-463; Richards, "Comparing and 
Interpreting," 32. 

~ Richard F. Veit, "John Solomon Teetzel and the Anglo-German Gravestone Carving 
Tradition of 18"^ Century Northwestern New Jersey," Markers XVII (1997): 124-161. 

^ Richard Middleton; Colonial America: A Histoty, 1565-1776, 3"-^ edition (Oxford: 
Blackwell Publishers Ltd., 2002), 122, 145, 151. 

-^ Stone, "Material Evidence," 18. 

-^ Sarapin, Old Burial Grounds, 73. 


Myths and Realities of Laurel Hill's "Mother and Twins" Monument 


world": Myths and Realities of Laurel Hill's 
"Mother and Twins" Monument 

Janet McShane Galley 

On an isolated rocky outcropping overlooking the Schuylkill River, 
at the far southern end of Philadelphia's Laurel Hill Cemetery (1836), the 
second "rural" cemetery in the United States, sits a beautiful and poignant 
gravemarker (Fig. 1).' Facing away from the center of the crowded cemetery, 
the monument is separated from the other gravemarkers by at least twenty 
feet in each direction and is slightly downhill from the closest graves. Visitors 
who draw close discover a four-foot statute sitting atop a three-foot-high 
brownstone base. Locally known as "The Mother and Twins" or more simply 
as "The Twins," it has captured the imaginations of visitors to Laurel Hill 
since its installation in 1859.- With the passage of time, the beauty of the statue 
and its location in the cemetery have sparked numerous stories that attempt 
to explain the monument's existence and meaning. Yet, the truth is more 
complex, and just as fascinating, as any of the myths. 

The marble sculpture on its brownstone pedestal is an exceptional 
monument to idealized motherhood. The life-size sculpture depicts a barefoot 
woman in flowing robes seated on a tree stump. Her hands clasp her right 
knee, her left leg rests on the toes and ball of her foot, and her right foot is 
tucked behind her left ankle. Cradled between her outstretched arms, two 
sleeping infcmts rest their backs against her chest, their small bodies leaning 
against each other. Tilted slightly forward, the woman's face is calm, her half- 
closed eyes appearing to gaze lovingly on the two infants. To the left of her 
feet rests a stringless lyre, a wilted flower lying across its frame (Fig. 2). Carved 
into the right side of the tree stump are the profile of a man and the image of 
a hammer and chisel (Fig. 3). 

Unlike most gravemarkers, which evoke a sense of motionless permanence, 
the sculpture of the woman and children has a distinct sense of tension, 
movement, and life. The woman's posture, the positions of her legs and feet, 
and the draping of her classically-styled clothing portray the sense of a back 
and forth rocking motion as she gazes down on the children (Fig. 4). In their 
much eroded condition today, the infants may look restless, especially as 
their small open-mouthed faces appear contorted and distressed. However, 
the earliest photograph (Fig. 1) shows fairly conclusively that the infants are 
depicted as being sound asleep, cradled by the mother's protective arms. Their 
mouths are open, their eyes are closed, and their heads are leaning backwards 
on the woman's breast and arms. The fact that the figures are elevated by 
the pedestal so that viewers look upwards into the woman's face gives the 
sculpture added dignity and poignancy. 


Myths and Realities of Laurel HilTs "Mother and Twins" Monument 

Fig. 2. Right side of monument showing stringless lyre and wilted bundle 

of flowers. Photograph courtesy of Gwendolyn Kaminski, 

Manager of Outreach, Laurel Hill Cemetery. 

Fig. 3. Left side of monument showing medallion bas-relief portrait of 

sculptor and his tools. Photograph courtesy of 

Gwendolyn Kaminski, Manager of Outreach, Laurel Hill Cemetery. 

Janet McShane Galley 43 

Below the statue, carved into the four sides of the three-foot high 
brownstone base, are a series of engraved inscriptions. The inscription on the 
front of the brownstone base remains clearly visible: 









On the right side below the lyre and wilted flower, these words appear: 








On the back of the base, the side first seen by visitors to the site, is a date: NOV. 
29, 1858 (Fig. 4). The words engraved on the left side of the base are in Polish 
(Fig. 5). Translated into English, the poigiiant inscription reads: 





Above this inscription, carved onto the left side of the sculpture just below 
where the woman is seated, is a medallion with a bas-relief portrait bust of a 
bearded man. 

The isolation of the gravesite, the beauty of the statue, and the emotional 
words on the memorial's base have long sparked the interest and imagin- 
ation of Laurel Hill visitors. Who was Helena? Is the statue a likeness of her? 
How did she and the infants die? Whose face is carved into the left side of 
the tree stump on which Helena sits, and why is the statue set apart from the 
other graves? 

In the first few years after the monument was erected, it is quite possible 
that many visitors to the site knew the answers to these questions, but as 


Myths and Realities of Laurel Hill's "Mother and Twins" Monument 

Fig. 4. Back of monument with "Nov. 29, 1858 " engraved on the base. 

Janet McShane Galley 


Fig. 5. Left side of monument base with inscription in Polish. 

Photograph courtesy of Gwendolyn Kaminski, 

Manager of Outreach, Laurel Hill Cemetery. 

years passed, romanticized stories began to emerge to fill the void left by 
lost memories. Some of these myths continue to be told today, while others 
have almost faded from public memory. Tliree main stories have emerged 
to explain the deaths of Helena and the children. All three are still being told 
today. According to one of the myths about the deaths, the infants drowned in 
a boating accident on the Schuylkill River despite Helena's best efforts to save 
them, and Helena died sometime soon after. The implication of this story is 
that Helena died from the grief of not being able to save her children. A second 
version of the story about the deaths is that the infants were stillborn twins 
and soon after their births Helena drowned in the river. Again, the underlying 
and unspoken assumption of the story is that she may have taken her own life 
in her grief. According to the third story in circulation, Henry Dmochowski 
Saunders, Helena's husband, witnessed the drowning deaths of his wife and 
two children and, in his grief, carved the monument as a memorial to his lost 
family. In all three myths, the statue is supposed to have been placed on the 

46 Myths and Realities of Laurel Hill's "Mother and Twins" Monument 

hillside so that it looked out over the spot in the Schuylkill River where the 
drownirig or drownings occurred. In some variations of these three stories, the 
iiifants are referred to as twin daughters, but others make 110 mention of the 
sexes of the children. 

One additional story purports to explain the sculptor's identity and 
motives. Told as late as the 1940s, it has almost faded from public memory. 
It declares that the sculptor was Saunders and that when the moiiument was 
firially put into place over the gravesite, he threw his sculpting tools into the 
Schuylkill River, declaring that he hoped they would float back to Poland. All 
the stories about the monument share a common ending: Saunders returned 
to Poland to fight for his homeland and was killed in battle soori after landing 
on his native soil.' Questions about the accuracy of these orally-transmitted 
stories have persisted uritil today. What parts are truth arid what parts are 

A variety of sources, including biographical articles, coiTfirm that Helena's 
husband, Henry Dmochowski Saunders, was ii"i fact the sculptor who created 
the moiiument and the man depicted in the medalliori portrait on the right 
side of the sculpture. Born in Wilno, Poland, in 1810, Saunders grew up to be 
a passionate believer in the cause of Polish freedom from Russian rule. For 
his participation in the 1830-1834 Polish Insurrectiori, he served niore than 
six years in jail. In 1839, he moved to Paris to study sculpture at the Ecole 
des Beaux Arts under the tutelage of David d' Angers arid Frangois Rude. 
Returning to Poland in 1848 to resume his fight against Russiari occupation, 
he was eventually forced to flee to America in 1851 to avoid being arrested 
again. A year later, he moved from New York to Philadelphia, where he began 
working as a professional sculptor. Betweeri 1853 and 1857, the Pennsylvania 
Academy of the Fine Arts displayed sixty-seven of Saunders' busts, medallions, 
and bas-reliefs. Many of these were also exhibited in Washirigton, D.C., by 
the Washington Art Association. A number of Saunders' pieces remain on 
display in Washington today, including his busts of Elisha Kent Kane, George 
Dallas Miffliii (displayed in the Senate rotundo), and Thaddeus Kosciuszko 
and Casimir Pulaski, two Polish patriots who fought in the Anierican War of 
Independence. Although Sauriders achieved a degree of success, his work as a 
sculptor never brought him financial security, and money worries continually 
plagued him during his time in America.'' 

In 1852, Saunders met and married Helena Schaaff, a young German 
woman who lived in the same boardinghouse. An accomplished pianist and 
music teacher, Helena helped support the couple after their marriage. In 
February 1855, Helena gave birth to a stillborn child whose body was buried 
ill Laurel Hill Cemetery. After the birth, she had to restrict her teaching and 
performance schedule because the difficult delivery took a toll on her health. 
In July 1857, after an even more difficult delivery, Helena gave birth to another 
stillborn child. Half an hour later, she died from complications. Helena and the 

Janet McShane Galley 47 

baby were buried together in a single grave on a rocky outcrop in Laurel Hill 
Cemetery along with the exhumed remains of the first stillborn child. Soon 
afterwards, Saunders began work on his monument. Completed in November 
1858, the monument was placed on the grave in 1859. hi June 1861, four 
years after Helena's death, Saunders returned to Poland, where he continued 
to work as a sculptor and where he resumed his fight against the Russian 
occupation of his homeland. He died in battle fighting the Russian army on 
May 14, 1863." 

These facts reveal that the story about Saunders — that he threw his 
sculptor's tools into the river in a fit of grief — is romantic, dramatic, and 
highly implausible. That Saunders might have done so is unlikely, or, in any 
case, not supported by any factual information. It makes little sense that an 
artist whose financial situation was tenuous would toss away the very tools 
that allowed him to earn his living and express his creativity. The fact that 
Saunders continued to earn his livelihood as a sculptor until the time of his 
death further undermines the story of the sacrificed tools. Additionally, of all 
the stories that have emerged, this myth is the least relevant to the monument 
itself. It does nothing to answer the questions about the true story behind the 

Other myths about Laurel Hill's "Mother and Twins" sculpture mix fantasy 
and truth. Most versions of the story refer to the infants as twins, and indeed 
the sculpture appears to depict twins of about six months to one year of age. 
Some versions even specifically identify the infants as girls. Again, known 
facts debunk these elements of the stories. Cemetery records and copies of 
letters that Saunders wrote to his friends confirm that the two infants were 
born at least sixteen months apart. Whether the infants were female remains 
unknown. No official documents appear to have survived that indicate the sex 
of the stillborn infants, and in the absence of such information, myths again 
have filled the void.^ Yet, the belief that the sculpture depicts Helena's face and 
body appears to be correct. An article in a popular Philadelphia newspaper 
describing the statue at the time of its completion in November, 1858, noted 
that "the chief figure is intended as a portrait, and the likeness is said, by those 
who knew the subject, to be excellent."'' 

While the myths about the "Mother and Twins" monument purport to 
answer questions of location, identity, and the reasons for the deaths, none 
focus on its design. The unspoken assumption is that Saunders' personal grief 
was the catalyst behind the memorial; no one has questioned where his ideas 
originated and why he depicted the images as he did. A sculpture in France 
provides an important clue. Sculptor and painter Auguste-Hyacinthe Debay's 
sculpture, "Le Berceau primitif: Eve et ses deux enfants," or in English, "The 
First Cradle: Eve and Her Two Children" (Fig. 6), was completed in 1845 and 
was on display at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris for the next two years. '° It 
was one of the most popular sculptures of its time. Saunders must have not 


Myths and Realities of Laurel Hill's "Mother and Twins" Monument 


Fig. 6. W. Rolfe engraving (1856) of Auguste-Hyacinthe Debay's "The First 

Cradle: Eve and Her Two Children" (1845), which undoubtedly 

influenced Saunders. Private collection. 

Janet McShane Galley 49 

only seen Debay's work when he and Debay studied together at the school 
during the 1840s, but he probably saw examples of its many reproductions in 
bronze, plaster, and terra cotta." The siniilarities in form and posture between 
the two statues are too great to be a matter of coincidence. Saunders depicts 
his wife cradling two infants in the same position that Debay used for Eve 
holding her two children. Both mothers sit with their arms clasped around 
their right knees, their right feet anchored behind their left ankles. Both 
women's faces are down-turned as they watch over their sleeping infants. 
The children are nestled in their niother's arms and lean against each other 
for support.'- More generally, both sculptures belong to the popular tradition 
of "ideal" sculpture that depicted abstract ideas and ideals (motherhood, 
sorrow, joy, justice, thought — as in Rodin's "The Thinker") or important 
historical or literary figures (Eve, George Washington, etc.) Debay's work 
was in the tradition of imaginative "history" painting and sculpture as well 
as of Romantic emotionalism and the celebration of life force.'^ Mrs. Jameson, 
a thoughtful observer of the time, noted that "the form of Eve has all the 
amplitude and vigor which ought to characterize the first parent" and cites 
Michangelo's similar treatment of Eve.'^ However, Saunders' work, while also 
depicting an idealized figure, has a personal emotional content that Debay's 
lacks because it was intended as a memorial to his wife. 

While the basic form of the two statues is remarkably similar, other aspects 
of Saunders' statue depart significantly from Debay's work. Debay's Eve is 
nude in the Romantic style that was popular in Paris during the 1840s. Her 
physique is a celebration of strength and health. Saunders garbed the image 
of his deceased wife in flowing garments. As she apparently was in life, the 
woman in Saunders' memorial is more finely-featured and more frail looking 
than Debay's Eve.'^ Saunders' decision to clothe the image of his wife as he did 
was likely based on a number of factors. As a portrayal of a beloved spouse, 
his choice reflected mid-nineteenth-century American attitudes about female 
modesty and its connection to the ideals of purity, worthy womanhood, and 
motherhood. His choice also fit the ideals of restrained neo-classicism popular 
among the American public, and it mirrored contemporary taste in funerary 
art, especially as it related to portrayals of women. Saunders knew that if he 
had depictedi his wife with bared legs, let alone in the nude, for display in a 
public setting in America, his work would have been considered outrageous, 
if not obscene. In regards to nudity in art, American taste was far behind that 
of Europe.'^ 

Saunders also departed from Debay's sculpture in other ways. Debay's 
Eve rests on a pile of rocks, but Saunders' wife sits on a tree stump. In the 
mid-nineteenth century, images of trees in funerary art were recognized 
as symbols of life, family, and regeneration. A tree stump was understood 
by nineteenth-century cemetery visitors as a sign of the death of a mature 
person or of a family.'-' There are also differences in how the children in the 
two statues are depicted. The sizes of the children in Debay's work reflect 

50 Myths and Realities of Laurel Hill's "Mother and Twins" Monument 

the age difference between Cain and Abel. The infants in Saunders' sculpture 
are both younger than the children in Debay's sculpture, but clearly they are 
not newborns. Saunders' depiction of two maturing infants suggests that he 
did not necessarily intend to memorialize his two stillborn children but was 
intent on memorializing his wife in a pose of ideal motherhood. His letters to 
a friend after each of the births support the idea that Saunders was coi^cerned 
almost exclusively with honoring his wife's memory. In his letters, Saunders 
made no mention of the first stillborn child other than to say that it was overly 
large when it was delivered. After the second stillbirth resulted iri the death 
of his wife, Saunders wrote, "I curse the hour in which the damiied baby was 

Sauriders also departed front Debay's design by incorporating a wilted 
flower and a lyre with the broken string into his statue. Both of these images 
were recognized symbols of death during the nineteenth century; the wilted 
flower often signified the death of a child, while the lyre with the broken string 
usually marked the death of an artist. By including these images in his design, 
Saunders signaled not only that a child's death had occurred but also that the 
world had lost a talented musician. 

Finally, Saunders further diverged from Debay's design by incorporating 
his own image in the form of a bas-relief medallion into the sculpture 
(Fig. 6). There are a number of reasons why he may have done this. One 
possible explanation is that by carving his profile into the statue, Saunders was 
demoristrating his everlasting comiection to his wife and childreri. Mourning 
customs and rituals of the mid-niiieteerith century urged mourners to find 
tangible ways to connect themselves with their deceased loved ones. Mourners 
wore special clothing that amiounced their loss, and many also wore mourning 
jewelry. Mourning rings with the nanies of the deceased engraved inside or 
brooches and lockets that contained some of the hair of the departed loved 
ones were very popular in the mid- to late-nineteenth century.'^ By carving a 
medallion with his own bust in profile onto the sculpture, Saunders found a 
permanent way of linking himself with his deceased family. 

A less romantic and more practical reasori that Saunders incorporated 
his own image into the sculpture may be that it was his way of signing and 
advertisii"ig his work. By carving his profile into the statue along with the 
image of a hammer and chisel, he proclaimed himself as the artist behind the 
sculpture. The work was his creation. As a professional sculptor who seemed 
to have always struggled finaricially, this was his way to demonstrate his 
varied talents to the general public. As was true of other American sculptors 
of the time, Saunders made his living selling his bas-relief medallions, busts, 
and other "ideal" sculptures, the three main types of sculptural work that 
American sculptors depended on for income.'^ He may have hoped that future 
commissions would result from his memorial sculpture to his wife and his 
bas-relief of himself. 

Janet McShane Galley 5 1 

A central difference between Debay's statue and Saunders' memorial, 
other than the fact that one was inspired by a Biblical story and the other 
by the intimate personal experience of love and loss, is that Debay patterned 
his sculpture so that it remained true to the events of the story behind it. 
According to the Bible, Cain was the older of Eve's two sons. The figures of the 
infant Cain and Abel in Debay's statue clearly reflect their difference in age. 
Saunders, however, drawing on his Romantic leanings, depicted an event that 
never was and sculpted the image of his wife and chikiren in a scenario that 
never happened. Helena never had the opportunity to cradle her two children 
or to rock them to sleep in her arms. She never heard their cries nor calmed 
their tears. Saunders' memorial of his wife is all the more touching because it 
depicts his wife for an eternity in a pose that he and she only dreamed of. 

Saunders' sculpture of his idealized wife exemplifies Romanticisni and 
contemporary mourning customs. Memorial paintings and statuary became 
very popular during the mid-nineteenth century and often depicted the 
deceased in lifelike situations. While most memorial artwork was created 
by hireti artisans rather than by family members of the deceased, Saunders' 
tribute to his wife would have been well within the bounds of socially 
accepted practice. Popular literature of the time encouraged people to act out 
their grief in appropriate ways. For a man of Saunders' talents, these words 
from a contemporary advice manual on mourning seem especially fitting: 
"The smitten heart will bleed; the workings of nature must have vent. It is 
right. Tears were not made that they should never be shed: nor the passion of 
grief implanted only to be stifled."''^ In drawing on his artistic talents and his 
imagination to create the statue, Saunders found a socially approved outlet 
for his grief. And by sculpting an idealized portrait of his wife cradling two 
living infants in her lap, he transformed his personal tragedy into a moving 
and poignant work of art. 

Why Saunders choose such a remote plot as the final resting place for 
his family, and why he oriented the memorial the way he did, remain open 
to question. Perhaps Saunders chose the site overlooking the Schuylkill for 
his wife and children's final resting place because of its privacy (it is not 
easily visible from the road) and its beautiful setting. Perhaps, also, he chose 
it because it had pleasant memories for him. The cemetery was one of the 
most visited public spaces in Philadelphia between the 1840s and the Civil 
War. In one six-month period in 1848, more than 30,000 visitors wandered its 
paths and roadways, and more than 140,000 people paid the twenty-five cent 
admission price for the privilege of strolling the grounds in I860.-" Based on the 
popularity of Laurel Hill as a tourist attraction in the 1850s, it is highly likely 
that Saunders and his wife had been to the cemetery before the births of their 
children. If they had not gone to the cemetery as a cultural excursion before 
the stillbirth of their first child, they almost certainly visited the cemetery after 
their first stillborn child was buried there. Perhaps Saunders and his wife had 
wandered along the isolated outcrop in happier times and had stopped to 

52 Myths and Realities of Laurel Hill's "Mother and Twins" Monument 

admire the scenic view of the Schulykill River. 

Corisidering that it has been exposed to the elements for more than 140 
years, the "Mother and Twins" sculpture is in remarkably good coi^dition 
today. Its isolated location, and perhaps its subject matter, have kept it safe 
from vandals.-' The faces of the two infants are badly eroded because they are 
upturned ai"id thus have been fully exposed to the elements. Some of Helena's 
toes and fingers have worn away or have broken off. Her nose had been 
almost worn away but has been restored as part of the preservation work that 
was completed iii 2004. The statue's preservation project was jointly funded 
by Preservation Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia Chapter of the Kosciuszko 
Foundation.-- The Kosciuszko Foundation also established a trust fund to pay 
for the on-going care of the moriument. Despite some deterioration, the statue 
today still evokes strong emotions. The beauty and poignancy of Saunders' 
work guarantee that the idealized sculpture of his wife Helena with two 
childreri will continue to move and fascinate visitors to Laurel Hill for years 
to come. 


I offer my sincere thaiiks to the four anonymous readers who thoughtfully critiqued 
an earlier version of this work. Thanks, too, to Gary Collison for his on-going 
interest in this project. Tereska Wojcik of the Philadelphia Chapter of the Kosciuszko 
Foundation and Matthew Szczepanowski of the Conservation Studio for Art were 
very generous with their time in explaining how the recent preservation work 
on the monument came to be completed. The staff at Laurel Hill Cemetery, and 
most especially Gwendolyn Kaminski, Manager of Education and Outreach, 
deserve a special note of thanks for their assistance and for allowing me easy access to 
the cemetery's records. A final thanks to Professor Charlene Myers; it was as a student 
in one of her classes at Temple University that I first encountered this wonderful 
monument, and it was from this exposure that I came to appreciate the beauty of 

^ Laurel Hill Cemetery opened in 1836 and was the culmination of the dream of its 
founder, John Jay Smith. Created by Scottish landscape architect John Notman, Laurel 
Hill was the second "rural" cemetery in America and reflected the growing trend 
in cemetery design that blended the beauty of nature in park-like settings with the 
reality of human mortality. Notman' s plans were strongly influenced by Pere Lachaise 
cemetery, Paris, and Mount Auburn Cenretery, Cambridge. Colleen McDannell, "The 
Religious Symbolism of Laurel Hill Cemetery," in Materinl Oiristianiiy: Religion and 
Popular Culture in America (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995), 103; and Michael 
Brooks, A Walking Tour at Laurel Hill Cemetery (Philadelphia: Laurel Hill Cemetery, n. 

^ Joseph Direso, general manager of Laurel Hill Cemetery, and other staff members 
used these terms to refer to the marker during my visits to the site between January 
and June 2001 and in August 2006. The terms also appear on the internet. See Ron 
Avery, "Mother and Twins Monument, Laurel Hill Cemetery," Philadelphia Oddities, The monument has also been 
referred to less frequently as "The Mother with Infants" monument. For examples 
using this name, see "Another Successful Year for the Philadelphia Intervention Fuird," 

Janet McShane Galley 53 

Preseroing Peunsylvmua 17.1 (Winter 2004): 2; and Teresa G. Wojcik, "Dmochowski 
Monument Preservation Complete," Pliilndelphia Chapter of the Kosduszko Foundation 
Newsletter (May-July 2004): 2. In one instance, the monument is referred to as "The 
Crying Mother." See "The Crying Mother," DIGESTezine: Pliiladelphia, America's Most 
Haunted City, 

^ Some sources mistakenly give the name on the monument as Mary rather than 
Helena. See Avery, "The Mother and Twins Monument"; and Walendowski, "A Story 
Found on Laurel Hill," 97. 

"* The translation used here is from copies of a letter on file at Laurel Hill Cemetery. 
\x\ her footnotes. Sister M. Liguori includes a different translation of the inscription: 
"Friend, who hast lost everything that is dearest on Earth — Country, Parents, Friends, 
Wife, Children — sacrifice a tear of sympathy to my Helen." In his footnotes, Tadeusz 
Walendowski uses the terni "Homeland" instead of "Country." See Letter to Mr. 
Proud, December 29, 1976, from Erma Perry. Laurel Hill Cemetery, Burial Plot Records, 
File for Section 7 Number 375; Sister M. Liguori, "Henry Dmochowski Saunders: 
Soldier-Sculptor," PolisJi American Studies 6. 2 (January-June 1949): 24; and Tadeusz 
Walendowski, "A Story Found on Laurel Hill," Polish American Studies, 63. 2 (Autumn 
2001): 104. 

- The first version was told to me by Joseph Direso in March 2001 during a visit to 
the cemetery. This version also appears on Ron Avery's web page. The second was 
told to me by Dr. Joseph Edgette, a folklorist and past board member of the cemetery, 
at the Amiual Meeting of the Popular Culture Association that was held in Toronto 
in March 2002. The third story is reported by Tadeusz Walendowski in his article, 
but he makes no mention of the gender of the children. The fourth story was told to 
Sister M. Liguori in 1948. The myths even appear on a United States Senate webpage, 
in the Art and History section, which recounts the story of Helena dying following 
the drowning deaths of the couple's two daughters. Additionally, two letters from 
Laurel Hill Cemetery staff to people who had visited the monument refer to the 
"twin daughters," but no official documents detail the sex of the children. See Avery, 
"Mother and Twins Monument."; Walendowski, "A Story Found on Laurel Hill," 97; 
Liguori, "Henry Dmochowski Saunders: Soldier-Sculptor," 23; United States Senate: 
Art & History, "Tadeusz Kosciuszko," 
artifact/Sculpture_21_00012.htm; Letter to Ms. Danuta A. Boczar from Louis M. Proud, 
Superintendent, dated July 1, 1975; and unsigned copy of the letter to Ms. Laurie B. 
Piatt, February 25, 1981, Laurel Hill Cemetery, "Lot # 375 Section 7." 

"^ Liguori, "Henry Dmochowski Saunders: Soldier-Sculptor," 18-25; Walendowski, 
"A Story Found on Laurel Hill," 98-105; Postacie historyczne, Historia sztuki, Polska, 
"Dmochowski Henryk,", translated by 
Katarzyna Kirylczuk; and United States Senate: Art & History, "Tadeusz Kosciuszko." 

^ Liguori, "Henry Dmochowski Saunders: Soldier-Sculptor," 18-25; Walendowski, 
"A Story Found on Laurel Hill," 98-105; Postacie historyczne, Historia sztuki, Polska, 
"Dmochowski Henryk," http://wien"i. html, translated by 
Katarzyna Kirylczuk; and United States Senate: Art & History, "Tadeusz Kosciuszko." 

^ Neither birth was recorded in any official registers, but this was not uncommon 
for stillbirths during this period. In the newspaper notices of Helena's death, no 
mention was made of the stillbirth of the second infant. Saunders' letters to Henryk 
Kalussowski, February 22, 1855, and July 11, 1857, provide details about the dates of 

54 Myths and Realities of Laurel Hill's "Mother and Twins" Monument 

birth. Handwriting in the corner of the Laurel Hill burial permit for Helena and the 
second infant reads: "Latter [body] from a single grave — Buried Mar. 6, 1855. See no. 
677." See [Pliiladelpliia] Public Ledger, July 10, 1857, and PJuladelpJiia Evening Bulletin, 
July 9, 1857; Walendowski, "A Story Found on Laurel Hill," 100-101; and "Permit for 
Interment at South Laurel Hill," July 27, 1857, Laurel Hill Cemetery, "Lot # 375. 

'^Fitzgerald's City Item, November 13, 1858, as cited in Walendowski, "A Story Found 
on Laurel Hill," 103. It should be noted that the date of the newspaper item as it appears 
in Walendowski's footnote and text is incorrect; it should read, "November 13, 1858." 

^° Maurice Rheims, 19"' Century Sculp^ture, trans. Robert E. Wolf (New York: Harry 
N. Abrams, Inc. 1972), 46; Dahesh MuseunT of Art, " Auguste-Hyacinthe Debay, 
Maquette for The First Cradle: Eve and Her Two Cluldren (he Berceau priinitif: Eve et 
ses deux enfants),"; and Joy A. Kasson, 
Marble Queens and Captives: Wonioi in Nifieteejitli-Centuty American Sculpture (New 
Haven: Yale University Press, 1990), 190. Debay's statue, with its tliree scenes from 
the later lives of Cain and Abel on its pedestal, was also displayed in Philadelphia in 
1876 at the Centennial Exhibition. 

■'^ See 

^-In European art and sculpture from at least the sixteenth century, the image 
of a woman with infants in her arms, at her breast, or by her side symbolized the 
Christian virtue of Charity. These representations highlighted the amor proxini (love of 
other people in the material world) aspect of the dual ineaning of Charity, rather than 
that of a}nor Dei, or the love of God. As a result of their formal training at the Ecole 
des Beaux Arts in Paris, both Debay and Saunders would have been very familiar 
with the symbolism inherent in their sculptures. Nineteenth-century Americans who 
saw either of these sculptures were also likely to have recognized the symbolisni. 
Joy A. Kasson argues that Americans actively engaged in interpreting artistic works 
during this period and that they fully understood the symbolisni that artists of 
all types incorporated into their works. See Debra Dienstfrey Pincus, "A Hand by 
Antonio Risso and The Double Caritas Schenie of the Tron Tomb," Art Bulletin 51.3 
(Sept. 1969): 252-55; and Kasson, Marble Queens, 21-45. 

^''For a detailed discussion of "ideal" sculpture of women during the nineteenth 
century in America, see Kasson, Marble Queens, 21-45. 

^'^ Quotation taken from the original description accompanying the 1856 engraving 
shown in Fig. 6 (see ebay entry for item, 

'^ Chester County Historical Society, "Remember Me: Mourning in the Nineteenth 
Century," Exhibit (West Chester, Pennsylvania, April —November 2001); and Ciregna, 
"Museum in the Garden," 110. 

^^Walendowski, "A Story Found on Laurel Hill," 101. 

'^Martha V. Pike and Janice Gray Armstrong, A Time to Mourn: Expressions of Grief 
in NineteentJi Century America (Stony Brook, NY: The Museums at Stony Brook, 1980), 
132-36, 155. 

^^ Julia Rowland Myers, "Robert Wylie: Philadelphia Sculptor, 1856-1863," Archives of 
American Art journal 40. 1-2 (2000): 11-12; Ciregna, "Museum in the Garden," 107-10; 

Janet McShane Galley 55 

and Kasson, Marble Queens, 21. 

''^ Karen Halttunen, "Mourning the Dead: A Study in Sentimental Ritual," in Confidence 
Men and Painted Women: A Studi/ of Middle-Class Culture in America, 1830-1870 (New 
Haven: Yale University Press, 1982), 127-28. 

-" Blanche Linden-Ward, "Strange but Genteel Pleasure Grounds: Tourists and 
Leisure Uses of Nineteenth-Century Rural Cemeteries," in Cemeteries and Gravemarkers: 
Voices of American Culture, ed. Richard E. Meyer (Ami Arbor: UMI Research Press, 
1989), 309; and Rosa and Stewart B. Harkness Jr., A Driving Tour of Laurel Hill Cemetery 
(Philadelphia: Laurel Hill Cemetery, n. d.), 1. 

-^ Although guide books for both the walking and driving tours of the cemetery do not 
include stops at the memorial, staff members have told me they frequently tell visitors 
to the cemetery office about the statue, and a framed copy of an early photograph of 
the statue hangs just inside the office door. See Michael Brooks, A Walking Tour of Laurel 
Hill Cemeterxj (Philadelphia: Friends of Laurel Hill Cemetery, undated); and Harkness, 
A Driving Tour of Laurel Hill Cemetery. 

-- "Another Successful Year," Preserving Pennsylvania; Wojcik, "Dmochowski 
Monument Preservation Complete," 2; and telephone interview with Teresa Wojcik, 
August, 2006. In 2004, Matthew Szczepanowski of the Conservation Studio for Art in 
Philadelphia completed the four-part preservation process: 1) cleaning the marble with 
distilled water and non-abrasive cleaners; 2) eliminating all micro-vegetation growing 
on the surface and in the crevices (crucial because tiny plants release acids that speed up 
corrosion); 3) applying multiple layers of a poultice to draw out destructive salts; and 4) 
applying a thin layer of dispersed lime into the crevices of the statue to help minimize 
further damage from micro-vegetation and the elements. According to Szczepanpwski, 
the entire process should be repeated every two or three years to maintain the 
statue in its current condition. Telephone interview with Matthew Szczepanowski, 
August 2006. 


Embodying Immortality: Angels in America's Rural Cemeteries, 1850-1900 

Hattie A. Burr gravemarker (detail), c.1860, 
Allegheny Cemetery, Pittsburgh, PA. 

Elisabeth L. Roark 57 

Embodying Immortality: Angels In 
America's Rural Garden Cemeteries, 1850-1900 

Elisabeth L. Roark 

Angels have always played an active role in Christian perceptions of 
death. As images, they first appeared carved on early Christian sarcophagi 
in ancient Rome. Based on the winged Greco-Roman Nike or Victory, their 
form thus embodied Christianity's promised triuniph over death. Medieval 
and Renaissance tombs often featured angels that attended images of 
the deceased. Baroque angels functioned similarly but grew in size and 
extravagance. However, in colonial America, winged skulls and faces were 
the dominant motifs on early New England gravestones, but images of angels 
with bodies were rare. Thus little prepares us for the explosion of full-bodied, 
three-dimensional angel monuments that accompanied America's "rural" (or 
garden) cemeteries, the park-like burial grounds established on the outskirts of 
nearly every Eastern and Mid- Western city beginning in the 1830s (Fig. 1). The 
earliest monuments erected in the new landscaped cemeteries tended toward 
the neoclassical — geometric stones, shafts, columns, and sarcophagi. After 
1850, however, sculpted figures increasingly populated the rural cemeteries, 
indicating a growing emphasis on consolation rather than commemoration, 
on the future and heaven rather than the past and history. These sculptures 
include mourning figures called weepers or pleurants, usually in classical 
dress; female allegories of Faith, Hope, and Charity; and, less often, effigies 
of the deceased. Among the most common sculptures were bas-reliefs and 
sculptures of angels. 

It is easy to dismiss cemetery angels as simply another example of the 
Romantic attempt to beautify death. While this was part of their appeal, 
angel monuments are far more complex in meaning and can act to reveal 
manifestations of popular Christian belief. What can this phenomenon teach 
us about nineteenth-century perceptions of death and the afterlife? In light 
of the traditional ambivalence of many Protestants toward visual art and the 
rampant anti-Catholicism of nineteenth-century Protestant Anierica, why 
would Protestants, the founders and chief patrons of the rural cemeteries, 
embrace angel imagery, a subject with pronounced Catholic associations? 
How can we understand the implications of angels for nineteenth-century 
cemetery visitors? 

Studying angel sculptures erected before 1900 in Laurel Hill Cemetery in 
Philadelphia (1836), Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn (1838), and twelve 
other representative landscaped cemeteries in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, 
South, and Midwest reveals that the majority of angels fall into eight categories 
defined by the tasks they perform.' Some point, others pray or bear souls to 
heaven. Seven of the types parallel biblical references to angels that were 


Embodying Immortality: Angels in America's Rural Cemeteries, 1850-1900 

Fig. 1. Multiple angel sculptures stand above graves in this view of 
Green Mount Cemetery in Baltimore. 

elaborated in nineteenth-century hymns, epitaphs, poetry, and consolation 
literature. One type, those that watch over the gravesite and decorate it with 
flowers, appears to be new to the nirieteenth century. The most comnion 
or "stock" angel sculptures — those that appear repeatedly in the rural 
cemeteries — best reveal widespread beliefs about angels. In some instances, 
exact duplicates are found in cemeteries as distant as Chicago and Boston or 
Pittsburgh and Atlanta, but more importantly, the angels play the same eight 
roles from one cemetery to the next. This is not to suggest that these eight 
types include all garden ceinetery angels. Other forms exist. For example, at 
Laurel Hill, an angel in relief covers a baby's cradle with a cloth; at Atlanta's 
Oakland Cemetery, an angel holds a torch upside-down to douse the flame of 
life; and at Green Mount Cemetery in Baltimore, an angel clings to a cross. But 
these types are comparatively rare in the fourteen cemeteries examined here. 
Each cemetery studied has multiple examples of most if not all of the eight 
more common angel types, suggesting a widespread interest in the messages 
they conveyed and the experiences they fostered. Stock angel sculptures ably 
demonstrate how graven"iarkers can non-verbally but vividly communicate 
the beliefs and thoughts of the community at large. 

Elisabeth L. Roark. 59 

Focusing on common angel types excludes those monuments commis- 
sioned from well-known artists that deliberately depart from stock types. 
Examples include Erastus Dow Palmer's dramatic seated angel at Albany Rural 
Cemetery, Tlie Angel nt the Sepuldier, 1862. Only a few seated angels appear 
in the cemeteries included in this analysis. Daniel Chester French's 1889-93 
Milmore Memorial in Forest Hills Cemetery, Boston, includes another atypical 
angel.- Titled Tlie Angel ofDeatli and tlie Sciilpytor, it depicts a large winged and 
hooded figure that reaches out to stay the hand of a sculptor. The monument 
commemorates sculptor Martin Milmore and his brothers. Few hooded angels 
appear in cemeteries before 1900; this type was undoubtedly too mysterious 
to attain widespread popularity. Although sculptor William Wetmore Story's 
acclaimed Angel of Death, created for his wife's grave in Rome's Protestant 
Cemetery in 1894, depicted an angel prostrate with grief bent over a classi- 
cal altar. Story's sculpture did not inspire copies in American cemeteries 
before 1900. Perhaps because its meaning is ambiguous, its emotion too extreme 
(traditionally angels are not shown displaying grief at death because heaven 
awaited the deceased), and the figure's bare shoulders too sensuous for pre-1900 
American tastes. Story's grieving angel remained an isolated type of angel 
until the early twentieth century. ' 

As the first American burial grounds planned with enough space to 
allow large memorials, landscaped rural cemeteries were ideal venues for 
the emergence of a new form of sepulchral sculpture in America. They also 
provided distinctive settings that expanded the meanings of the monuments 
erected there."* Designed in the English picturesque garden style with 
winding pathways, varied flora, and a range of topographical features, these 
consciously enhanced Romantic environments augmented the meanings 
that the angel markers conveyed. Although the Rural Cemetery Movement 
was fueled by practical difficulties such as the scarcity of urban burial space 
and the fear of over-crowded imier-city graveyards engendering desecration 
and disease, ideological reasons were equally motivating. Consistent with 
Romantic ideas developed in reaction to cool eighteenth-century rationalism, 
rural cemeteries embodied new concepts about the harmonious relationship 
between man and nature. They were promoted as places of exceptional 
natural beauty that could bring one closer to God and help cultivate correct 
emotions and taste. In keeping with the nineteenth-century emphasis on the 
family as the central institution of society, cemetery founders and designers 
prioritized large family lots, frequently relegatnig single burials often to 
cemetery margins. Encouraged by the idealization of nature in the works of 
Romantic writers and artists, and aided by cemetery guidebooks, residents 
and tourists flocked to rural cemeteries by the thousands to experience the 
first large cultivated urban green spaces — pre-dating the opening of similarly 
designed city park landscapes such as Central Park in New York City (1858) 
and Fairmount Park in Philadelphia (1849-57). They were often the first public 
places where middle class Americans could view sculpture." The idealized. 

60 Embodying Immortality: Angels in America's Rural Cemeteries, 1850-1900 

carefully desigiied landscapes of the rural cemeteries were family-oriented 
Eden-like gardens, with striking works of art, far removed from the grim 
reality of coi"itemporary urban life and death. As oiie visitor wrote in 1876, 

Reader, have you ever walked slowly and thoughtfully through 
a cemetery? I know you have. There on one tombstone was 
a finger pointing upward. ... a lamb, or a dove, symbol of in- 
nocence. Here, too, were choice flowers, expressions of love, 
emblems of the soul's immortality. As you strolled beneath the 
weeping willows, and read the epitaphs and saw the emblems 
of hope and love, you felt a strong drawing toward the bet- 
ter life which lies beyond the boundary of our present vision.*' 

Such a resonant environment intensified the angels' iniplications. 

Although organized as nonsectarian and secular, the landscaped cemeter- 
ies were predominantly used by Protestants before 1900 (Jews and Catholics, 
who had religion-specific rules for burial that discouraged their patronage 
of secular cemeteries, developed their own burial groui^ds).^ Wealthy urban 
Protestants typically were the purchasers of angel gravemarkers and monu- 
ments (even stock sculptures were far more expensive than headstones). The 
monuments, moreover, were viewed largely by Protestants, and so should be 
interpreted in the context of Protestant belief and attitudes toward the arts. 
Rural/ garden cemeteries represented a wide variety of Protestant denomina- 
tions, front liberal Unitarians to conservative Episcopalians. Although some 
denominations had evolved from earlier iconoclastic sects by the 1830s, when 
the Rural Cemetery Movement began, American Protestants exhibited a range 
of perspectives on the visual arts, accepting sonie forms and rejecting others. 
In the rural or garden cemeteries, ecumenical symbols and images emerged 
that spoke to all, erasing differerices between denominations. Those who se- 
lected the niarkers could be confident that their messages would be commonly 

One challenge in constructing art historical account of cemetery angels 
and their rise in popularity is the difficulty assigning precise dates to the 
monuments. A main difficulty in dating sculptural monuments is that many 
were erected long after the deceased was buried, or at some ii"ideterminable 
date as a central feature surrounded by individual family gravemarkers in a 
family plot (Fig. 2). It was not uncommon to place family monuments ante- 
mortem or after several burials, so one cannot confidently date the monument 
from the lot's earliest burial.'* In addition, although the markers examined 
for this study suggest an increase in numbers each decade, reaching a peak 
of popularity in the 1880s and 1890s, counting the number of monuments 
is complicated by the fact that many monumeiits are now missing. Severely 
decayed or damaged angel monuments were often removed. For example, 
photographs from an 1873 report on Allegheny Cemetery, Pittsburgh, depict 

Elisabeth L. Roark 


Fig. 2. Bradley family lot (c.l860s) in Allegheny Cemetery, 

Pittsburgh, in 1873. The angel has since disappeared. 

Courtesy of Allegheny Cemetery. 

two monumental angel sculptures, one of which has since disappeared (Fig. 2), 
and the other is no longer identifiable as an angel (Fig. 3).'" All this encourages 
a thematic approach to analyzing angel sculptures. 

The Evolution of Angels in Art and Thought: From the Bible to the 
Romantic Era 

Winged angel imagery first appeared in Italy after 325 CE, when the 
Council of Nicea accepted angels into the dogma of the church, and increased 
in frequency after 392, when pagan religions were outlawed and Christianity 
triumphed. Although only a few biblical passages characterize angels as 
winged (Exodus 15:20, Isaiah 6:2), others note their ability to fly between 
heaven and earth (Luke 2:15, Revelation 14:6). Late fourth- and fifth-century 
artists appropriated the winged Nikes (known as Victories in ancient Rome), 
female divinities the goddess Athena sent to the battlefield to crown victors." 
Emulating Nike/ Victory was appropriate symbolically, encouraging viewers 
to see angels as emblematic of Christianity's victory over pagan cults and 
over death.'- The earliest images of winged Christian angels are nearly 
indistinguishable from classical Nikes, although without breasts and wearing 
a slightly different style of robe. Nikes wore chitons, long gowns gathered 
at both shoulders or at one shoulder, leaving a breast exposed, often with 


Embodying Immortality: Angels in America's Rural Cemeteries, 1850-1900 

Fig. 3. Angel sculpture on the Shoenberger lot in 1873, 

Allegheny Cemetery, Pittsburgh. The angel 

has since lost its wings, head, arms, and the child it comforts. 

Courtesy of Allegheny Cemetery. 

girdles under the bust that accentuated their feniininity. Atigels were depicted 
wearing tunics and pnlliuins, similar to the dress used in Christian religious 

Depending on cultural and theological developments as well as changing 
artistic styles, depictions of angels and beliefs about the roles they played 
varied over time. The most important patristic text on angels, On the Celestial 
Hierarchy, was written around 500 CE by a Greek writer known as Pseudo- 
Dionysus the Areopagite. Drawing on both biblical and apochryphal references 
to angels, Pseudo-Dionysus organized a hierarchy of nine orders in groups 
of three.''' They are, in declining order of importance: seraphim, cherubim, 
and thrones; dominions, powers, and virtues; principalities, archangels, and 
angels. The nine levels were intended to reflect the human spiritual journey 
toward God.'^ The top three orders were forever in God's presence. The lower 
orders, archangels and angels, were charged with communicating between 
God and humans. The English word "angel," in fact, is based on the Greek 
word for messenger or herald, aggelos. 

On the Celestial Hierarchy had a profound influence on medieval angelology, 
becoming part of the traditional teachings of the Christian church. Translated 
into Latin in the ninth century, it was revived in the twelfth and thirteenth 
centuries by theologians who mistook the author for Dionysus, a disciple of 

Elisabeth L. Roaik 63 

Paul (hence Psei/rfo-Dionysus), giving him ahiiost apostolic authority. Pseudo- 
Dionysus' s text stimulated detailed treatments by the scholastics, including 
Bonaventure, called the "Seraphic Doctor," and Thomas Aquinas (c.l225- 
1274), called the "Angelic Doctor" (c. 121 7-74). They asked myriad questions 
about the nature of angels. At the University of Paris, the study of angels 
became a central part of the theological curriculum, and many medieval saints 
and prophets reported encounters with angels."' By 1300, angels permeated 
medieval society. Although few laypeople read the scholastics' angelologies, 
they encountered angels in hymns, sermons, drama, prayer, and the stone and 
glass of churches and cathedrals.'^ As medievalist David Keck notes, "Perhaps 
the most common of angelic motifs in medieval Christianity was the presence 
of angels at the moment of death and in the life of the soul after separation from 

the body No other aspect of angels seems to have been so well represented 

in medieval stories, doctrines, and art."'^^ Since the Bible emphasized angels' 
roles in the Last Judgment and Resurrection, a close association between 
angels and salvation developed in medieval art. This is particularly apparent 
in medieval tomb sculpture. With the exception of the archangels Michael 
(usually shown in armor), and Gabriel (usually shown in liturgical robes, 
with lilies), and cherubim and seraphim (occasionally depicted with multiple 
wings), few images of angels actually distinguished visually between the nine 
orders. Instead, most medieval angel images were generic in appearance, 
typically rendered as heavily robed men (although they often had small chins 
like women) playing their Bible-defined roles. 

Intellectual curiosity concerning angels has long been believed to be in 
decline in the early modern period. Some scholars suggest that the introduction 
of child-like cherubs and feminized angels in fifteenth-century painting and 
sculpture signaled their waning theological significance.''' In fact, as the book 
Angels in the Early Modem World, edited by Peter Marshall and Alexandra 
Walsham, convincingly demonstrates, angels remained a vital component 
of Christian thought during the Renaissance, Reformation, and even in the 
"enlightened" eighteenth-century, and were often at the center of religious 
tensions. During the Renaissance, angels occupied Christians' visible and 
invisible worlds. Their presence is most evident in painting and sculpture, 
from the grand cathedrals to the smallest parish churches, where angels were 
represented in familiar roles yet with new meanings introduced by humanist 
trends in thought.-^' While the angels of Fra Angelico and Raphael, among 
others, do appear feminine to modern viewers, their form was most likely 
an attempt to represent their androgyny as naturalistically as possible. As 
spiritual beings, angels were believed to be without gender. 

The Reformation challenged existing beliefs about angels. Martin Luther 
frequently addressed the nature of angels over the course of his long career, 
although he became less enthusiastic about the hierarchy of angels and the 
writings of medieval scholastics as he aged.-' Eventually he dismissed them 

64 Embodying Immortality: Angels in America's Rural Cemeteries, 1850-1900 

as "nothing but idle and useless human ideas . . . [and] hodge-podge."-- John 
Calvin considered Pseudo-Dionysus' s hierarchy of angels "niere babble" and 
"idle talk."-^ Dismayed by cults of angels, the attention paid angels in Catholic 
ritual, and their role as mediators between God and humans, Reformation 
leaders sought to redefine their significance by refocusing attention on Christ. 
Angels could not be dismissed outright like Catholic saints, however, because 
they appear more than 270 times in the Bible, with 61 references in the Book 
of Revelation alone, and Protestants considered the Bible the center of their 
faith. Thus attitudes toward angels in Protestant belief remained "profoundly 
ambivalent."-"* Prominent Puritan minister Cotton Mather, for example, 
famously received a visitation from an angel "whose face shown like the 
noonday sun," and whose "garments were white and shining," despite his 
father Increase Mather's insistence that angels were invisible.-' 

Nor were in^ages of angels treated with any consistency at this time. Angel 
imagery was often embroiled in iconoclastic controversies. Whether angels 
had bodies and therefore could be painted or sculpted was a serious question 
for theologians of the early church, medieval scholastics, and Protestants, 
particularly during the English Civil War of the 1640s.-'' Iconoclasts noted 
that Psalms 104:4 describes angels as spirits of fire and light; they were 
never incarnate, like Jesus, and therefore should not be represented. Long- 
running arguments about the impossibility of representing incorporeal beings 
complimented Protestant fears of idolatry and their iconoclastic orientation. 
Extreme Protestant sects like England's Puritans rejected all religious art as 
counter to the Second Commandment. Depicting angels was especially fraught 
with difficulty for Calvinists, who viewed them not as symbols of divine 
providence but as an invitation to idolatry. Other denominations, particularly 
the Lutherans of Germany and Scandinavia, tolerated images of angels in 
their churches, in part because they seemed less likely to inspire idolatry than 
depictions of the Trinity, Mary, or the Crucifixion.-^ 

In America, the earliest winged forms that appear on gravestones are 
winged skulls and winged faces, which dominated northeastern gravestone 
decoration from the mid-seventeenth to the late eighteenth centuries.-'' Yet 
they may not have been recognized as angelic forms by their original viewers. 
The first winged skulls appeared on the rounded top portion of rectangular, 
upright stones in the last half of the seventeenth century. Also called "winged 
death's heads" and variously interpreted by scholars, one of the more 
convincing suggestions is that they represented a liminal state between death 
and resurrection, reflecting the Puritans' uncertainty about salvation, which 
was not assured for all because of the Calvinist doctrine of predestination. 
According to Peter Marshall, "predestination had immense consequences 
for the symbolic representations of death. "-'^ The skull acknowledged the 
moldering remains below while the wings suggested the soul's transition, 
combining the grim reality of death and the hoped-for but not assured glory 
of heaven in a single image. 

Elisabeth L. Roark 65 

Although winged skulls can be found in some areas until the last years of 
the eighteenth century, beginning in its first decades and accelerating during 
the Great Awakening of the 1730s-1740s, winged human faces increasingly 
competed with winged skulls.'" The appearance of winged faces corresponded 
with a surge in angel sightings and stories of deathbed angels. "" Many have 
debated the reasons why Protestant New Englanders permitted such sculpted 
forms on their gravestones, given their distaste for religiously oriented visual 
art. It is possible that they viewed the winged heads as secular, as they did 
the winged skulls.^- Also, this form emphasized their immateriality, perhaps 
making it more acceptable to iconoclasts. The bodiless truncated heads with 
wings signified their supernatural character, speed, and ethereality. Often 
defined by simple incised lines, the resulting flatness of the forms accentuated 
their incorporeal nature. They are a pointed contrast with the fleshy, sensual 
angels that emerged at the same time in the Counter-Reformation art of the 
Baroque period. This contrast is consistent with Puritan portraiture, which 
rejected the fashionable Baroque style of the court of Charles I for the direct, 
realistic, flattened forms of the older Elizabethan-Jacobean style. The flat, 
winged faces eventually rounded into plump child-like heads carved in higher 
relief, reminiscent of Renaissance and Baroque decorative details and forms 
found on English tombs after 1600.'' They resemble classical putti, children 
with wings related to the ancient god Eros (Cupid), revived during the fifteenth 
century in Italian Renaissance painting, sculpture, and architecture and often 
represented acting mischievously. While putti are secular, according to Charles 
Dempsey, author of Inventing the Renaissance Piitto, identical forms referred to 
as "cherubs" appeared at the same time. '^ The chubby winged babies associated 
with the term cherub represent a distortion of the Bible's cherubim — fierce, 
powerful, multi-winged beings second only to the seraphim in the hierarchy 
of angels. Only context enables one to tentatively distinguish between putti 
and cherubs. Presumably, winged heads that accompany a religious scene 
are cherubs. Putti appear in classical contexts, such as Greco-Roman revival 
Renaissance, Baroque, and neoclassical architecture and sculpture or paintings 
of pagan content. 

Eighteenth-century Americans may not have identified the winged faces 
as classical revival putti or happy cherubs. Evidence suggests that while 
some may have been recognized as angels, the majority were regarded as 
soul effigies, symbols of the soul winging its way to heaven.'-' The confidence 
in salvation expressed by this form is in keeping with the changes that 
accompanied the Great Awakening, which altered perceptions of death. Some 
Protestant denominations, including Congregational, Methodist, Baptist, 
and Presbyterian, split over the doctrine of predestination at this time. 
Many repudiated it, substituting the belief that grace was a gift available to 
all. Gloomy Puritan epitaphs like/wgiY hora ("time flies") and memento niori 
("remember death") gave way to hopeful epitaphs such as. 

66 Embodying Immortality: Angels in America's Rural Cemeteries, 1 850- 1 900 

Here cease thy tears, suppress thy fruitless mourn 

His soul — the immortal part — has upward flown 

On wings he soars his rapid way 

To yon bright regions of eternal day.''' 

This metaphor supports the suggestion that souls fly to heaven on wings. 
However, fear of idolatry continued in some areas. Stones exist where the 
faces seem to be deliberately excised, possibly by iconoclasts." 

Painted winged heads identified as cherub heads appeared as early as 
1717 in Boston Anglican churches and, late in the century, in the churches and 
meeting houses of other denominations. '"^ Perhaps the motif paved the way for 
the full-bodied angels of the rural cemeteries. Winged faces and skulls were 
less common on early nineteenth-century gravestones, replaced by popular 
neoclassical designs, particularly the urn and willow. However, winged 
faces reappear early in the rural cemeteries, usually as secondary details on 
neoclassical sarcophagi and other classically based forms. An 1848 guidebook 
for Boston's Mount Auburn, America's first rural cemetery (founded 1831) 
includes illustrations of several monuments with winged heads carved in 
high relief. Their meaning is unclear. Are they classical putti or were they 
interpreted as angels or soul effigies? Given the classical context, the former 
is more likely, although perhaps most nineteenth-century viewers saw them 
simply as angels. 

An Invasion of Angels, 1850-1900 

Blanche Linden- Ward's comprehensive study of Mount Auburn establish- 
es that the neoclassical monuments of the 1830s and 1840s were chiefly com- 
meniorative in function and represented an attempt to create a "landscape of 
memory" or history for the new nation.^*^ Yet as the rural cemeteries evolved 
and religious sentimentalism grew, accompanying the spread of Romanticism 
and the Second Great Awakening of the n^iid-nineteenth century, neoclassi- 
cism's cool, stark geometry offered visitors minimal consolation and little 
assurance of their loved one's fate. The angel sculptures that appeared after 
1850 transformed the space, adding a nearly human but also divine presence. 
Symbols of heaven and immortality abound in rural cemeteries, but angel bas- 
reliefs and full-bodied sculptures were the most direct and forceful reminders 
of the promise of eternal life. Sculpted angels erased the boundary between 
heaven and earth and physically embodied immortality, recalling Luke 20:36, 
where Jesus states that the blessed are "equal unto the angels" for "neither can 
they die anymore.""*" The popularity of angel sculptures after 1850 not only re- 
flects a reaction against the dominance of neoclassicism but also can be seen as 
a reaction against the introduction of neo-Egyptian monuments like obelisks 
and pyramids into cemeteries. Some commentators described both styles as 
inappropriately pagan for a Christian space, a sentiment that may have led to 
a rash of neo-Gothic markers with sculpted angels (Fig. 3)."" 

Elisabeth L. Roark 67 

Also significant for the popularity of angel monuments was the growing 
sophistication of American art patrons and increasing interest in America's 
cultural development. Wealthy individuals were aware of advances in 
European art through publications and participation in the Grand Tour, 
where sculptors' studios were required stops. American tourists frequented 
the stuciios of both Italians and American expatriate sculptors working in 
Rome and Florence, often commissioning works to be shipped home. Much of 
the inspiration for full-bodied American angel monuments and relief carvings 
in American rural cemeteries clearly comes directly from late eighteenth- and 
nineteenth-century European sculpture rather than from the winged skulls 
and faces of the colonial period. British sculptor John Flaxman (1755-1826), 
for example, was well known in America. Influenced by eighteenth-century 
Swedish visionary Emanuel Swedenborg's insistence that angels were not 
composed of "ethereal gases" but had flesh-and-blood bodies, Flaxman's large, 
physically active angels interact with souls, effigies, and the bereaved, much 
like the angel sculptures in the rural cemeteries.^- His Sarah Morley Memorial, 
(1785), is the source for a relief on the c.1874 French family monument in 
Green- Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, and other such images in rural cemeteries 
(Figs. 4, 5). Two-dimensional imagery was equally influential. The c.1861 
Harriet E. gravemaker in Green Mount Cemetery, Baltimore, is one of many 
that resemble German painter Wilhelm von Kaulbach's popular Angel of Peace 
(Figs. 6, 7).'' 

Few stock angel sculptures and bas-reliefs are signed, complicating the 
search for sources and influences. Preliminary evidence suggests that many 
American angel sculptures were created by Italian stonecarvers in both Italy 
and America, who produced numerous copies that were sold by American 

Fig. 4. John Flaxman's Sarah Morley Memorial, 1785, 

marble, Gloucester Cathedral, England, was a 

source for angel sculptures in Am^erican rural cemeteries. 

Courtesy of the Courtauld Institute of Art. 

Embodying Immortality: Angels in America's Rural Cemeteries, 1850-1900 

Fig. 5. The marble c,1874 French family monument in 

Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, emulates 

John Flaxman's Sarah Morley Memorial (Fig. 4). 

Fig. 6. Marble gravemarker for Harriet E. [?], 1860s, Green Mount 

Cemetery, Baltimore. The sculptor undoubtedly used 

Kaulbach's popular print (Fig. 7) as an inspiration. 

Elisabeth L. Roark 


Fig. 7. Wilhelm von Kaulbach's engraving. Angel of Peace (pre-1860), 

was a source for many of the American sculpted bas-reliefs 

showing an angel bearing a child's soul heavenward. 

monument companies."*"* With the expansion of the railroads to the Midwest 
and beyond in the 1850s and 1860s, the monuments could be transported inland 
for the first time. The importation of funerary sculpture explains the identical 
monuments found in distant cenieteries. For example, the same c. 1880s angels 
holding lilies and gazing at the ground adorn monuments in Green Mount 
in Baltimore and Mount Auburn in Boston (Fig. 8). Copies of a c. 1860s male 
angel pointing upwards and downwards appear in Lake View in Cleveland, 
Graceland in Chicago, Mount Auburn, Green Mount, and Green-Wood 
in Brooklyn (Fig. 9). Duplicates proliferated toward the end of the century, 
spurred in part by the immigration of Italian stonecarvers to the United 
States in the 1880s, many of whom settled near cemeteries and monument 
manufacturing firms. By the 1890s angel sculptures were sold through mail 
order catalogues by companies such as Sears, Roebuck and Conipany, and 
distributed through a network of large monument dealers that replaced the 
smaller local workshops of earlier decades."*-^ 

Despite its Roman Catholic origins, Italy's angel imagery proved irresistible 
to sentimental American Protestants. Even with rapid advances in modern 
science, belief in angels appears to have been widespread among American 
Protestants in the nineteenth century. While some argue that the belief was 
diminished by eighteenth-century empiricism, it was not eliminated, and by 


Embodying Immortality: Angels in America's Rural Cemeteries, 1850-1900 

Fig. 8. Hugh Sisson Marble Works, 

marble Diffenderfer monument, 

C.1880, Green Mount Cemetery, 

Baltimore. Duplicates of the 

angel on the Diffenderfer 

monument appear in 

several other rural cemeteries. 

Fig. 9. The Sexton Monument, 

1860s, marble, Graceland 
Cemetery, Chicago, is one many 
identical sculptures 
of male pointing angels 
found in eastern and mid- 
western garden cemeteries. 

the mid-nineteen century it had unquestionably experienced a revival/'' Angels 
fascinated the Romantics for their compassionate nature and beauty that spoke 
directly to the sentimental heart. Scholars often dismiss nineteenth-century 
images of angels as overly sweet, quaint, and effeminate, insisting that their 
only purpose was to personify beauty. As depicted in the rural cemeteries, 
however, they fulfill the same biblical duties as their predecessors in Christian 
art: tending to the deceased, easing their transition, carrying their souls to 
heaven, and conveying a message to the bereaved, be it the status of the soul 
or the imminei"ice of judgment. Cemetery angels indicate the maintenance, 
even the strengthening, of traditional beliefs, and in being depicted bodily, an 
assertion of their formidable presence. 

While biblical accounts supplied the basis for the representations of angels 
in painting and sculpture, literature and popular writing elaborated their 
tasks and reveal the implications of angel monuments for period viewers. 
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, a Unitarian and arguably the most popular 
American poet of the mid-to-late nineteenth century, wrote poignai"itly 

Elisabeth L. Roark 71 

of angels, particularly after his first daughter's death in 1848. "The Reaper 
and the Flowers," a poem about the death of children whom Longfellow 
metaphorically called "flowers," concludes with this verse: 

O, not in cruelty, not in wrath. 

The Reaper came that day, 

T'was an angel visited the green earth. 

And took the flowers away.'*^ 

The last two lines were a popular epitaph on children's gravestones. 
"Resignation," written shortly after his daughter's death, includes a passage 
describine; her life in heaven. 

In that great cloister's stillness and seclusion. 

By guardian angels led. 

Safe from temptation, safe from sin's pollution. 

She lives, whom we call dead.^^ 

Longfellow's book-length poem, Christus: a Mystery, 1872, described the 
seven archangels and their duties.^'' Similarly, an American book of 1851 by 
George Clayton, Jr., addressed the detailed hierarchy of angels defined by 
Pseudo-Dionysus, as its title suggests: Angelology: Remarks and Reflections 
Touching the Agency and Ministrations of Holy Angels; with Reference to Their 
History, Rank, Titles, Attributes, Characteristics, Residence, Society, Employments 
and Pursuits; Interspersed with Traditional Particulars Respecting Them. Although 
the author claimed that all conclusions "bear the sanction of scriptural warrant" 
(essential for Protestants, who considered biblical evidence authoritative), 
much of the book is based on elaborate testimonials to the reality of angels 
from ancient and modern sources. Although Clayton was unquestionably 
Protestant, blaming any disregard for angels on the "unscriptural, idolatrous, 
and extravagant attention paid to this subject by the Church of Rome," he 
added, "We gain no solid victory over Popery by omitting the truths that 
have been corrupted and abused."'" While it is impossible to gauge popular 
understanding of such detailed angelologies as On the Celestial Hierarchy and 
its successors, evidence suggests that angels remained a reality for nineteenth- 
century Protestants. 

Consolation literature presented elaborate scenarios detailing the afterlife 
that included angels performing a variety of tasks. This genre, new to the 
nineteenth century, was written chiefly by women and Protestant clergy to 
comfort the bereaved.^' Enormously popular, it further establishes nineteenth- 
century beliefs about the angels' pursuits on earth and in heaven. For example, 
the Rev. William Holcombe, author of Our Children in Heaven, 1869, described 
how angels instruct recently arrived souls: "The angels now tell the spirit 
that he is an inhabitant of the spirit world, and answer his thousand eager 

inquiries [then] they summon his friends and relatives who have preceded 

him across the river of death."" Such accounts are evidence of the rise of 

72 Embodying Immortality: Angels in America's Rural Cemeteries, 1850-1900 

sentimentalism, the emotional interpretation of religious issues characterized 
by public expression of private feelings, particularly those related to grief and 
melancholy, emotions cultivated by sentimentalists.^' Like the rural cemeteries, 
sentimentality was a defense against death's cruel certainty. Consolation 
literature also reflected a demand for detailed explications of the afterlife, 
perhaps in response to the complexity of an increasingly urbanized and 
industrial society for which heaven became a panacea. Consolation literature 
epitomized sentimentalism, and cemetery angels, with their genial expressions, 
hopeful messages of immortality, and consolatory function allowed Protestants 
to indulge in sentimentality and to find reassurance in figural gravemarkers 
that stayed within the bounds of Protestant belief. Adherence to the Second 
Commandment still discouraged most images of God and Jesus, and prior to 
1900, they were almost nonexistent in the rural cemeteries. The few examples 
that do appear in the cemeteries visited for this study, such as three identical 
C.1890 images of the Crucifixion on the gravestones of members of the same 
family in Green Mount Cemetery, Baltin^ore, are the exception that proves the 
rule. They appear patently out of place. 

Although many Protestants continued to denounce the Roman Catholic 
church for idolatry and for using art to seduce the unsophisticated, by the mid- 
nineteenth century well-known ministers such as HeiTry Ward Beecher, Orville 
Dewey, and George Washington Bethune were calling for a re-evaluation of 
the role of the visual arts in Protestant belief. Advocating for the return of art 
to Protestant churches, painter Thomas Cole, a devout Episcopalian, wrote in 
1846: "The accusations which have so long and frequently been brought against 
it as savoring of Romish superstitions, are beginning to give way and yield to 
a better and higher estimate of art as the handmaid of religion. "''' Increasingly 
Protestants introduced religious imagery into their churches, publications, 
and even their homes. Popular prints by Currier and Ives addressed religious 
subjects, including guardian angels. Embroidery and paper silhouettes 
depicting the cross and crown motif decorated the walls of Protestant homes, 
and table-top sculptures of angels ascending to heaven were popular. ""^ As art 
historian John Davis reports in the essay "Catholic Envy: The Visual Culture 
of Protestant Desire," some mid-century Protestants were strongly attracted 
to Catholic ritual, art, and architecture. The popularity of Philadelphia painter 
Thomas Sully's copy of French artist Frangois-Marius Granet's Choir of the 
Capuchin Chapel, 1821, and Episcopalian Robert Weir's Taking the Veil, 1863, 
both widely exhibited and written about, are evidence of this fascination.-^*' 
Weir's novice kneels at the altar of a grand Italian cathedral where the crucifix 
is discretely obscured — most Protestants considered crucifixes morbid and 
indecent — but an angel sculpture reminiscent of those found in the rural 
cemeteries stands on a base between the ritual and the spectators, appearing 
to act as an intermediary. 

The angel sculptures of rural/ garden cemeteries functioned in a similar 
way for nineteenth-century Protestants. Much like Catholic religious art. 

Elisabeth L. Roark 73 

they were conduits linking God and man. Although cemetery visitors' 
written responses to angel monuments have yet to be discovered, it is likely 
that vistors reacted strongly and emotionally to the sculptures' powerful 
physicality — impressive even today — which was a far cry from the incorporeal 
text-bound basis of Protestantisni and from earlier American images of 
winged beings. Paradoxically, at the same time that American Protestants 
were "Catholicizing" their relationship to the visual arts, antipathy toward 
Catholicism accelerated as waves of Irish and Italian Catholic immigrants 
threatened Protestant hegemony, although this hostility did not impede the 
proliferation of Protestant angel imagery. 

Only a few large-scale angel monuments appear to have been placed before 
1850, a notable example being Charlotte Canda's monument in Green-Wood 
Cemetery, Brooklyn, erected in 1848. Flanking Canda's effigy are two life-sized 
kneeling angels known to be carved in Italy. Kneeling angels are relatively 
rare in the rural cemeteries studied here, most likely due to the association of 
kneeling with Catholicism (Canda was one of few Catholics buried in Green- 
Wood in the nineteenth century; the lot was specially consecrated for her).'^ 
While it is clear that angel sculptures began to appear in American rural 
cemeteries in ever increasing numbers beginning around 1850, it is impossible 
to be definitive about their stylistic development without exact dates. There 
are, however, some evident trends in design. The earliest angel markers, 
from about 1850 tlirough the 1870s, tend to be life-size or smaller and less 
ostentatious, placed on plain geometric bases usually no more than six feet tall 
(typically shorter), and neoclassical in style. They are most often ambiguous 
in gender, clothed in simple togas or other classically inspired garments 
(distinguishing them from vestment-garbed Catholic angels) and stand in 
contrapposto, the slightly bent-knee stance perfected by the ancient Greeks 
to imply the potential for movement (Fig. 10). The angels' faces are typically 
serene and pleasant, their features delicately carved and hair both short and 
long (if long, often bound up). Bas-relief angels on individual markers show 
more varied dress and poses due to the greater flexibility of relief carving (Fig. 
11). Although some bronze angels also exist from this period (Fig. 10), the 
angels of this period are predominantly carved of marble, often the crystalline 
white marble of Italy which, when new, must have sparkled against the 
cemeteries' dark green foliage. White marble is the medium associated with 
neoclassicism and was consistent with biblical descriptions of angels as robed 
in white garments (Daniel 12:6, Matthew 28:3, Jolin 20:12, Revelation 19:14). 

Later American angel monuments of the 1880s and 1890s wear more 
free-flowing robes, often with wide sleeves and fanciful details such as bows 
and embroidery. Faces frequently resemble each other, with large eyes, a 
long narrow nose, full lips, and thick, unbound hair (Fig. 12). Increasingly 
granite replaced marble, resulting in larger, bulkier forms because granite 
is more difficult to carve and does not lend itself to delicate detail. Some 
late-nineteenth-century angels are larger than life-size. Some stand on 

74 Embodying Immortality: Angels in America's Rural Cemeteries, 1850-1900 

Fig. 10. Henry Kirke Brown's striking George Hogg Monument, c.1850, 

bronze and marble, Allegheny Cemetery, Pittsburgh, 

standing in a classical contrapposto position. Believed to be 

one of the earliest large-scale bronze castings in America. 

elaborately carved bases twenty or thirty feet high (Figs. 12, 1, 8). Beginning 
in the 1880s, bronze angels increased in number as the beaux-arts style 
popularized in America by Augustus Saint-Gaudens and Daniel Chester 
French challenged neoclassicisn^i. Angels also became more clearly female 
around the turn of the century. 

After 1900 the changes that began in the 1880s became more pronounced, 
and new types emerged inspired by Pre-Raphaelite and Art Nouveau angels. 
Alternatively, stock angels became dull and formulaic, perhaps related to 
the accessibility of monuments through mail order. While many traditional 
tasks continued to be represented, increasingly angel sculptures did little but 
stand, sit, or hover. Garden cemeteries changed as well, adopting features of 
the new landscape lawn-plan design, which replaced varied topography and 
extensive plantings with broad, empty lawns, and eclectic memorials with 
more uniform granite markers. Their populations also shifted as immigration 
increased, resulting in nxore non-Protestant burials. A 1921 article in the 
periodical Art and Archaeology titled "The Angel in American Sculpture" 
acknowledged the "universal popularity of the angel as an ornament for 
tombstones" but complained that the "laborious efforts of stone cutters, has 
cheapened such works to the extent of making them ridiculous" and described 

Elisabeth L. Roark 


Fig. 11. Andrew Foster Smith monument, 1873, marble, Woodlawn 

Cemetery, The Bronx, signed and dated "BENZONI F. ROMA 

1873," featuring an active angel floating toward earth on a cloud. 


Embodying Immortality: Angels in America's Rural Cemeteries, 1850-1900 




Fig. 12. Enrico Buti, Porter monument, 1890s, Allegheny Cemetery, 

Pittsburgh, The larger-than-life angel, shown writing on a 
gravestone-like slab, is typical of late-nineteenth-century cemetery 

angels in its loose robe, full, long hair, and androgynous face. 
The current bronze monument is a 1920s bronze casting of the 1890s 
marble original, which decayed rapidly in Pittsburgh's industrial air. 

Elisabeth L. Roark 77 

angel sculpture in general as "an incongruity which naturalists and modern 
realists must deplore" because it portrayed an anatomically impossible being 
that "defied the laws of aerial navigation and was never seen by the eyes of 
man."-'^ Not surprisingly, angel sculptures largely died out around 1930 as 
attitudes toward death changed again and minimalist markers inspired by 
memorial park design replaced figural forms. Today, one will occasionally see 
the small child angels used to mark children's graves in monument dealers' 
inventories, but recent adult angel sculptures are very rare (except in some 
Catholic cemeteries). However, angel imagery in relief has experienced a 
revival in popularity in recent years due the new, comparatively inexpensive 
technique of laser cutting designs on granite. 

Angel Types and Tasks 

The angel monuments found most frequently in America's rural 
cemeteries in the second half of the nineteenth century divide into eight basic 
types determined primarily by task being: soul-bearing; praying; decorating 
and guarding; pointing; recording; trumpeting; sword-bearing (archangel 
Michael); and child angels. It may, in fact, be their tasks that made them 
acceptable to Protestants — narrative art viewed as less tainted with the 
potential for idolatry. Each type is consolatory and didactic, intended both to 
comfort the bereaved and to convey messages to cemetery visitors, instructing 
viewers about the fate of the human soul after death, the safekeeping of the 
remains, and the inevitability of resurrection. Three of the most common are 
variations on guardian angels: those who bear souls — no longer depicted as 
winged heads but as full bodies — to heaven; those who pray, usually looking 
beseechingly toward the sky; and those who watch over and decorate the 
gravesite with flowers. The guardian angel's biblical origin is Psalms 91:11-12: 
"For he will give his angels charge over thee, to guard thee in all thy ways. They 
shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone." 

Although associated with Catholic belief today, the concept that one had 
a winged protector assigned by God clearly struck a chord with mid- to late 
nineteenth-century American Protestants, further evidence of their distance 
from the strict Calvinisni of their predecessors. Guardian angels, borrowed 
from Jewish conceptions of angels and conspicuous from Christianity's 
first days, were a particular focus of the medieval scholastics."'' By the early 
fifteenth century, chapels and cults dedicated to guardian angels had spread 
across Europe. Protestant ambivalence about angels is nowhere more apparent 
than in perceptions of guardian angels. Early Protestant reformers struggled 
with the concept and never definitively agreed whether or not one received a 
guardian angel at birth, as noted earlier.''" 

But by the mid-nineteenth century, guardian angels appeared frequently 
in Protestant imagery, epitaphs, hymns, sentimental poetry, and consolation 
literature inspired in part by Emanuel Swedenborg's popular accounts of 
his visions of heaven and the angels he observed there.*'' Period writings 

78 Embodying Immortality: Angels in America's Rural Cemeteries, 1 850-1900 

maintained that guardian angels watched over the soul while living, removed 
occasions of sin and provided protection when danger threatened, interceded 
on their charges' behalf, attended at death, eased the transition to the next 
world, conducted the soul to heaven, and looked after the gravesite and the 
deceased's remains until resurrection. An 1858 text noted, "They never leave 
us. In sorrow they sympathize, in joy they rejoice, in prayer they unite with 
us; and in sin, alas! they behold us. Most of all, at the bed of death, angels 
do most especially minister. In every varied scene in life, from the cradle to 
the grave, they are with us."^'- Additional evidence of Protestant embracing 
of guardian angels is Thomas Cole's popular Voyage of Life series, 1839-1840. 
In four paintings. Cole, considered the father of the Hudson River School, 
allegorized the four stages of life as an infant, a youth, a mature man, and 
an elderly man navigating the River of Life, with, as Cole wrote, "a guardian 
Angel steering."''-' Prints depicting Cole's paintings sold widely. 

Soid-bea ring A nge Is 
One of the guardian angel's priniary responsibilities was to carry the soul 
to heaven. Most soul-bearing angels in early rural cemeteries are represented 
in relief due to the complexity of rendering in three dimensions one or more 
angels and a full-bodied human soul ascending. Again, Emanuel Swedenborg's 
influence is clear. "Man after death is as much a man as he was before," he 
insisted.''^ Instead of a naked child or winged head, the soul now took on 
the physical form of the body. Examples include the c.1874 French family 
monument, where two angels raise their arms in celebration while another 
grasps the hand of the deceased as she rises from the grave, and the Kelle (?) 
marker, where an angel carries a woman, gazing back towards earth, through 
clouds and stars (Figs. 5, 13). This image recalls a popular song of 1872, "An 
Angel at the Window," in which a husband closes the window on an angel who 
has come to collect his dying wife. But when the angel approaches again, 

I open'd the casement window 

And lifted my niuch lov'd one. 

On the angel's wings I placed her. 

And gazed til they were gone.^^ 

The Harriet E. gravemarker shows an angel carrying a child, a common 
motif in rural cemeteries, even on adults' gravestones (Fig. 6). A rare early 
example in the round is the dramatic James Gordon Bennett monument at 
Green-Wood, c.1862, carved in Italy. Although it marks a man's grave, the 
small body of a winged child is shown ascending, balanced more than lifted 
by an angel. Every soul-bearing angel discovered in the cemeteries included in 
this study carries the embodied soul of a woman or child, never a man's body. 
Is this because women and children suggested innocence more so than men? 
Or do the child souls relate to medieval images in which souls, as evidence 
of their purity, were shown as tiny and naked? Or does it reflect emblem 

Elisabeth L. Roark 


Fig. 13. The marble Kelle (?) gravemarker, 1850s, Green Mount Cemetery, 

Baltimore, depicts an angel carrying the soul of a woman through clouds 

and stars. The epitaph, based on an 1860 Methodist hymn, reads, in part: 

"O bear me away on your snowy wings. To my immortal home." 

book imagery, established in the seventeenth century but still popular in the 
nineteenth century, which always depicted the soul — or anima — as female?'''' 
Or was the depiction of a full-grown man being born aloft by angels simply 
unpalatable? A typical late example is the Fisher monument, c.1883, from 
Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis, its female soul smiling with anticipation 
as it ascends (Fig. 14). 

Soul-bearing angels also appear on pious Hattie A. Burr's stone at Green- 
Wood, C.1860 (Fig. 15). Hands folded in prayer, she appears to need little help, 
for two angels barely touch her elbows as she rises, reminiscent of a popular 
nineteenth-century bedtime prayer: 

Four corners to my bed 
Four angels round my head 
One to watch and one to pray 
And two to bear my soul away.*'^ 

Images of soul-bearing angels suggest that the soul departs at once for heaven. 

Embodying Immortality: Angels in America's Rural Cemeteries, 1850-1900 

Fig. 14. The marble Fisher monument, c.1883. Crown Hill Cemetery, 

Indianapolis, is typical of late nineteenth-century 

sculptures of soul-bearing angels. 

Elisabeth L. Roark 


Fig. 15. Hattie A. Burr gravemarker, c.1860, marble, Green-Wood 

Cemetery, Brooklyn, showing the pious Hattie A. Burr 

being escorted to heaven by two soul-bearing angels. 

as a poem in The Angel Visitor; or. Voices of the Heart (1859) insists: 

It is a joyful thing to die; 
For though this world is fair, 
I see a lovelier in my dreams. 
And fancy I am there. 
I fancy I am taken there. 
As soon as I have died. 
And I roam through all that pleasant place 
With an angel by my side. ^^ 

Clayton's Angelology (1851) reported that "immediately after the separation of 
the soul from the body, the angels receive it, and carry it to heaven. They are a 
convoy for the departing soul of the godly."*^*^ 

Luke 16:22 is the basis for the belief in soul-bearing angels: "The beggar 
died and was carried by the angels to the bosom of Abraham." A tremendous 
comfort to the dying and the bereaved, guardian angels appear in this 
role in medieval English ars moriendi treatises with illustrations depicting 
the art of dying well and in the writings of John Bunyan and Increase 
Mather.^" Again, consolation literature elaborated upon this charge. The 
popular novel 77?^ Gates Wide Open (1869) described a soul's arrival in heaven 
who has "just this moment alighted with my angel."'' An 1860 Methodist 
hymn also indicates belief in this function of angels: 

82 Embodying Immortality: Angels in America's Rural Cemeteries, 1850-1900 

I've almost gained my heav'nly hom.e, 
my spirit loudly sings! 
The holy ones, behold, they come! 

I hear the noise of wings, 
O, come, angel band, come and around me stand, 
O bear me away on your snowy wings to my immortal home.^- 

The last line serves as an epitaph on the bottom of the Kelle (?) gravestone 
(Fig. 13). 

Praying Angels 

Another type, the praying angel with hands folded or arms crossed over the 
chest, appears to fulfill the intercessory role of the guardian angel. Many gaze 
heavenward, like the toga-draped Amoss angel at Baltimore's Green Mount 
Cemetery, whose face, though worn, appears worried (Fig. 16). The guardian 
angels' chief duty was to save their charges' immortal souls (Matthew 22:30, 
Luke 15:10). The angel as intercessor relates to a passage in Job 33:22, "His 
soul draweth near unto the grave, and his life to the destroyers," but "if there 
be an angel with him, an interpreter, one among the thousand," he might 
escape death. Several other passages relate to angels praying or conveying 
their charge's prayers to heaven (Judges 13, Revelation 8:3-5). The belief in 
guardian angels as intercessors dates at least to the medieval church.^' 

Some praying angels provided symbolic consolation by bearing additional 
attributes. Common were anchors, representing hope (Hebrews 6:19 describes 
hope as "the steadfast anchor of the soul"), and crosses, emblenis of faith 
(Fig. 17). The Latin cross appeared in Protestant funereal sculpture at this 
time after hundreds of years of absence, further evidence of the increasing 
liberalism of mid-nineteenth-century Protestants. By the late nineteenth 
century, the small crosses held by earlier angels were to grow huge, competing 
for attention with the angels (Fig. 12). 

Angels Wlto Decorate and Watch Over the Grave 
The only angel type defined here that is without specific biblical precedent 
is the guardian angel that watches over the gravesite, gazing at it tenderly and 
bearing flowers to adorn it. Although the practice of strewing flowers on graves 
began at least as early as ancient Greece, this theme in sculpture appears to be 
new to the nineteenth century, unlike most angel forms which had roots in 
Renaissance, Baroque, or eighteenth-century art. The Minnie Hays nionument, 
C.1865, in Allegheny Cemetery, Pittsburgh, is an example (Fig. 18).^^ Dressed 
in classical garb and standing in contrnpposto, the angel holds a garland, an 
ancient Roman symbol of honor adopted by Christians as an emblem of the 
victory of redemption. Bouquets or groupings of individual flowers like the 
lily appeared later, suggesting neoclassicism's waning popularity (Fig. 8). Late 
nineteenth-century examples often show an angel extending a hand holding 

Elisabeth L. Roark 


Fig. 16. Amoss monument, c.1867, marble. Green Mount Cemetery, 

Baltimore. Praying angels fulfill the intercessory 

role of the guardian angel. 

a single flower over the gravesite; some interpret this pose as a symbol of 
untimely death although this theme is so ubiquitous that it is unlikely the 
connotation held for all. Others see it as symbolic of the transitory nature of life, 
a meaning more consistent with other flower symbolism in the cemeteries.^' 

In contrast to the eighteenth century's barren burial grounds, cut and 
planted flowers were popular grave decorations, complimenting the land- 
scaped cemeteries' sylvan settings. English tourist Harriet Martineau visited 
Mount Auburn in the 1830s and found the tombs there "the most beautiful 
burial places I ever saw ... in some instances a little blooming garden smil- 
ing in front. I saw many lots of ground well tended, and wearing the air of 
luxuriant gardens. . . . Many separate graves were studded with flowers, the 

Embodying Immortality: Angels in America's Rural Cemeteries, 1850-1900 

Fig. 17. Rose monument, 1880s, marble. Laurel Hill Cemetery, 

Philadelphia. Angel sculptures are often depicted 
with symbolic attributes, such as the anchor, a symbol of hope. 

Elisabeth L. Roark 


Fig. 18. Minnie Hays monument, c.1865, marble and granite, 

Allegheny Cemetery, Pittsburgh. Angels holding flowers draw 

attention to the sacredness of the gravesite and the parallels 

between plant life and human birth, death, and resurrection. 

86 Embodying Immortality: Angels in America's Rural Cemeteries, 1850-1900 

narrowest and gayest of gardens. "^^ Certainly the practice of lavishly deco- 
rating graves with flowers, which flourished during the nineteenth century, 
prompted this type. In addition to planted flowers, mounds of cut flowers that 
often smothered the gravesite during the funeral became increasingly com- 
mon after the Civil War. Two gravemarkers at Baltimore's Green Mount and 
two at Charleston's Magnolia Cemetery reflect this practice. At Green Mount, 
the Rachel (last name urireadable) gravemarker, signed "Gaddess" for the 
Gaddess Marble Works of Baltiniore, and the Mary Schumacher marker, both 
1860s, depict angels flying over flower-covered mounds, preparing to drop 
more flowers (Fig. 19). In Charleston, gravestones for "Our Phoebe" and Eliza 
Crews, C.1866, show angels holding single flowers in vases floating above lots 
fenced and gated with what appears to be irori, the most comnion material for 
lot enclosures in the rural cemeteries (Figs. 3, 20). 

Like their live coui"iterparts, the angels' sculpted flowers suggest the 
parallels drawn at this time between the cyclical nature of plant life and 
human birth, death, and resurrection. Charles Fraser, dedication speaker for 
Magnolia Cemetery iri 1851, exclaimed, "the blessed hope of resurrection, will 
reacheth beyond this earth, shall bloom front the flowers that grow over its 
thick-strewn graves."" Earlier, Dr. Jacob Bigelow, a Mount Auburn founder, 
noted that the human heart seeks consolation "amidst the quiet verdure of the 
field, under the broad and cheerful light of heaven, where the harnionious and 
ever-changing face of nature reminds us, by its resuscitating influence, that to 
die is but to live again. "^^ Typically, flower-bearing angel sculptures gaze at 
the ground, focusing attention on the gravesites' sacredriess and fulfilling the 
guardian angels' responsibility of watching over the grave and protecting the 
deceased's remains until the Resurrection (Figs. 8, 18, 19).^'^ 

Questions persisted during the mid-nineteenth century concerning the 
body's fate. Would it be reunited with the soul at the Resurrection, or was the 
body of no consequence once the soul adopted its perfected state after the body's 
death? New Englai"id Puritans conceived of the body as a corruptible prison of 
the soul, unrelated to its postmortem life; their burial grounds, unattractive, 
organized haphazardly, with remains often disrupted by subsequent burials, 
reflect this. Romantic sentimentalism inspired very differerit ideas about the 
body and the gravesite. Conservative Protestants and many new evangelical 
sects believed that when Jesus returned, the body would rise from the grave 
reconstituted and rejoin the soul in the millerinial kingdom. They pointed 
to 1 Corinthians 15:52, "for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead will be 
raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed," a passage commoiily cited in 
cenietery dedication addresses, particularly the next line, "this mortal must 
put on immortality," which became a popular epitaph. The "disposition of our 
mortal remains on earth is not a matter of indifference," noted David Appleton 
White in his 1840 dedication address for Harmony Grove Cemetery in Salem, 
Massachusetts. "On the contrary it acquires an unspeakable interest from 

Elisabeth L. Roaik 


Fig. 19. Gaddess Marble Works, Rachel [?] gravemarker, c.1864. Green 

Mount Cemetery, Baltimore. The marble relief-carved angel 

prepares to add a flower to a grave mound already smothered with flowers. 

Embodying Immortality: Angels in America's Rural Cemeteries, 1850-1900 

Fig. 20. "Our Phoebe" [?] gravemarker, c.1866. Magnolia Cemetery, 

Charleston, with an angel holding a single flower in a vase above what 

appears to be an iron-fenced lot enclosure. 

the sublime truth of Christianity that this mortal will put on immortality. "^° 
A proper and pernianent burial — not really possible in the crowded imier- 
city graveyards but a selling point of the rural cemeteries — was required for 
resurrection, and thus the gravesite became sacrosanct. 

Like guardian angel sculptures, consolation literature and epitaphs 
reinforced the concept of the resurrection of both body and soul and the 
significance of the gravesite. In Angel WJiispiers; or The Eclio of Spirit Voices, 1859, 
Baptist minister (and anti-Catholic Know-Nothing Party candidate) Daniel C. 
Eddy wrote, "If you ask Wiiere thy brother shall rise? 1 reply, the spot where he 
fell. The scene of his death and burial is to be the scene of his resurrection. The 
sod upon which you have stood and wept, on which you have loved to repair, 
will be the spot on which his ransomed feet will stand to wait the crown of 
glory which will circle his no longer wasted brow."^' A popular epitaph of the 
period reads. 

Elisabeth L. Roark 89 

Tread softly for an angel band 
Doth guard the precious dust. 
And we can safely leave our boy. 
Our darling in their trust.**- 

Another commentator wrote that guardian angels will remain at the grave as 
long as their charges' "bodies are still awaiting resurrection. During this time, 
the angels keep watch over the tomb . . . preventing their profanation."^' 

Pointing Angels 
Relief panels on the elaborate French family monument (c.l874) in Green- 
Wood Cemetery summarize some of the death-related duties of the guardian 
angels. One depicts an angel floating over a dying woman's bed, pointing 
up, waiting to ease her transition (Fig. 21), a common theme in medieval ars 
moriendi illustrations. The inscription below reads, "We still mourn for thee, 
dear Emnia, though we know that thou art happier in heaven." The next panel, 
with the inscription, "Dear Mother, thou shalt arise to enter the Kingdom of 
Heaven with God's Angels," shows a man mourning by an obelisk while a 
female soul rises into the arms of three soul-bearing angels (Fig. 5). In the third 
relief, a figure with head bent places a wreath at the gravesite while an angel 
points to the sky, indicating that the deceased's soul now resides in heaven 
(Fig. 22). As figures 21 and 22 suggest, pointing angels were often connected 
with guardian angels but attended to the bereaved as much as the deceased, 
fulfilling their role as messengers. The c.1897 Home Monument at Allegheny 
Cemetery, Pittsburgh, with a pointing angel holding a palm frond, a symbol of 
resurrection, and placing a hand on the shoulder of a mourning woman with a 
garland, makes this type's consolatory function explicit (Fig. 23). 

Fig. 21. French monument, c.1874, marble, Green-Wood Cemetery, 

Brooklyn. Images of angels at the bedsides of the 

dying date to medieval ars moriendi treatises depicting the good death. 

90 Embodying Immortality: Angels in America's Rural Cemeteries, 1850-1900 

Fig. 22. French monument, c.1874, marble, Green-Wood Cemetery, 

Brooklyn. The pointing angel, indicating that the soul has 

departed for heaven, offers explicit comfort to the bereaved. 

While the disembodied hand poiiiting up was a common motif on 
nineteenth-century gravestones, the pointing angel's origins were, of course, 
earlier depictions of the angel at Jesus's sepulcher, who asked rhetorically 
"Why seek ye the living among the dead?" A popular mid-century poem in 
Over the River; or, Pleasant Walks into the Valley of Shadows, and Beyond (1862) 
extended this privilege to common mortals: 

The mourners came at break of day 

Unto the garden sepulchre, 

With sorrowing hearts to weep and pray 

For him whom they had buried there. 

What radiant light expels the gloom? 

An angel sits beside the tomb! 
Then mourn we not beloved death — 
E'en while we come to weep and pray. 
The happy spirit far has fled 
To brighter realms of endless day! 
Immortal hope dispels the gloom; 
Art angel sits beside the tomb.^"* 

The poem's last two lines also appeared as epitaphs.**' A striking pointing 
angel, arguably the most beautiful in this study, is sculptor Henry Kirke 
Brown's nearly life-size bronze in Allegheny Cemetery. Created around 
1850 to memorialize George Hogg, it is a purely classical conception with an 
idealized face and clinging drapery standing in contrapposto (Fig. 10). Although 
executed by a prominent mid-century sculptor and believed to be one of the 
first large-scale bronze cast sculptures in the United States, it is consistent 
with other pointing angels. Like the Sexton Monument, it points both up and 
down, accentuating the significance of the gravesite where the body remains 

Elisabeth L. Roark 




'" *:•■ 1 ' 


Fig. 23. Home monument, c.1897, granite, Allegheny Cemetery, Pittsburgh, 

a late-nineteenth-century example of a pointing angel 

that makes the consolatory function explicit. 

92 Embodying Immortality: Angels in America's Rural Cemeteries, 1850-1900 

but also conveying the hopeful message that his soul has departed for heaven 
(Fig. 9).«^ 

Recording Angels 
While all cemetery angels fulfill the didactic function of instructing visitors 
about the soul's fate or the grave's sacredness, a fifth type, the recording angel, 
appears to offer a warning as well. In the Bible, recording angels hold open 
the books for God to judge the dead by "those things which were written in 
the books, according to their works" (Revelation 20:12). Presumably cemetery 
angels shown actively writing are inscribing the deceased's nanie in the 
Book of Life, ensuririg salvation (Fig. 24). Although the sculpted recording 
angels never appear condemnatory, certainly one intent of this type was to 
remind viewers that the Last Judgment was imminent and thereby encourage 
correct behavior. Promoters insisted that rural cemeteries carried strong moral 
implications, inspiring visitors to meditate on their life's worth.^^ At some level 
recording angels perpetuated the Puritan "memento mori" theme, reminding 
viewers to prepare for death. Recording angels also appear in mourning 
jewelry and consolation literature. Another poem in Over the River explained 
the concept of dual recording angels for each person, an idea popularized in 
the Middle Ages that persisted in the post-Reformation period: 

It is said that every mortal walks between two angels here; 

One records the ill, but blots it, if before the midnight drear 
Man repeiiteth; if uncancelled then, he seals it for the skies 

And the right hand angel weepeth, bowing low with veiled eyes.^^ 

Recording ai"igels usually resemble other cemetery angels, with long 
hair and floor-length robes (Fig. 24). Interesting variations exist at Mount 
Auburn, Green Mount in Baltimore, and Forest Lawn iri Buffalo, where 
identical youthful angels dressed in short, knee-length turiics recall the erotes, 
boyish winged figures that appeared on ancient Roman sarcophagi and are 
considered another possible source for Christian angels (Fig. 25).'''' Not all 
recording angels write in books. A c.1850 toga-wrapped angel at Laurel Hill 
applies its pen to a shield (Fig. 26). Allegheny Cemetery's larger-than-life late 
nineteenth-century Porter angel, created by Enrico Buti of Milan, writes on a 
rectangular slab, suggesting that one's name and deeds were also recorded on 
the gravestone (Fig. 12).''" 

Trumpet Angels 

The trumpet angel, another type found frequently in rural and garden 
cemeteries, connects thematically with the recording angel, participating ii"i the 
end of days and reminding viewers that Judgment is at hand. Seven trumpet 
angels appear in the Book of Revelation. They are a ferocious lot; each trumpet 
blow brings a disaster that destroys earthly life. Yet the trumpet angels of the 
nineteenth-century American rural/ garden cemeteries do not resemble the 

Elisabeth L. Roark 


.'H.. '■* 


Fig. 24. Loomis-Phipps monument, 1890s, granite, Alleglieny Cemetery, 

Pittsburgh, a typical example of a recording angel inscribing 

the deceased's name in the Book of Life. 


Embodying Immortality: Angels in America's Rural Cemeteries, 1850-1900 

Fig. 25. Preston monument, 1870s, marble. Green Mount Cemetery, 

Baltimore, featuring a boyish recording angel that recalls the 

classical erotes, winged beings that appear on Greco-Roman sarcophagi. 

Elisabeth L. Roark 


Fig. 26. King monument, c.1850, marble. Laurel Hill Cemetery, 
Philadelphia, with a recording angel writing not in a book but on a shield. 

96 Embodying Immortality: Angels in America's Rural Cemeteries, 1850-1900 

avenging angels of Revelation. At their most dramatic they appear hurried and 
have a watchful look, eyes cast toward the sky, like the 1880s Hoffman angel in 
Baltimore's Green-Mount Cemetery (Fig. 27). Duplicates of the Hoffman angel 
are found at Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia and West Laurel Hill in Bala 
Cynwyd, Pennsylvania, and another appears at Mount Auburn. The trumpet 
angel is one type of angel found on colonial gravestones, where they are 
depicted in relief, actively blowing their trumpets.*^' Occasionally the trumpets 
emit words, such as "Arise ye Dead," which suggest that the type reminded 
viewers not only of Revelation, but also of I Corinthians 15:52: "the trumpet 
shall sound, and the dead will rise incorruptible."'^- Trumpet-blowing angels 
were a popular motif on nineteenth-century Pennsylvania Dutch gravestones 
and in needlework as well. 

Like colonial trumpet angels, trumpet angel sculptures in rural and garden 
cemeteries most likely functioned not only as emblems of apocalypse but also 
as embodiments of resurrection. The Rev. Henry Harbaugh, Lutheran author 
of Heaven: or, an Enquiry into the Abode of the Sainted Dead (1857), wrote that 
at the end of the world, Christ "shall send his angels with a great sound of 
a trumpet and they shall gather his elect from the four winds, from one end 
of heaven to the other," an idea based on Matthew 24:31.'" The trumpet was 
considered a particularly Protestant symbol because much Protestant theology 
is based on the books of the apostle Paul, who wrote of trumpet angels in I 
Thessalonians 4:16 in addition to I Corinthians: "For the Lord himself will 
descend with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of 
God: and the dead in Christ will rise first."""^ 

Michael the Archangel 

A seventh type of angel sculpture is the archangel Michael, the warrior 
angel who defeats Satan (Jude 9, Revelation 12:7-9). Michael is found less 
frequently in the rural/ garden cemeteries than the other types, probably 
because Catholics consider Michael a saint. Martin Luther particularly 
challenged Catholic veneration of Michael.''"^ Laurel Hill Cemetery has a c.1850 
Michael sculpture identified by his armor, partially concealed by a cloak, and 
sword, now missing its blade (Fig. 28). Like the trumpet angels, this Michael 
is benign, his sword down and his expression calm, portraying a confident 
protector of the deceased and consoler of the bereaved. Other nineteenth- 
century representations of Michael appear at Mount Auburn and Green- 
Wood in Brooklyn. Michael was by far the most prominent angel in medieval 
belief, founded on Jewish reverence for Michael as the guardian of Israel, and 
was linked in several ways to death in Catholic dogma and imagery.'''' He is 
the archangel believed to weigh souls to determine their worthiness, to battle 
demons over the fate of the soul, and to escort the soul to heaven. 

Some suggest that the trumpet angels represent Gabriel, the only other 
archangel named in the Bible (Protestants rejected the Book of Tobit, the only 
book in the Bible where another archangel, Raphael, appears, as apochryphal). 

Elisabeth L. Roark 


Fig. 27. Hoffman monument, c.1888, marble. Green Mount Cemetery, 
Baltimore, with an angel recalling the trumpet angels of the 
Book of Revelation, I Corinthians 15, and I Thessalonians 4. 

Embodying Immortality: Angels in America's Rural Cemeteries, 1850-1900 

J -- 

Fig. 28. Abrams monument, c.1850, marble. Laurel Hill Cemetery, 

Philadelphia. Sculptures of the sword-bearing archangel 

Michael (here with missing sword blade) are rare in predominantly 

Protestant garden cemeteries before 1900, probably because of 

Michael's association with Catholicism. 

Elisabeth L. Roark 99 

Tradition associates Gabriel with the archangel who sounds "the trump of 
God" in I Thessalonians, even though Paul did not name this angel. As noted, 
many trumpet angels appear in the Bible, none explicitly linked to Gabriel. 
No nineteenth-century sources used for this study associated Gabriel with the 
trumpet angels, although in 1875 the line, "Come down, Gabriel, and blow 
your horn," appeared in the popular minstrel song, "Angels Meet Me at the 
Crossroads."''^ It seems unlikely, however, that nineteenth-century Protestants 
would uniformly connect trumpet angels to Gabriel. Unlike Michael, Gabriel 
was not as explicitly involved in death; his connection to the Virgin Mary 
through the Annunciation, which bolstered his popularity in the Middle Ages, 
niade him less appealing to many Protestants; and none of the trumpet angels 
discovered thus far in the rural cemeteries are shown with Gabriel's distinctive 
attribute, the lily.'^^ 

Child Angels 

In addition to the seven angel monument types that appear repeatedly 
in rural cemeteries, one additional stock angel is the child angel. Not to be 
confused with cherubs or putti, who are represented nude or lightly draped 
and are also found in the rural cemeteries, child angels typically appear to 
be two to five years old and wear simple shifts (Figs. 29, 30). Like their adult 
counterparts, they usually gaze at the grave, pray, record, or hold flowers. 
Text sources describing child angels indicate a dramatically different meaning 
for this angel: a widespread belief that children turned into angels at death.'''' 
Perhaps the tragedy of a child's death demanded a different, more consoling 
message. Two popular epitaphs read: 

God needed one more Angel child 

Amidst his shining band 
And so he bent with loving smile 
And clasped our Martha's hand. 

Bent an angel low at even. 

Placed a wreath upon her brow. 

Bore her suffering spirit homeward — 

Rosa is an angel now!'°° 

Cemetery historian David Sloane described rural cemeteries as "scenes of 
adoration of dead youth."'"' A popular song, "Put My Little Shoes Away," 
1870, is a testament to the often maudlin nature of mid-century writing about 
dead and dying children: 

I am going to leave you Mother, 

So remember what I say. 

Oh! do it, won't you please dear Mother, 

Put my little shoes away . . .. 


Embodying Immortality: Angels in America's Rural Cemeteries, 1850-1900 


Fig. 29. Louise Inman monument, c.1888, marble, Oakland Cemetery, 

Atlanta. Child angels often play the same roles as their adult 

counterparts; on the Inman monument the young angel is 

recording on a natural form, perhaps part of the tree stump, 

above a scroll inscribed with the deceased's name. 

Mother I will be an angel. 

By perhaps another day; 

So will then dearest Mother, 

Put my little shoes away.'"- 

Despite improvements in modern medicine, the death rate of children 
remained quite high in the latter half of the iiineteenth century. Diseases, 
particularly cholera, scarlet fever, and typhus, devastated whole families. Not 
surprisingly, popular consolation literature about children's deaths shows 
nineteenth-century Americans at their most sentimental. The Presbyterian 
Rev. Theodore Cuyler, author of The Empty Crib (1873), wrote: "In almost 
every home there is stored away, among its most cherished treasures, a little 

Elisabeth L. Roark 


Fig. 30. Percy Graeme Turnbull monument, c.1882, marble. 

Green Mount Cemetery, Baltimore. Child angels, 

found primarily above children's graves, may reflect the widespread 

belief that children turned into angels at death. 

102 Embodying Immortality: Angels in America's Rural Cemeteries. 1850-1900 

photograph, or a box of toys, a torn cap, or a tiny pair of shoes. They tell a story 
too deep for words . . . perhaps in yonder nursery a little crib grows deeper 
until it deepens into a grave."'"' Consolation literature for bereaveci parents 
emphasized that the child was too good, too pure to remain on earth, and that 
parents should not grieve for they would be reunited with the child in heaven. 
The child-angel sculptures in rural and garden cemeteries provided visual, 
physical confirmation of the heavenly arrival. 

While child angel sculptures are usually of ambiguous gender, the gender 
of adult cemetery angels is another aspect of the monunients that provides 
insight into social constructions of death in the nineteenth century. Today 
most viewers would describe cemetery angels as female (current iniages of 
angels are predominantly female). Biblically, angels are considered purely 
spiritual beings and so have no gender, although several passages describe 
theni as manifesting as men, and the archangels bear masculine names — 
Michael, Gabriel, Raphael. According to Pseudo-Dionysus, writing c. 500 
CE, they took the shape of n^ien on earth to accommodate the limitations 
of human perception.'""* In medieval depictions, angels usually wore bulky 
robes that provided little indication of gender, although they appear to be 
primarily male or androgynous. During the Renaissance, angels developed 
more feminized forms, perhaps due to a revival of interest in classical sources 
like the Nikes, but more likely to emphasize their androgyny. Renaissance 
angels are typically soft, graceful, idealized humans with wings, although the 
nude and nearly nude angels that first appear at this time are always male, as 
is the archangel Michael. 

In rural cemeteries, most mid-nineteenth-century angels lack breasts, the 
clearest signifier of female gender, but have long hair, a roundness of form, and 
dainty facial features (Figs. 10, 11, 14, 18), although there are exceptions (Fig. 
15). Feminized angels are consistent with the association of women and death 
in the nineteenth century. As keepers of the home, women were responsible 
for care of the dead until the professional death care industry developed in 
urban areas in the 1870s and 1880s. Mourning, because it involved emotions, 
was viewed as more appropriate for woman. Cemetery angels demonstrated 
the "feminine" qualities of kindness, sympathy, and care, encouraging a 
connection between angels and women (as do the cemeteries' pleiirants, or 
weepers, secular figures without wings who are almost always female). As 
one commentator noted, "Women embody better than men all that is meant 
by angels," adding, "but this falls from ideal religious conception."'"' The 
numbers of clearly male angels (Figs. 9, 16, 25, 26, 28) in cemeteries often come 
as a surprise to modern viewers, and suggest that the feminization of mourning 
as a defining characteristic of this period may be over-exaggerated. Debate 
about this issue could be intense. Frank Owen Payne's 1921 article, "Angels in 
American Sculpture," noted that "there is no more amusing discussion than 
that concerning the sex of angels and the acrimony with which polemical wars 

Elisabeth L. Roark 103 

have been waged concerning that most absurd of all considerations." Citing an 
incident where overtly gendered angels were removed from the fagade of the 
Cathedral of St. Joliii the Divine in New York City, Payne concluded: "that the 
question of sex should have ever come up for consideration is preposterous." '"'' 
William Couper (1853-1942), a prominent sculptor who carved angels as 
graveniarkers and as public sculpture throughout his long career continued to 
believe, according to his granddaughter, "that angels should evoke both male 
and female characteristics and be reverent representations of higher values. 
He achieved a distinctive androgynous look in his angels, using features 
both strong and soft."'"^ Around the turn of the century, cemetery angels 
clearly became more perceptibly female (Fig. 23), and female angels appear to 
predominate in the early twentieth century. 

More importantly, cemetery angels — physical, bodily manifestations 
instead of vague spirits or winged heads — made heaven and immortality 
almost tangible, particularly when viewed within idealized garden landscapes 
that resembled contemporary conceptions of heaven. '°^ Not overtly grieving 
at death because it was the gateway to eternity, but appearing authoritative 
and at peace, angel sculptures modeled appropriate emotions. Religion 
historian Steven Chase describes angels as polysemic: "they have the capacity 
of possessing many levels of meaning at once, they point beyond themselves 
giving added nieaning to ordinary experiences, they become agents of 
transformation."'"'' The multiple meanings of rural cemetery angels reflect 
some of the consuming issues of the age. Ideas about resurrection and life after 
death, the fates of the soul and the body, and the connection between death 
and nature all encouraged the selection of angel monuments. The angels that 
filled rural cemeteries in the second half of the nineteenth century were not 
erected to teach history lessons. Instead, an angel monument was a dynamic 
presence that attended to visitors' emotional needs, revealing a shift in the 
meaning and function of cemeteries in the latter half of the nineteenth century. 
The eight types of angel sculptures articulated the hope for eternal life and 
helped the bereaved negotiate death. To us they impart not only their own 
specific messages but also substantial clues to changing societal beliefs about 
death and the afterlife. 


^ All photographs are by the author unless otherwise noted. Many thanks to David 
Wilkins, Thomas Armstrong, Susan Olsen, Joseph Edgette, and other members of 
the American Culture Association Cemeteries and Gravemarkers sessions who 
contributed ideas or resources to this study, and to editor Gary Collison and the three 
anonymous readers. Cemeteries visited for this study include Allegheny Cemetery, 
Pittsburgh (1844), Crown Hill in Indianapolis (1864), Forest Lawn in Buffalo (1849), 
Graceland in Chicago (1860), Green Mount in Baltimore (1838), Green-Wood in 
Brooklyn (1838), Homewood in Pittsburgh (1878), Lake View in Cleveland (1869), 

104 Embodying Immortality: Angels in America's Rural Cemeteries, 1850-1900 

Laurel Hill in Philadelphia (1836), Magnolia in Charleston (1851), Oakland in Atlanta 
(1850), West Laurel Hill in Philadelphia (1870), Woodlands in Philadelphia (1840), 
and Woodlawn in the Bronx (1863). Homewood, West Laurel HiU, and Woodlawn 
are early examples of landscape-lawn plan design, which involved more uniform and 
spacious landscapes than the English picturesque garden style of the rural cemeteries 
but maintained many of their physical features and ideological implications, 
particularly the collaboration of art and nature relevant to angel sculpture. See David 
Charles Sloan, TJie Last Great Necessity: Cemeteries in American Histonj (Baltimore: 
Johns Hopkins University, 1991), 95, 99-113. 

-Its exceptional nature is evident in its inclusion in Frank Owen Payne, "The Angel 
in American Sculpture," Art and Archaeology 11 A (April 1921): 159. Thanks to Susan 
Olsen, historian at Woodlawn Cemetery, the Bronx, for sharing this article with me. 
The sculpture is illustrated in Elise Madeleine Ciregna, "Museum in the Garden: 
Mount Auburn Cemetery and American Sculpture, 1840-1860," Markers XXI: Annual 
journal of the Association for Gravestone Studies (2004), 136. 

^On American copies of Story's Angel ofDeatJi, see Sybil Crawford, "hiiitation: A 
World of Cemetery Look-Alikes," Associatio)i for Gravestone Studies Quarterii/ 27.3 
(Summer 2002): 8-10. Sculptures of prostrate mourners from the late-nineteenth and 
early twentieth centuries are found frequei^itly in European cemeteries. See David 
Robinson and Dean Koontz, Beautiful Death: The Art of the Cemeteiy (New York: 
Penguin Studio, 1996), and Sandra Berresford, Italian Memorial Sculpture, 1820-1940: 
A Legacy of Love (London: Francis Lincoln, 2004). On angels' inability to grieve, see 
David Keck, Angels and Angelology in the Middle Ages (Oxford: Oxford University, 
1998), 34, 108, 112. 

^John F. Sears, Sacred Places: American Tourist Attractions in the Nineteenth Century 
(Oxford: Oxford University, 1989), xx. 

^The founding dates of Fairmount Park are in dispute. See Michael J. Lewis, "The 
First Design for Fairmount Park, Pennsylvania Magazine of History ami Biography (July, 
2006), http://www.historycooperative.Org/journals/pmh/130.3/lewis.htmL which 
also addresses the significance of rural cemetery design for the first large urban 
parks. Useful sources on the history of the rural cemetery movement include Blanche 
Linden-Ward, Silent City on a HiU: Landscapes of Memory and Boston's Mount Aidnirn 
(Columbus: Ohio University, 1989), and Sloan, Last Great Necessity. 

^J. Henderson M'Carty, Inside the Gates (Cincimiati: Hitchcock and Walden, 1876), 

^Sloane, Last Great Necessity, 95. 

^Colleen McDamiell, Material Christianity: Religion and Popular Culture in America 
(New Haven: Yale University, 1995), 130-31. On Protestants and the visual arts, see 
David Morgan and Sally Promney, The Visual Culture of American Religions (Berkeley: 
University of California, 2001), xii, and Sally Promney, "Pictorial Ambivalence and 
American Protestantism," Crossroads: Art and Religion in American Life (New York: 
New Press, 2001), 191-92. 

■^ The practice of erecting family monuments ante-mortem is noted in Jacob Speer, 
"The Allegheny Cemetery: Historical Account," Allegheny Cemetery: Historical 
Accounts of Incidents and Events Connected with Its Establislmioit (Pittsburgh: Blakewell 
and Marthens, 1873), 13, and Samuel W. Thomas, Cave HiU Cemetery: A Pictorial 
Guide and History of Louisville's "City of the Dead" (Louisville, KY: Cave Hill Cemetery 
Company, 2001), 37. 

^^^ Allegheny Cemetery, 64, 120. The Shoenberger angel in Figure 3 has lost the child it 
comforted, its head, its wings, and its hands. 

Elisabeth L. Roark 105 

" Gumiar Berefelt, A Study of the Winged Angel: Tlie Origin of a Mo fz/ (Stockholm: 
Almquist and Wiksell, 1968), 17; Keck, Angels and Angelology, 30; Rosemary Ellen 
Guiley, The Encyclopedia of Angels, 2"^' ed. (New York: Checkmark, 2004), 30, 179; Allen 
Duston and Arthur Nesselrath, Making the Invisible Visible: Angels from the Vatican, 
exhibition catalogue (Alexandria, VA: Art Services International, 1998), 46, 391. The 
connection between the earliest Christian angels and the Nike/ Victory is challenged 
by Arnold Nesselrath, "Wrestling with Angels: Making the Invisible Visible," in 
Duston and Nesselrath, Angels from the Vatican, 46. Yet in the same book, Maurizio 
Samiibale and Paolo Liverani, "The Classical Origins of Angel Iconography," 69-70, 
describe the Nike/Victory as "far more appropriate a model" for Christian angels 
than the other beings cited as possible sources including erotes and Assyrian genii. 
Glemi Peers, Subtle Bodies: Representing Angels in Byzantium (Berkeley: University 
of California, 2001), 28-33, addresses other ancient forms as possible sources for 
Cliristian angels in addition to Nikes, noting that "the dependence of the iconography 
of Christian angels on pagan models is complex." 

^-Duston and Nesselrath, Angels from the Vatican, 69; Berefelt, Study of the Winged 
Angel, 21-31. 

■^^ Peers, Subtle Bodies, 25-26. 

^■* Pseudo-Dionysus the Aeropagite, On the Celestial Hierarchy, http:// www. esoteric. 

■^^ Steven Chase, Angelic Spirituality: Medieval Perspectives on the Ways of Angels 
(Mahwah, NJ: Paulist, 2002), 16, 20-21, 25-35. 

^*'Keck, Angels and Angelology, 29, 56. On the significance of Pseudo-Dionysus for the 
medieval scholastics, see Keck, 49-50, 55-56. 

^^Keck, Angels and Angelology, 11; Peter Marshall and Alexandra Walsham, 
"Migrations of Angels in the Early Modern World," in Peter Marshall and Alexandra 
Walsham, eds.. Angels in the Early Modern World (Cambridge: Cambridge University, 
2006), 10. 

^^Keck, Angels and Angelology , 203 

^^ Berefelt, Winged Angel, 16. 

^° Bruce Gordon, "The Renaissance Angel," in Marshall and Walsham, eds.. Angels in 
the Early Modern World, 41. 

-^ Philip Soergel, "Luther on the Angels," in Marshall and Walsham, eds.. Angels in 
the Early Modern World, 64-82. 

^Quoted in Chase, Angelic Spirituality, 1. 

^■'Quoted in Marshall and Walsham, "Migrations," 14. 

24 Ibid. 

2^ Quoted in Elizabeth Reis, "Otherwordly Visions: Angels, Devils and Gender in 
Puritan New England," in Marshall and Walsham, eds.. Angels in the Early Modern 
World, 285-87. 

-^Keck, Angels and Angelology, 30-33, 93-99; Marshall and Walsham, "Migrations," 5; 
Alexandra Walsham, "Angels and Idols in England's Long Reformation," in Marshall 
and Walsham, eds.. Angels in the Early Modern World," 134-40, 143-45, 158-59, 160-62; 
and Peers, Subtle Bodies, 11, 17. Peers notes that images of angels were also at the 
center of the Eastern Orthodox Church's iconoclastic controversy of the eight and 
ninth centuries. 

106 Embodying Immortality: Angels in America's Rural Cemeteries, 1850-1900 

-" Walsham, "Arigels and Idols," 140-44, 159-61. Scholarship is also contradictory 
on the issue of the Protestarit represeritation of angels. Historians Peter Marshall 
and Alexandra Walsham see the belief in angels as enduring for most Protestants, 
especially at death: "The particular association between arigels and death, so marked 
a feature of medieval religion, persisted into the Reformation era. . . . niany Protestant 
writers proved remarkably traditionalist in their perceptions of angels strengthening 
the faith of the sick on their deathbeds, and subsequently . . . carrying the souls to 
rest in 'Abraham's bosom.' Marshall and Walsham, "Migrations," 17, and Peter 
Marshall, "Angels at the Deathbed: Variations on a Theme in the English Elizabeth 
Reis, "Otherworldly Art of Dying," in Marshall and Walsham, eds.. Angels in the 
Early Modem World, 83-103. But Elizabeth Reis asserts that angels were "scarce in 
Calvinistic New England" ("Otherworldly Visions," 282). 

^® Laurel Gabel, "An Analysis of 9,188 Boston Gravestones," Association of Gravestone 
Studies Quarterly 30.1 (2006), 4-8. 

■^^ Marshall, "Angels at the Deathbed," 83. AUai-i Ludwig, Graven Images: Nezu England 
Stonecarving and its Symbols, 1650-1815 (Middletown, CT: Weslyan University, 1966); 
Peter Benes, Masks of Orthodoxy: Folk Gravestone Carving in Plymouth, Massachusetts, 
1689-1805 (Amherst: University of Massachusetts, 1977), 56, 228 n.84; Dickran 
and Ann Tashjian, Memorials for Cluldren of Change: The Art of Early Neiu Englaiui 
Stonecarving (Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University, 1974), 62-63. 

■^^ James Deetz and Edwiri Dethlefsen, "The Doppler Effect and Archaeology: A 
Consideration of the Spatial Aspects of Seration," Soutlnvestern Jounml of Anthropology 
21.3 (1965): 196-206. Gabel, "Boston-Area Gravestones," 7, indicates that a survey 
of nearly 10,000 colonial gravestones reveals that winged skulls far outnumbered 
winged faces in the Boston area well into the eighteenth century. 

^^ Reis, "Otherworldly Visions," 292-94. 

^-Tashjian and Tashjian, Memorials for Oiildren of Change; Dickran Tashjian, "Puritan 
Attitudes Toward Iconoclasm," in Peter Benes, ed., Puritan Gravestone Art U (Boston: 
Boston University, 1978), 43-45. 

^■^ Ludwig, Graven Images, plates 157b, 172b, 178b, 220. 

■''* Charles Dempsey, Inventing the Renaissance Putto (Chapel Hill, NC: University of 
North Carolina, 2001). 

■'^Ludwig, Graven Images, 14-15, 202-16, 223. The Betsy Shaw gravestone, 1795, 
pictured in Ludwig, 205, makes this implication explicit by showing a winged head 
arising from a brick tomb. See also Sloane, Last Great Necessity, 22. Benes, Masks of 
Orthodoxy, 45, 46, 133, labels the winged beings that have more human faces as angels 
but also interprets them as resurrected souls. 

^^ Quoted in James Deetz, /;/ Snmll Thijigs Forgottoi: An Archaeology of Early American 
Life, rev. ed. (New York: Doubleday, 1996), 99^. See Benes, Masks of Orthodoxy, 28-31, 
oil the shifting attitudes toward death in the Plymouth Colony. 

^^ Ludwig, Graven Images, 234. 

^*^ Peter Benes, "Sky Colors and Scattered Clouds: Decorative and Architectural 
Painting of New England Meeting Houses, 1738-1834," and Bettina Norton, 
"Anglican Embellishments: The Contributions of John Gibbs, Junior, and William 
Price to the Cliurch of England iii Eighteenth-Century Boston," in Peter Benes, ed., 
Nexv England Meeting House and Church: 1630-1850, Dublin Seminar for New England 
Folklife Annual Proceedings 1979 (Boston: Boston University, 1979?), 66-68, 71-73, 77- 
78, 80-85. 

3'^ Linden-Ward, Silent City, 2-3, 12, 13, 168, 194, 226-27, 283; Sloari, Last Great 

Elisabeth L. Roark 107 

Ncrcssih/, 80-83. 

^'^ All Bible quotations are from the King James Bible, the text used most frequently 
by nineteenth-century Protestants. 

"*' T. J. Pettigrew, "Religion and Sculpture/' in Wilson Flagg, Mount Aiibiini, Its 
Scenes, Its Beauties, Its Lessons (Boston: J. Munroe, 1861), 82, and "Cemeteries and 
Monuments: A Review of Tlie Rural Cemeteries in Neio England," New Englander 7.28 
(November 1849): 449-50. 

"'-Nicholas Pemiy, Churdi Monuments in Romantic England (New Haven: Yale 
University, 1977), 127; McDaiTnell and Lang, Heaven, 189; Marshall and Waltham, 
"Migrations," 39; McDarmell, Material Christianity, 187-88. 

■^'^ Kaulbach (1805-74), court painter to Ludwig I of Bavaria, was connected to the 
Nazarenes, a group of German artists who wished to reconcile religious subject 
matter and modern painting. For information on Kaulbach in English, see Avraham 
Ronen, "Kaulbach's Wandering Jew: An Anti-Jewish Allegory and Two Jewish 
Responses," http: / / arts/ projects/ PUB/ assaph-art/ assaphS/ articles_ 
assaph3/ronen.pdf. Currier and Ives also copied Kaulbach's Angel of Peace. See 
Martha V. Pike, A Time to Mourn: Expressions of Grief in Nineteenth Centun/ America, 
exhibition catalogue (Stony Brook, NY: Museums at Stony Brook, 1981), 143. 

""Jonathan L. Fairbanks and Rebecca Ann Gay Reynolds, "The Art of Forest Hills 
Cemetery," Antiques 154.5 (November 1998): 696-703, draw a similar conclusion, 
noting the prevalence of monuments by Italian sculptors at Forest Hills, a rural 
cemetery in Boston, MA. They also describe this area of scholarship as "undeservedly 
neglected," which mirrors my findings (Elisabeth L. Roark, "hmocence and Italian 
Stonecarving: Giovanni Benzoni's Monument for Mrs. John Pendleton Kemiedy 
in Baltimore's Green Mount Cemetery," paper presented at the American Culture 
Association Annual Meeting, 14 April 2006, Atlanta, GA). See also Cinzia Siccia and 
Alison Yarrington, "Introduction," and Luisa Passeggia, "The Marble Trade: The 
Lazzerini Workshop and the Arts, Crafts, and Entrepreneurs of Carrara in the Early 
Nineteenth Century," in Cinzia Siccia and Alison Yarrington, eds., Tlie Lustrous Trade: 
Material Culture and the History ofScidpture in England and Italy (London: Leicester 
University, 2000), 3-14, 156-73, and Berresford, ItaUan Memorial Sculpture, 8, 23, 32, 
which notes that duplicates of some Italian angel monuments appear all over Italy, 
throughout Europe, and in North and South America. 

'*-'' Sears, Roebuck and Company, Tombstones and Monuments (Chicago, 1902); 
American Bronze Company, Monuments (Chicago, 1891); Dempster, Carrara, Italy, 
Excelsior Statuary Design (Boston, 1895); Monumental Bronze Company, Wliite Bronze 
Monuments (Bridgeport, CT, 1882); and E. C Willison, Willison Imported and Sold 
Wliolesale Marble, Granite, and Statuary (Boston, c.1890). 

^^ Marshall and Walsham, "Migrations," 35-39, note that in the late-seventeenth 
and eighteenth centuries "across western Europe Protestant clergy collected and 
publicized stories of angelic activities and appearances as never before," using them 
to counter rationalist skepticism and the rise of atheism, particularly as hard-line 
Protestantism relaxed. 

^^ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Complete Poetical Works ofHoiry Wadsworth 
Longfellozii (Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, n.d.), 5. 

^*^ Ibid., 107. 

'^^ Ibid., 432-33. 

^° George Clayton, Jr., Angelology: Remarks and Reflections Touching the Agency and 
Ministrations of Holy Angels; loith Reference to Tlieir History, Rank, Titles, Attributes, 

108 Embodying Immortality: Angels in America's Rural Cemeteries, 1850-1900 

Chamcteristics, Residence, Society, Employmenis and Pursuits; Interspersed xoitJi Traditional 
Particulars Respecting Tliem (New York: Henry Kernot, 1851), 21-22, 32. 

-^ Ami Douglas, Tiie Feminization of American Culture (New York: Alfred A. 
Knopf, 1977), 204, 254-55. There was no similar genre of ntourning literature in the 
seventeenth or eighteenth century. 

^"William Holcombe, Our Children in Heaven (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippencott, 1869), 

^^^ Laurence Lerner, Angels and Absences: Child Deaths in the Nineteenth Centun/ 
(Nashville: Vanderbilt University, 1997), 183-89; Linden-Ward, Silent City, 12^ 36, 145- 

^'* Quoted in Wendy Greenhouse, "Daniel Huntington and the Ideal of Christian 
Art," Winter thur Portfolio 31.2, 3 (Summer/ Autumn, 1996): 113. 

^^ Colleen McDannell, Material Christianity, 125-27. 

^•^ John Davis, "Catholic Envy: The Visual Culture of Protestant Desire," in Morgan 
and Promney, Visual Culture, 105-28. See also Greenhouse, "Daniel Huntington," 103- 
40; McDannell, Material Christianity; and especially Jemiy Franchot, Roads to Rome: Tlte 
Antebellum Protestant Encounter with Catholicism (Berkeley: University of California, 
1994), which explicates the complexities of this issue. 

^^ Jeffrey L Richman, Brooklyn's Green-Wood Cemetery: Neio York's Buried Treasure 
(Brooklyn: Green- Wood Cemetery, 1998), 30-32. The website for the cemetery, http://, offers a detailed discussion of the Cauda monument. 

^'^ Payne, "Angels in American Sculpture," 156, 157. 

^'''' Keck, Ajigels ami Angelology, 161-63. 

''^'Marshall and Walsham, "Migrations," 15, 16; Soergel, "Luther on the Angels," 66, 
72-73. See also Elizabeth Reis, "Immortal Messengers: Angels, Gender, and Power in 
Early America," in Nancy Isenberg and Andrew Burstein, Mortal Remains: Death in 
Early America (Philadelphia: University of Pemisylvania, 2003), 163-65. 

^^ Emanuel Swedenborg, Heaven and Its Wonders, Tlie World of the Spirits, And Hell: 
Prom Tilings Seen and Heard (New York: American Swedenborg Printing, 1872; 
originally published London, 1758); Clara Erskine Clement, Angels in Art (Boston: L. 
C. Page, 1898), 135-45. See also Colleen McDannell and Bernliard Lang, "Swedenborg 
and the Emergence of a Modern Heaven," in Heaven: A History, 2"'^ ed. (New York: 
Yale University, 2001), 181-227. 

^^Mrs. Stone, God's Acre, or Historical Notes Relating to Churchyards, 1858, quoted in 
John Morley, Death, Heaven and the Victorians (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh, 
1975), 104. 

^■'William Truettner and Alan Wallach, eds., Thomas Cole: Landscape Into History, 
exhibition catalogue (Washington, DC: National Museum of American Art, 1994), 97- 

^''^ McDannell and Lang, Heaven, 186. 

'^^ Richard Jackson, "Angels' Visits and Other Vocal Gems of Victorian America," 

^^ Many thanks to Anita Schorsch, director of the Museum of Mourning Art at 
Arlington Cemetery, Drexel Hill, PA, for alerting me to the soul's gender in emblem 
books. On the continuing popularity of emblem books, see Truettner and Wallach, 
Thomas Cole, 98. For photographs and a discussion of the Bemiett monument, see 

Elisabeth L. Roark 109 The theme of an angel carrying the soul of a child 
aloft also appears on elaborate mourning brooches of the late eighteenth to late 
nineteenth century, which may have also served as sources for monument designers, 
as did popular engravings, book illustrations, and sheet music depicting the same 
theme. See Maureen DeLorme, Mourning Art and Jewelry (Atglen, PA: Schiffer, 2004), 
71-73, 79, 92, 102. 

'" The rhyme was originally published in 1656 by Englishman (and vocal anti- 
Catholic) Thomas Ady, in A Candle in the Dark, or a Treatise Concerning the Nature of 
Witches and Witclicraft. See 

"^Francis E. Percival, Tlie Angel Visitor; or, Voices of the Heart (Philadelphia: J. W. 
Bradley, 1859), 36-37. See also James J. Farrell, Inventing the American Wax/ of Death, 
1830-1920 (Philadelphia: Temple University, 1980), 80, on Henry Ward Beecher's 
views, and Lutheran minister Hemy Harbaugh, Heaven; or, an Earnest and Scriptural 
Inquin/ into the Abode of the Sainted Dead, 13* ed. (Philadelphia: Lindsay and Blakiston, 
1857),'l33, 158. 

^'^ Clayton, Angelologx/, 201. 

7° Marshall, "Deathbed," 86-88, 93-98, 100, 101. 

''^ George Wood, Tlie Gates Wide Open; or, Scenes in Another World (Boston: Lee and 
Shepard, 1869), 231. 

'- Tlie Gospel Hymnal: or Hymns and Tunes for Oiristian Worship (Dayton, OH: 
Cl-iristian Publishing Association, 1880), 600, 601. Titled both "Angel Band" and 
"The Land of Beulah," the lyrics were written by Rev. Jefferson Hascall in 1860 and 
the tune by William Batchelder Bradbury in 1862. 

^3 Keck, Angels and Angelology, 37-38, 44, 163, 168-69. 

^'* Although Hays' death date was 1881, the sculpture's degree of wear and 
uncomfortable relationship to its granite base suggest an earlier date, as does its pure 
neoclassical style. It was not uncommon to re-use cemetery monuments, moving 
them to new locations and placing them on new bases. The originality of the angel's 
form and the delicacy of the carving also suggest an earlier date. There is a nearly 
identical angel, though it faces left rather than right, on the Baker monument in 
Green- Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, standing on a marble base inscribed with death 
dates as early as 1854. 

''Thomas, Cave Hill, 120. See also June Hadden Hobbs, "Say It with Flowers in the 
Victorian Cemetery," Markers XIX: Annual Journal of the Association for Gravestone 
Studies (2002), 240-71. Crawford, "Imitation," 10-11, calls variations on this form "The 
Maiden Strewing Petals" and "The Lily Lady" since it appears both with and without 
wings, and notes that "a majority of such marble markers 

. . . were ordered from Italian sculpture factories. Although they specialized in mass- 
produced patterns, it is made clear they were purchased at no small expense." 

'*' Harriet Martineau, Retrospect of Western Travel (London: Saunders & Otterly, 1838), 
233. See also David Appleton White, An Address, Delivered at the Consecration of the 
Harmony Grove Cemetery in Salem, June 14, 1840 (Salem: Gayette, 1840), 7-8. 

'^Charles Fraser, Magnolia Cemetery: the Proceedings of the Dedication of tlie Grounds 
(Charleston, SC: S. C. Walker and Sons, 1851), 4, 14. See also Hobbs, "Say It with 
Flowers," 242. 

''^ Jacob Bigelow, "Internment of the Dead," in Cornelia W. Walter, Mount Auburn 

110 Embodying Immortality: Angels in America's Rural Cemeteries. 1850-1900 

Illustrated (1846), 29, quoted in Gary Laderman, The Sacred Remains: American Attitudes 
Toward Death, 1799-1883 (New Haven: Yale University, 1996), 71-72. 

^'''According to David Keck, "aiigels played a significant role in burial customs and 
respect for graves even in the first Christian centuries," and continued this role on 
medieval tombstones. Keck, Angels ami Angelology, 204. 

^° White, Harmony Grove, 6-7. 

^^ Daniel C. Eddy, Angel WInspers; or The Echo of Spirit Voices (Boston, 1859), 35. 

^'William B. Moore and Stephen C. Davies, "'Rosa Is an Angel Now': Epitaphs 
from Crawford County, Pennsylvania," Western Pewisylvania Historical Magazi)ie 58.1 
(January, 1975): 21. 

^■^ Jean Danielou, The Angels and Their Mission, trans. David Heiman (Westminster, 
MD: Newman, 1957), 106; Laderman, Sacred Remains, 82. 

'^"'Thomas Thayer, Over the River; or, Pleasant Walks into the Valley of Shadows, and 
Beyoiui (Boston: Northeast Universalist, 1862), 227. 

^^See for epitaphs in 
Cook-Pinkham Cemetery in Casco, Maine. The lines appear on the Ephraim Cook 
marker, dated 1853. 

^•^ Henry Kirke Brown's William Satterlee Packer monument in Green- Wood 
Cemetery, Brooklyn, also c.1850, has a bronze pointing figure with an identical 
marble base but it wears a looser gown and has no wings. See Richman, Green-Wood 
Cemetery, 34. 

^^7 Sloan, Last Great Necessity, 65, 79, 86, 87. 

^^ Thayer, Over the River, 234. See DeLorme, Mourning Jeioelry, 93, for a cameo of a 
recording angel. 

**'^ Berefelt, Winged Angel, 96. 

^"See Berresford, Italian Memorial Sculpture, 60, for Buti's original in the Cimitero 
Monumentale, Milan. The Porter angel is a bronze cast of an earlier marble angel 
whose wings fell off due to Pittsburgh's destructive industrial air. A smaller version 
in marble is at Crown Hill Cemetery, Indianapolis, although its hands were recently 
restored incorrectly. 

^^ In rural and garden cemeteries, full-bodied trumpet angels typically hold the 
trumpets but do not blow them, perhaps due to the difficulty of carving this pose in 
the round. 

^^Ludwig, Graven Images, 109-14. 

^■^Harbaugh, Heaven, 256. 

'^'^ Deborah Trask, Life How Short, Eternity Hozo Long: Gravestone Carving and Carvers i)i 
Nova Scotia (Halifax: Nova Scotia Museum, 1978), 28. 

^^Soergel, "Luther on the Angels," 74-76. 

^^ Peers, Subtle Bodies, 8; Keck, Angels and Angelology, 38, 63-64, 170, 179-80, 205; 
Marshall and Walsham, "Migrations," 11. 

^^ Lyrics by William Shakespeare Hays, 

^^On Gabriel in the Middle Ages, see Keck, Angels ami Angelology, 5-6, 40-41, 68, 170- 
71, and Marshall and Walsham, 11. 

Elisabeth L. Roark 111 

'"'On children turning into angels at death, see Kimberley Reynolds, "Fatal Fantasies: 
the Death of Children in Victorian and Edwardian Fantasy Writing," in Gillian 
Avery and Kimberlev Reynolds, eds.. Representations of Childhood Death (New York: 
St. Martin's, 2000), 173-75; Pat Jalland, Deatli in the Victorian Family (Oxford: Oxford 
University, 1996), 123; Lerner, Angels and Absences, 42, 63, 97, 100-02, 140-41, 208; and 
Thomas, Cave Hill, 87. A few sources suggest young women also turned into angels 
at death. The idea that humans became angels was of course heretical to Catholics, 
who argued that all angels were created by God before humans, but the idea was 
fundamental to Swedenborg's conception of angels. 

100 Moore and Davies, "'Rosa Is an Angel Now,'" 1, 21. 

■"^^ Sloane, Last Great Necessity, 72. 

^°- Jackson, Angels' Visits. 

^"'^ Theodore Cuyler, Tlie Empty Crib: A Memorial of Little Georgie (New York: R. 
Carter, 1873), 10, 12. 

^'^'■^ Harbaugh, Heaven, 231-33, stated it was "for convenience's sake." See also J. T. 
Rhodes and Clifford Davidson, "The Gardens of Paradise," in Clifford Davidson, ed.. 
The Iconography of Heaven (Kalamazoo: Western Michigan, 1994), xxiii; Keck, Angels 
and Angelology, 29-30; and Peers, Subtle Bodies, 114. 

^^^-'' Arnold Whittick, Symbols for Designers: A Handbook on the Application of Symbols 
and Symbolism to Design (London: Lackwood, 1935), 150-51. Reis, "Immortal 
Messengers," 173, 175, writing about colonial and early nineteenth-century angel 
sightings, notes that most manifested as male despite period illustrations which 
"often presented a female angel, or at least an ambiguous one," although after 1850 
she insists that images depict angels who are "primarily female." Yet like cemetery 
angels and depictions of angels from earlier historical periods, examination reveals 
that most lack breasts. See also J. T. Rhodes and Clifford Davidson, "Introduction," 
in Davidson, ed.. Iconography of Heaven, xxiii, on the gender of angels. On the 
feminization of mourning, see Douglas, Feminization of American Culture, 200-26, and 
Harvey Green, Light of the Home: An Intimate View of the Lives of Women in Victorian 
America (New York: Pantheon, 1984), 165-79. Jeamiie Banks Thomas, "Cemetery 
Statues: Vengeful Virgins, Naked Mourners and Dead White Guys," in Naked Barbies, 
Warrior Joes, and Other Forms of Visual Gender (Urbana: University of Illinois, 2003), 
15-55, while inaccurate in some details and limited in monuments discussed, offers an 
interesting feminist interpretation of gender in cemetery sculpture. 

10& Payne, "Angels in American Sculpture," 161. 

^°^ Greta Elena Couper, "William Couper: The Man Who Captured Angels," http:// Couper's granddaughter also notes 
that he "had a fascination with angels inspired by the cemetery monuments he had 
watched being constructed in his father's marble works later strengthened by the 
angels in Italian churches." Payne, "Angels in American Sculpture," 161, discusses 
Couper's angel sculpture. Female angels appear to be the norni in Italy during 
the early twentieth century as well. See Franco Sborgi, "Companions on the Final 
Journey: Reflections on the Image of the Angel in Funerary Sculpture during the 
Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries," in Berresford, Italian Memorial Sculpture, 200- 

^°^ I explore the idea of rural cemeteries functioning as a metaphor for heaven in 
Elisabeth L. Roark, "The Rural Cemetery as a Metaphor for Heaven," 2006, typescript. 

^"^ Chase, Angelic Spirituality, 16. 


Borden Thornton (1762-1838), Rliode Island Stonecarver 

u:'- : If-... , ^ ^' 







^. ^ 

Fig. 1. Gravestone for John Colegrove, 1817, Sterling, Connecticut, 
signed, "B. Thornton Sculpter [sic]." 


Borden Thornton (1762-1838), 
Rhode Island Stonecarver 

Vincent F. Luti 


Some time in the 1980s Laurel Gabel, clearinghouse research coordinator 
for the Association for Gravestone Studies and fellow researcher, sent me 
some jottings on a pink slip of paper, the substance of which was that an 1817 
gravestone for John Colegrove in the Oneco Cemetery in Sterling, Connecticut, 
was signed "B. Thornton Sculpter [sic]" [Figs. 1, 2, 3], and also that her research 
had uncovered only two Thorntons in public records whose first nanie began 
with "B." Both of these Thorntons lived in Rhode Island (one in Cranston and 
the other in neighboring Johnston) and both bore the given name of "Borden." 
Since the Colegrove stone was dated 1817, and Cranston's Borden Thornton 
died in 1810, that left only Johnston's Borden Thornton, who died in 1838, as 
the probable carver.' This discovery turned out to be the key to two of the 
puzzles I had encountered in thirty-plus years of documenting eighteenth- 
century stonecarvers in Rhode Island and the larger Narragansett Basin area. 
One of the gravestone puzzles involved stones with a unique effigy design 
that matched no eighteenth-century carver I had seen. The other involved an 
unusual urn or urn-and-willow design in the Johnston area. 

The unusual winged-head effigy gravestones, the first puzzle, looked 
like crude imitations of the gravestones of Gabriel Allen, the most prominent 
Providence stonecarver of his time.' The borders were pretty good imitations 
of Allen's, and the lettering bore Allen-like serifs. Eventually I labeled the 
creator of these gravestones the "Nostril Nose Carver" because the effigies 
had noses with circles for nostrils. My list of turn-of-the-century stone- 
cutters in the Providence area included possible carvers who might have been 
the "Nostril Nose" carver, but when nothing definitive emerged, I abandoned 
the search. 

The second puzzle involved a larger, somewhat later group of grave- 
stones with unusual urn designs. In the summer of 2002, when I finally visited 
the signed Colegrove gravestone in Sterling, Connecticut, that Laurel Gabel 
had pointed out to me two decades earlier, I found the clue I needed. After 
documenting stones in the Providence area with the Colegrove urn and let- 
tering, and plotting characteristic design and lettering elements, I construct- 
ed a chart of some dozen specific design and lettering elements from some 
seventy-plus stones. The result was that the two puzzles I had been mull- 
ing over suddenly turned into a single puzzle, with an answer at last. The 
two types of gravestones at first appeared to be by different carvers — crude 
Gabriel Allen-type winged-head effigy gravestones and unique urn-decorat- 


Borden Thornton (1762-1838), Rhode Island Stonecarver 

W " "»^W "^^A'^^^ ' ^h 

"b - 




Fig. 2. John Colegrove, 1817, tympanum bearing Thornton's typical urn 
with swirling "soft-ice-cream" stopper and a rare willow. 

Fig. 3. Base of John Colegrove, 1817, rubbing, showing elaborate 
calligraphic device and Bordon Thornton's signature below. 

Vincent F. Liiti 115 

ed gravestones — proved to be the work of one and the same carver: Borden 
Thornton of Johnston, Rhode Island. The lettering on the two types showed 
him moving out of the old effigy period of the eighteenth century into the 
urn-and-willow style of the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries. 
This long-sought solution to two mysteries was further confirmed by docu- 
mented payments to Thornton or the words "stone cutter" attached to his name. 
A Rhode Island Historical Society account book showed that in December of 

1796, Thornton received payment for gravestones (presumably a pair of head 
and foot stones).' In the same library, a receipt of 1809 for money paid for 
gravestones carries Borden Thornton's signature.^ Both of the headstones are 
in part still extant. Stephen Merolla of the Johnston Historical Society also 
uncovered an 1829 court case identifying Thornton as a "yeoman alias stone 

Borden Thornton: His Life (Vincent F, Luti and Stephen Merolla) 

Borden Thornton was born in Jol^nston, Rhode Island, to Richard Thornton 
and Meribah Borden on the 14"' of March, 1762, in a large western portion of 
Providence that had become the town of Johnston in 1759.^ (In the pages that 
follow, the name of Johnston will be used, even though the town of Johnston 
was re-incorporated into Providence in 1898). The entire Providence/ Johnston 
line of Thorntons began with the immigrant John (?- ca.l695), a reputed friend 
of Roger Williams. John Thornton came to Newport, Rhode Island, by 1639 
and, after forty years residence there, he moved to Providence, four niiles west 
of Providence village.^ His son Solomon (b. ca. 1660) may have been the father 
of mason and blacksmith Joseph Thornton (b. ca. 1700), the grandfather of 
Borden Thornton. Joseph Thornton Jr. (b. ca. 1734), Borden's uncle, was also 
a mason like his father Joseph Sr.; Borden's brother Pardon (b. 1765) became 
a niason also. There is no direct evidence that Borden was a niason, but the 
family masonry tradition might easily have led the young Borden to become a 
mason and carver of gravestones.^ 

As a young man, Borden Thornton served in the Revolutionary War as 
a "trumpeter," receiving a Rhode Island pension in 1835.'' James Arnold's 
Pension Rolls of 1835 list Borden as a private in the cavalry of the Rhode Island 
militia in Providence County. At a town meeting in April, 1786, Thornton was 
voted "returned free" of the Town of Johriston."- This meant that he had met 
the qualifications to be accepted as a freeman of the town and was able to vote 
and hold office. At that meeting, he participated in electing general officers to 
represent the town in the state General Assembly. At a Town Meeting on the 
June 1, 1789, he was chosen to serve as a constable, and in the same year, he 
married Phebe Carpenter Chaffee, with whom he was to have three sons." In 

1797, three years after Phoebe had died, Thornton remarried.'- The next year, 
Thornton's parents, Richard and Meribah, with "love and natural affection," 
gave to their "well beloved and dutiful Son" a lot of land in Johnston on which 
"the West half of the new House lately erected and built a little westerly from 


Borden Thornton (1762-1838), Rhode Island Stonecarver 

the new Baptist Meeting House and a small distance northerly from the great 
Plainfield Road together with all the said Westerly half part of said Dwelling 
House thereon standing" [Fig. 4].''' The easternmost half of the house went 
to Borden's brother Pardon. '"* The house still stands, but now it is officially 
located in Providence, less than a mile from the new Joliiiston line. 

Borden Thornton appears in the 1800 and 1810 Rhode Island censuses for 
Johnston; household numbers and ages confirm genealogical information.'^ 
His property, originally the Richard Thornton family homestead, consisted of 
some 200 acres that today is part of the Olneyville section of Providence. The 
200 acres were part of a flat plain east of Neutaconkonutt Hill and probably 
were used for farming, crops and/ or animal husbandry, and an orchard of at 
least apple trees. In addition to the house that Borden and Pardon inherited 
by deed in 1798, the 1829 court case reveals that property included a barn, 
crib, chaise house, and cider mill. No "shop" is mentioned, but since carving a 
gravestone does not require extensive space, he could have worked somewhere 
in his house, the barn, or even in a shop no longer extant by 1829. Because his 
gravestone output amounted to only a few stones a year, he must have earned 
his living from a variety of endeavors, including working the family farm. 
We know that in 1792 he held the position of "overseer of the poor," and that 
in 1800 the Johnston Town Council gave Thornton a license to sell liquor at 
his house — home-distilling being a comn^ion sideline for farniers of the era.'^ 
Possibly Thornton also worked as a mason's assistant to his brother Pardon or 

Fig. 4. Borden Thornton's house, 569 Plainfield St., 
Providence, Rhode Island. 

Vincent F. Luti 117 

his uncle Joseph Jr. 

Deeds of 1832 show Thornton selling various parcels of land. In August 
of 1834, a complex series of mortgages, sales, and auctions began that saw 
the final dispersal of the Thornton homestead and property. By June of 1839, 
all of it had wound up in the hands of the related Alverson family.'^ A figure 
involved in these transactions, Jonah Titus, twice petitioned the Johnston 
Court of Probate to be Borden Thornton's administrator if the widow were 
not interested.'^ It seems that as mortgage holder on the property, Titus 
had never been paid some $1,600, which he finally recouped by public 
auction of the property in May 1839, more than a year after Thornton had 
died.''' Little else is known of Borden Thornton other than the testimony of his 
surviving gravestones. 

Borden Thornton: His Work (Vincent F. Luti) 

There is no doubt that Borden Thornton adopted designs and lettering 
from Gabriel Allen, the son of the remarkably gifted Rehoboth, Massachusetts, 
carver named George Allen (ca. 1696-1794). His son Gabriel (1749-1824) was 
the most professionally skilled gravestone carver in Providence from 1770 
to the early 1800s. -"^ Gabriel Allen developed a skillfully rendered, charming 
effigy style that, along with that of his father, found great favor and iiifluenced 
most all carvers in the Narragansett Basin. Allen held a near monopoly on 
gravestones in the Providence area from roughly 1770 to 1790, a time when the 
city boomed. While there is no evidence that Thornton learned under Allen's 
tutelage as an apprentice or assistant, the same can be said of Levi Maxey, 
whose works are near perfect copies of Allen's, and Asa Fox, who blended 
Allen's style with elements of Plymouth, Massachusetts, carvers.-' By 1790, 
Allen's new position as assistant postmaster of Providence resulted in a sharp 
decline in his gravestone output. By then, two other Providence carvers — Seth 
Luther and Stephen Hartshorn — had ceased carving as well.-- Capitalizing on 
the relative lack of competition that Providence offered, Asa Fox of Comiecticut 
began an extensive stonecarving business in 1794 with three nephews and a 
friend.-^ Borden Thornton had begun to carve gravestones as well. 

Borden Thornton's ninety-plus surviving gravestones (ca. 1790 to 1819) 
are concentrated in Johnston and Providence, with a few scattered elsewhere. 
All his stones are a dark bluish-black to medium-gray slate-like material.-^ The 
progress of Thornton's work can be followed in a design-lettering analysis 
of all his known stones. First in the chronological order are the scattered 
backdated stones, some ten or eleven from 1755 to 1790. In 1792, Thornton 
appears to have begun producing gravestones on a regular but limited annual 
basis — averaging roughly three per year through 1819. 

Thornton's Winged-Soul Effigies 

In keeping with the widespread eighteenth-century practice of winged 
face effigies in New England, Thornton developed his own idiomatic form 


Borden Thornton ( 1762-1838), Rhode Island Stonecarver 

from what he saw around him. Twenty-three of Thornton's effigy gravestones 
have been identified, the last bearing an 1802 date. His wings are never of the 
arching type — so common among earlier carvers — but are always upswept as 
in flight [Figs. 5-6], following Gabriel Allen's design [Figs. 7-8].-' Individual 
feathers are not segmented, for that, too, was old-fashioned. When they 
are unadorned, feathers have a zigzag line running out of the length of the 
blacie — a feature also taken from Allen's work. Instead of Gabriel Allen's 
soft, rounded cherubic effigy face, however, Thornton's is severe and hard. 
His heads are distinctively egg-shaped with narrow pointed chins and wide 
cheekbones. They typically wear rake-lined wigs with two or more opposing 
curls [Figs. 5-6], again direct echoes of Gabriel Allen's work [Figs. 7-8].-^' Large 
bold, staring eyes feature a raised button pupil. Thornton's longish, flattened, 
crudely-rendered bulbous nose has a unique feature: the nostrils, when not 
worn away, are simple incised near or full circles. The mouth is small, severe. 

Fig. 5. Borden Thornton's 
gravestone for Joseph Borden, 
1796, Johnston, Rhode Island. 

Fig. 6. Tympanum of Job Danf orth 
gravestone by Borden Thornton, 
1801, Providence, Rhode Island. 

^/^' J ' 




■\ " J 


Fig. 7. Gabriel Allen's tympanum for 

Parssis Bacon's gravestone, 

1795, Cranston, Rhode Island. 

Fig. 8. Gabriel Allen's tympanum 

for Elizabeth Godfrey's gravestone, 

1793, Providence, Rhode Island. 

Vincent F. Luti 


and pinched. 

Besides decorating the tympanum of his gravestones with winged-head 
effigy images, Thornton followed the eighteenth-century convention of 
decorating the border panels. When Thornton included these side panels, 
they are rather good imitations of Allen's foliate cyma curve that encloses 
acanthus bud swirls (triskelion-like) with axil "carrots" [Fig. 9]. As opposed to 
his effigies, Thornton's border work is in very low, flat relief. Occasionally, he 
added an Allen rope-like design around the edge of the tympanum arch. The 
typical finial rosettes of his later urn-decorated gravestones occur only once 
on a late effigy stone (Nehemiah Dodge, 1800, Providence). 

Thornton's lettering is the key for identifying — and connecting — both his 
effigy- and his later urn-ciecorated gravestones [Fig. 10]. Serifs slant in the 
slightly arched, elegant manner of Gabriel Allen. The 1795 Abigail Hawkins 
effigy stone in Providence by Thornton is definitely lettered by Gabriel Allen, 
and the cyma-foliate border with stippled background is almost certainly by 
Allen as well [Fig. 11]. This gravestone is the only direct link between the two 
carvers. In his Type I urn group, lettering shows minor changes over time, 
with the tail of the "g" changing to a fatter form, and crossbars on the letters 
"t" and "f" changing significantly (see Appendix I). 


Fig. 9. Borden Thornton (left) and Gabriel Allen (right) border panels. 

120 Borden Thornton ( 1 762-1 838), Rhode Island Stonecai-ver 

f ^\ fi-) A ) .f r- o ,' 

,^ •' if 

WlCdfU .)'■',' P 1<'M1 

i- -f 

^ ^-1 

Fig. 10. Borden Thornton lettering on his gravestone for Kemimah Field, 
1800, Providence, Rhode Island. 

Thornton's Um or Uni-and-Willozv Gravestones 

By 1792, winged-soul effigies were becoming outmoded. Again following 
others, especially the example of Gabriel Allen, Thornton soon abandoned 
effigies in favor of two versions of neoclassical urn-and-willow designs, both 
echoing Gabriel Allen's elegant and beautifully executed urns. Thornton's 
fifty documented urn or urn-and-willow gravestones — including eight 
backdated examples — reveal no clear stylistic progression. Very few include 
a willow and none has borders. Although not the earliest dated Thornton 
urn, the Mary Olney gravestone (1798) in Providence could be one of his first 
tries at imitating Allen. The urn is askew, the handles oddly attached, and 
a crude Allen-like drape boxes it in. With the undoubtedly backdated Anne 
Andrews stone (1791) in Cranston, bearing an urn accompanied by a rare, 
scratchy willow tree, Thornton had just about arrived at his standard Type I 
urn: a squat tureen-style bowl decorated with five large loops and, sometimes, 
a beaded rim [Fig. 12].-^ (The Providence gravestones for Amy Hurd, EUphal 
Smith [1806], and Susannah Thornton are seven-loop variants). The Type I 
urn has large curved handles, stands on a stepped pedestal, and always lacks 
swags or drapes. Thornton's second urn design is a deep bowl with a straight 

Vincent F. Luti 


r /^^t. 

> s.V- 


Uc i)ioiiK)i;y of 

!^'--^''' (I/WVKINS, ^^4 
■■ llAWKCNSVarul ^C<i 

.,l)iUlo1l('(M- oi" iVlf. ^ (\(^| 

KVcUvhci (k'pnii'cd I'ltis ^•-^''^'^il 

S\\'(^''t ly i 

Fig. 11. Thornton effigy gravestone for 28-year-old Abigail Hawkins, 
d. 1795, Providence, Rhode Island. 


Borden Thornton (1762-1838), Rhode Island Stonecarver 

Iy*' 1 


Fig. 12. Thornton gravestone for Mrs. Lucy Thornton (d. 1804) 
with typical Thornton urn form and finial rosettes. 

Vincent F. Luti 123 

rather than curved rim. The body of this Type II form is decorated with seven 
loops and frequently has a swag band across the rim, which is often beaded. 
The stepped-pedestal base is thicker and shorter than on Thornton's Type I 
urn gravestones. Instead of sturdy looped handles, the Type II urn has 
dangling willow- or bellflower-like forms hanging from thin, arched side 
brackets [Fig. 13]. 

The most unusual feature of both Thornton's Type I and II urn designs is 
the fanciful stopper (or handle?) on the lid. Following the practice of a number 
of other regional carvers, stoppers are drawn as a tapered stack of oblong 
or oval shapes, one of which is usually crosshatched or quilted. Thornton's 
stopper, however, is very tall and ends like a soft-serve ice cream swirl 
capped with a sprightly coil flourish [Figs. 1, 12-13]. A variant stopper on 
Type II urns is a simple cross-hatched ball topped with a fat, oval, spirally 
incised knob. 

Instead of side borders, Thornton usually added a nicely done rosette in 
the half-round shoulders (finials) to both his Type I and II urn gravestones, 
although on rare occasions he used an acanthus-leaf design popular among 
Providence carvers. The center of the rosettes is sometimes incised with 
a narrowed "S" shape unique to Thornton's work [Fig. 1]. A large, italic 
scripted "Of," bad spelling, and a number of secondary indicators make 
attribution to Thornton relatively certain. Thornton's footstone design uses 
what looks like a kind of hurricane lamp [Fig. 14], as shown on a fragment 
of the 1807 Farancis Geannings (sic) footstone in Providence (documented 
to Thornton).-'^ 

Thornton's latest dated gravestone is dated 1819, except (possibly) for 
three slate gravestones. One is for his father William Borden (1824) and stands 
next to Borden's son's 1800 stone. The father's stone has an unusual urn form 
that only faintly echoes Thornton's earlier design, and very different lettering. 
However, below the epitaph is a large calligraphic decoration like that found 
on Thornton's signed 1817 Colegrove gravestone in Sterling, Coiinecticut. The 
other two questionable slate gravestones are those for Anstis Arnold (1832) 
and Elizabeth Olney (1834), the latter being the latest gravestone that might 
be attributed to Thornton. Because many early marble gravestones in the 
Providence area have weathered beyond recognition, it is impossible to tell 
whether, in his later years, Thornton carved in white marble, increasingly the 
material of choice for nineteenth-century carvers. 

Borden Thornton died in 1838. His gravestones, laden with spelling errors 
and omissions beyond anything to be found on stones of any known carver in 
the Narragansett Basin, are charming for their crudeness. Many were created 
for his local family network. He did keep up with fashion, but he was neither 
a leader nor an innovator. His work apparently influenced no one. It did duty. 
That, after decades of New England gravestone carver research, no one had 
ever identified his work is testimony to his anonymity and lesser rank. 


Borden Thornton (1762-1838), Rhode Island Stonecarver 



Fig. 13. Thornton's tympanurri m n carving, with a nine-loop decorated 

front, for Susannah Thornton gravestone, 1807, Johnston, Rhode Island. 

Note the fragile handles with pendant flowers. 

Fig. 14. Thornton footstone for Farancis [sic] Gleanninigs, 1807, 
Providence, Rhode Island, 

Vincent F. Liili 125 


All photographs, drawings, and rubbings are by the author. 

^ Further genealogical research showed no other Thornton name that began with B in 
that period in that part of Rliode Island. 

-Vincent F. Luti, "Eighteenth Century Gravestone Carvers of the Upper Narragansett 
Basin: Gabriel Allen," Markers XX (2004): 76-109. 

^ The gravestone payment is in the account for the estate of Joseph Borden in the 
Jeremiah Manton Account Book, RIHSL, unpaged. 

"* The receipt is at the RIHSL ms. rooni. Providence. 

^ Court of Common Pleas, Providence Co., volume 31:136-138, May Term, 1830, Daniel 
L. Smith and Mary B. Smith vs Marcy Winsor et al. Judicial Archives, Supreme Court 
Judicial Records Center, Pawtucket, R.I. The names of all the other people in the case 
were Borden Thornton's siblings. A surveyor's map of the division of the property and 
locations of Richard Thornton's house and outbuildings is at the Jolinston Town Hall, 
Plat map #37. 

^ Pertinent genealogical information is found in John Thornton, Thornton Family 
Record, ms. 1975 [TFR hereafter], Rhode Island Historical Society [RIHS hereafter] 
pp 1-10; Johi-i O. Austin, Genealogical Dictionary of Rliode Island, 1887, RIHS, p 199, 
and TFR, 1-10. 

^ Providence deed books. Providence City Hall Archives [PCHA hereafter] 1:40. 
John Thornton and his wife Sarah were to produce six male and two female lines of 

^The designation "blacksmith," is from Providence deed books, PCHA: 9:399; 10:241, 
254; 15:180, 181, 182; Johnston Town Hall deed books, 1:34. The designation "mason," 
is from Providence deed books, PCHA: 9:400; 14:18. The Inventory of Joseph's estate, 
PCHA, Will Book 1:34, states: "To stone Sledge & Stone hammers 1 Iron square & 
trowel & chisels 14-0 pounds." The will of John Borden, 1753, Will Book PCHA, 5:173 
states: "my nephew Joseph Thornton of Providence, mason." MeroUa thinks this refers 
to young Joseph Thornton Jr., but Joseph senior was alive in 1753 as well. Providence 
deed books, PCHA, 36:204 and 40:183 name: "Pardon Thornton of Providence, mason." 
For more on Borden Thornton's genealogy and background, see Hattie Borden Welch, 
Borden Genealogy, 1901, microfilm, RIHSL. For a detailed description of Richard 
Borden's genealogy and land holdings, see Stephen MeroUa, "The Borden Family 
Connection," printout. 

^ James Arnold, Vital Record of Rhode Island, vol. XU, Pension Rolls of 1835 (Providence, 
1901) 364: "Thornton, Burden, private of Cavalry, Providence co, all[owance] $87.50, 
rec[eived so far] $262.50, R.I. Militia, pl[aced on roll] Jan 29, 1834, [pension] com[menced] 
Mar 4, 1831, age 73." The original file papers, A2248, PCHA are missing. The source 
for "trumpeter" is the John Sterling Rhode Island Cemetery database: "DAR trumpeter 
RI" (no citation given). The R.I. State Archives, Providence, have a handwritten file 

126 Borden Thornton (1762-1838), Rhode Island Stonecarver 

concerning Revolutionary War Veterans that shows that in the fall of 1777 Borden 
(Burden) Thornton, joined the company of Light Horse, Captain General's Cavaliers 
com[manded].ByCol.BenjaminStark&Col.DanielManton — served2months;1778served 
7 months; 1779 served 6 months; 1780 served 4 months; 1781 served 2 months; served 
21 months total as Trumpeter b. Johnston, RT. March 14, 1761 (Pension Book LXIX). 


JolTnston Town Meeting Records, 1784-1791, PCHA, unpaged. 

" Ibid.; Marriage to Phebe Chaffee (b. 1760), March 22, 1789. They had three children: 
Charles Andrew (1789-?); Thomas Andrew (ca. 1791-1793); and William Borden (1793- 
1794). Phebe died July 12, 1794, at Cranston, Rhode Island (TFR and gravestones). 

^- Thornton married Hope Greene (1772-1843), daughter of Jabez. TFR, p. 10, gives 
wife and children: Henry (1798-1824), Sally (1799-1834), William Borden (1803-1839), 
Richard M. (1807-1811), Jonathan Tillinghast (1811-1890), and Richard (1814-?). 

^3 Deeds, JTH, 3:302. 

^^ Deeds, JTH, 7:235. On Pardon's death in 1825, his part of the house passed to Borden's 
son William. 

^^ Ronald V. Jackson, Ed, R.I. 1800 Census (Salt Lake City 1972) p 194 [p. 363 of original 
census] and R.I. 1810 Census, facsimile, RICHS, p. 287. 

^^ Petitions to the General Court, microfilm 27:60, R.I. State Archives, Providence; 
Johnston Town Council Records, PAHA, 3:230. Related to this may be charges to 
Borden Thornton in Emory Angel's Day Book vol. 1 (RIHSL): "14 Feb 1800 to Brandy; 
9 Mar 1801 to glass bottles." 

^^ Land transactions: Providence Supreme Court Record Books (R.I. Judicial Archives, 
Pawtucket) 12:211 and Johnston Town Hall deeds: 8:203-4; 9:126, 147, 246-7; 10:368, 
406; 11:31, 43, 49, 80, 198. 

^« File A 2250, PCHA. Apparently the Titus petitions of 6 April 1838 and 12 May 1838 
failed, and an order of Notice was given that an administrator would be appointed 
"June next," which seems never to have happened, nor does it seem there was ever an 
inventory or account of the estate. 

^^ According to records, Thornton died February 15, 1838, in Johnston. John E. Sterling, 
R.I. cemetery database, PV 012, and vol. J (6:493) of the Providence Probate Docket 
Book, File A 2250, PCHA. 

^"See Luti, "Eighteenth-Century Gravestone Carvers... George Allen," Markers XXII: 
108-159, and "Eighteenth Century Gravestone Carvers... Gabriel Allen," XX: 76-109. 

^' Laurel Gabel and Theodore Chase, "Levi Maxcy," Gravestone Chronielcs II (Boston: 
New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1997), 434-495. Asa Fox's parents came 
from near Plymouth, Massachusetts, and he may have first been sent "back home" 
to apprentice because what little we know of his work shows distinct Plymouth-isms 
mixed with Gabriel Allen elements. 

Vincent F. Liiti 127 

-- Vincent F. Luti, "Seth Luther," Rhode Island History, 39.1 (Feb. 1980): 3-13, and 
"Stephen Hartshorn," Markers U (1987): 149-169. 

-'Vincent F. Luti, "Gabriel Allen," Markers XX (2003): 76-109. 

■^''Thornton's output is insufficient and the time span too brief to produce evidence of 
style periods, such as early, middle and late, other than a gross change from eighteenth 
century effigies to nineteenth century urns, a benchmark widely found in New England 
around 1800. We have not found where Thornton got his stone material. A deed 
transaction [8:117] dated 10 Nov. 1830 shows that Sylvanus Tingley held four acres 
which he sold to the son of Borden Thornton, Richard, with a proviso that Tingley hold 
rights to dig and remove soapstone or chalkstone. This is probably part of a known 
soapstone quarry close to Thornton's house in the area where trap rock has also been 
mined. The Tingley family ran a prominent gravestone and stone masonry business 
in Providence in the nineteenth century. Jolinston had been set off from Providence 
and the strong kinship ties in the new town called for a carver of their own. It is quite 
curious that there are few stones for his immediate Thornton family kinships, but 
that family cemetery (PV 012) is filled with nearly illegible, white sugary marbles. 
MeroUa theorizes that descendants had the earlier carved family slates replaced in the 
nineteenth century with more fashionable marbles. 

■^ The upswept wing can be traced back to a singular stone by George Allen for John 
Comstock, 1749, Providence, North Burial Ground. It seems to appear in the early 1790s 
as a regular feature of Gabriel Allen gravestones, and is then taken up in the 1790s not 
only by Borden Thornton, but the Asa Fox Shop of Providence; James New, migrant, 
south central Massachusetts; Joseph J. Fenner, Providence; and finally by the Tingleys 
and others. One camiot overestimate the influence of Gabriel Allen on many carvers, 
especially in setting the urn and willow style at the turn of the century. 

-"In Luti, "Eighteenth-Century Gravestone Carvers . . . Gabriel Allen," Markers XX: 92- 
93, the 1796 Joseph Borden tympanum (Fig. 22) is pictured alongside a text speculating 
on the identity of the carver, whom we now know to be Borden Thornton. 

^'^The thirteen other standard five-loop tureen Type I urns are Ami Moltmon (1790), 
Providence; Jonathan Truman (1802), Providence; Mary Proctor (1813), Providence; 
Lydia Alverson (1804), Johnston; Mary Burgiss (1805), Jolinston; Mary King (1810), 
Johnston; Borden Thornton (1810), Warwick; Hannah Phillips (1811), Johnston; Abner 
King (1812), Johnston; Mary W. King (1815), Johnston; John Colegrove (1817), Sterling, 
CT (signed); and Elizabeth Carey (1817), Johnston. 

^^Upon Francis's wife's later death, the descendants apparently replaced his headstone 
with one like hers, fortunately leaving the original footstone. 

Borden Thornton (1762-1838), Rhode Island Stonecarver 



1 roman for all effigies 

1 italic, increasingly used on urns 1802 ff. 

7 roman, but a few italic forms on urns 

3 fully rounded except one flattop 3 

5 almost always plain and bolt upright 

th superscript to numbers: slash crossbeam across both letters for all stones. 

(Exceptions: seven urn stones have plain roman superscripts.) A good 
indicator, but not exclusive to Thornton. 


g: squashed tail until 1797 when it overlaps with round-ish tails for four years, 

when in 1801 the latter takes over. 

t and f crossbeams: 

have drop serifs on both until 1799 (effigies) when t (normal cuneiform serif), 
f (no serif) take over in effigies and urns. This combination is a pronounced 

serifs: delicate and arched until 1802. hi stones after this date, the serifs progressively 
flatten out. Overall, lettering on the late stones is interesting for its fanciful mix 
of roman and italic and the inconsistencies of riser thickness as Thornton tries 
to keep up with the latest lettering fashions being set in Providence by the new, 
younger carvers. Variations in lettering sets Thornton off from all the other, 
more professional and consistent turn-of-the-century Providence area carvers. 

a: baggy, teardrop throughout effigies, then much less so into urns 


&: ampersand is U shaped with liigh ending stroke throughout effigies 

&: upright with serif, with down stroke to line. Predominates, but mixes with 
earlier form throughout the urn period 


"In memory": 'm' always lowercase 

Scripted "Of": thirteen examples in both effigies and urn gravestone texts. 

Miss-spellings, phonetic spellings, missing letters, corrected-over letters (even an entire 
epitaph!!) occur frequently. 


Circled "S": Finial rosettes, found only on urn stones, have a backward "S" incised 

within the center disc of the flower, which is unique to Borden Thornton. An 

Vincent F. Luti 


absolute indicator (21 stones). Otherwise a simple dot in the disc and only very 
few instances of cross hatching in the disc. 

Feather blades: Zigzag along feather blades of effigy stones most of the time, 
otherwise, plain. 

Urn finials: Mostly of a soft-serve ice cream swirl (a very strong indicator) often 

capped with a coiled wire; otherwise a simple swirled, fat oval stopper. 

Base borders: Because most of the stones have sunk, it is not known how many 
have a "peacock feather" design along the baseline (seen on three stones not 
sunken), rather common in the work of Providence area carvers. 

Acanthus leaf: There are a handful of simple "acanthus leaf tympanum arches, both 
head and footstones, a desigii produced in various styles by many Providence 
area carvers. 



John Colegrove, 1817, Sterling, Conn., Oneco cemetery. 

Account Book Entry 

RI Historical Society Library: The Jeremiah Manton account book records 
Joseph Borden's estate ( died March 1796), and the account book entry is dated 
December 1796: "To what Paid Bor.n Thornton gre Stones 4-0-0." The stone 
(with serious defoliation) is in Jolinston, R.I. cemetery #18. 


RIHSL: for Francis Jennings stone, 1807, Providence, R.I. The footstone, only, 
is in Providence cemetery #07. 

TABULATED BORDEN THORNTON STONES italics = direct kinship stones 







Levi, Anthony 



Angell, Esther 



Abbott, Esther 



Angell, Isaac 



Allen, Paul 



Antrim, Mary 



Alverson, Charles 



Arnold, Anstts 


JN Rte. 5 

Alverson, Lydia 



Arnold, Oliver 



Andrews, Anna 



Arnold, Phebe 



Andrews, Anne 



Arnold, Sally 



Andrews, Thomas 



Arnold, Thomas 


JN Rte. 5 


Borden Thornton (1762-1838), Rhode Island Stonecarver 







Bacon, Benjamin 



Peck, Alsey 



Bacon, Elisha 



Phillips, Haiinah 



Bacon, Henry 



Proctor, Mary 



Bacon, Pemelia 



Remington, Henry H 



Borden, John 



Remington, Roby 



Borden, Joseph 



Sheldon, Mercy 



Borden, Richard 



Smith, Edward 



Borden, Williain 



Smith, Eliphal 



Burgiss, Mary 



Sprague, Joseph 



Carey, Elizabeth 



Sprague, Rossannah 



Colegrove, John 


Sterling, CT 

Sprague, Rufus 



Colegrove, Steph 


Sterling, CT 

Thirffield, Susanna 



Cross, Freelove 



Thornton, Amey 



Danforth, Job 



Tliornton, Eunice 



Danforth, Samuel 



Tliorntou, Freelove 



Di Blois, Stephen 



Thornton, Horace 



DiBlois, Amey 



Tliornton, Lucy 



Dodge, Nehemiah 



Tliornton, Marcy 



Dodge, Susamiah 


PR 01 

footstone only 

Field, Jemima 



Thornton, Rlwde 



Ginnings, Francis 



Tliornton, Silas 



Gorham, Abigail 



Thornton, Solomon 



Greene Catherine 



Thornton, Sussannh 



Hawkins, Abigail 



Thornton, Thomas A. 



Holmes, Sarah 



Thornton, Wm. B. 



Hurd, Amy 



Tourtelot, Phebe 



Kmg, Abner 



Truman, Jonathan 



King, Josiah 



Truman, Thomas 



Kmg, Marcy 



Whipple, Mehitab. 



King, Man/ 



Williams, Caleb 



King, Mary W. 



Williams, Sabra 



King, Mary H. 



Winsor, Joshua 



Manton, Edward 



Winsor, Samuel 



Manton, Elisha 



Winsor, Lydia 



Mathewson, Thom. 



Winsor, Lydia 



Mathewson, Wm. 



Winsor, Joshua 



Moltman, Ann 



Winsor, Zelote 



Newell, Lucy 



Winsor, Anne 



Olney, Elizabeth 




The Year's Work in Cemetery and Gravemarker 
Studies: An International Bibliography 

Gary CoUison 

Starting with Markers XXI (2004), this annual bibliography of scholar- 
ship begun by Richard E. Meyer in 1995 appears in a more streamlined form, 
with coverage of pre-modern and non-English language titles significantly 
curtailed. The bibliography still aims to provide comprehensive coverage 
of the most recent English-language scholarship about gravemarkers, 
cemeteries, monuments, and memorials in the modern era (i.e., post- 
1500). As in the past, most marginal materials are necessarily omitted, 
including entries that would fall under the heading of "death and dying" 
as well as newspaper articles, book reviews, items in trade and popular 
magazines, and compilations of gravemarker transcriptions. For books with 
ambiguous or vague titles, I have tried to include brief subject descriptions. 
This year's bibliography includes items published in 2005 and 2006; items 
published in 2006 after this bibliography was compiled will be included in 
next year's listing. 

Books, Monographs, Pamphlets, and Other Separately Published Works. 

Amsler, Kevin. Final Resting Place: Vie Lives & Deaths of Famous St. Louisans. 
St. Louis, MO: Virgima Pub. Co., 2006. 

Anderson, Floyd. Once Upon a Photographer's Cemeteiy. [United States?]:, 2005. 

Arnold, Catharine. Necropolis: London and Its Dead. London; New York: 
Simon & Schuster, 2006. 

Bigler, Philip, /;/ Honored Glonj: Arlington National Cemeteiy, the Final Post. 
St. Petersburg, FL: Vandamere Press, 2005. 

Blachowicz, James. From Slate to Marble: Gravestone Carving Traditions in Eastern 
Massachusetts,I770-1870. Evanston, IL: Graver Press, 2006. 

Black, Jimmy. Jlie Glasgow Gravexjard Guide. Dalkeith: Scottish Cultural, 2006. 

Bourgeois, Daniel. Vie Canadian Bilingual Districts: From Cornerstone to Tombstone. 
Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2006. 

Bremen, Jan van. "Monuments for the Untimely Dead or the Objectification of Social 
Memory in Japan." In Tsu, Yun Hui; Bremen, Jan van; and Ben-Ari, Eyal, 
eds. Perspectives on Social Memory in lapan. Folkestone, Kent, England: Global 
Oriental, 2005. 

Brooks, Patricia and Jonathan. Laid to Rest in California: A Guide to the Cemeteries and 
Grave Sites of the Rich and Famous. Guilford, CT: Insiders' Guide/Globe 
Pequot Press, 2006. 


Cemeteries of Colorado: A Guide to Locating Colorado Burial Sites and Publications about 
Their Residents. Parker, CO: Colorado Research Publications, 2006. 

Chung, Sue Fawn, and Priscilla Wegars, eds. Cliinese American Death Rituals: 

Respecting the Ancestors. Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press, 2005. ["hitroduction," 
Sue Fawn Chung and Priscilla Wegars; Chapter One: "What We Didn't 
Understand": A History of Chinese Death Ritual in China and California," 
Wendy L. Rouse; Chapter Two: "On Dying American: Cantonese Rites for 
Death and Ghost-Spirits in an American City," Paul G. Chace; Chapter 
Three: "Archaeological Excavations at Virginiatown's Chinese Cemeteries," 
Wendy L. Rouse; Chapter Four: "Venerate These Bones: Chinese American 
Funerary and Burial Practices as Seen in Carlin, Elko County, Nevada," 
Sue Fawn Chung, Fred P. Frampton, and Timothy W. Murphy; Chapter 
Five: "Respecting the Dead: Chinese Cemeteries and Burial Practices in the 
Interior Pacific Northwest," Terry Abraham and Priscilla Wegars; Chapter 
Six: "Remembering Ancestors in Hawai'i," Sue Fawn Chung and Reiko 
Neizman; Chapter Seven: "The Chinese Mortuary Tradition in San Francisco 
Chinatown," Linda Sun Crowder; Chapter Eight: "Old Rituals in New 
Lands: Bringing the Ancestors to America," Roberta S. Greenwood.] 

Clark, Rusty, and Aurora Oberloh. Stories Carved in Stone: Agaumm, Massachusetts. 
West Springfield, MA: Dog Pond Press, 2005. 

Clark, Rusty, and Aurora Oberloh. Stories Carved in Stone: Hoh/oke, Massachusetts. West 
Springfield, MA: Dog Pond Press, 2006. 

Clark, Victoria. Holy Fire: The Battle for CJuist's Tomb. San Francisco: 
Mac Adam/ Cage, 2005. 

Consumer Guide to Funeral & Cemetery Purchases. Sacramento, CA: California Dept. of 
Consumer Affairs, Cemetery and Funeral Bureau, 2005. 

DTmperio, Chuck. Great Graves of Upstate New York: Final Resting Places of 
70 True American Legends. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2006. 

Famiin, Minxie J., and Monique Lehner. Old Burying Ground, BrookUne, Massachusetts: 
Gravestone/Monument Conservation Reports. [Concord, MA]: Fannin/Lehner 
Preservation Consultants, 2005. 

Fisher, Gayle Marie DeLeeuw, and Richard Allen Musselman. Old Gravestones from 
St. John's Churchyard: Now Located at Eastoii Cemeteiy, Easton, Northampton 
County, Pennsylvania. St. Jolin's Evangelical Lutheran Church (Easton, PA). 
[St. Petersburg, FL]: G. Fisher, 2006. 

Floro-Khalaf, Jenny, and Cynthia Savaglio. Mount Caruiel ami Queen of Heaven 
Cemeteries. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Pub., 2006. 

Gilbert, Lionel Arthur. The Last Word: Two Centuries of Australian Epitaphs. Armidale, 
N.S.W.: Kardoorair Press, 2005. 

Gilchrist, Roberta, and Barney Sloane. Requiem: The Medieval Monastic Cemetery in 


Britniii. [London] : Museum of London Archaeology Service, 2005. 

Graham, John. Tlie Gold Star Motlier Pilgrimages of the 1930s: Overseas Grave Visitations 
by Motlicrs and Widows of Fallen U.S. World War I Soldiers. Jefferson, NC: 
McFarLind & Co., 2005. 

Greenwood, Douglas C. Wlw's Buried Wliere in England. London: Constable, 2006. 

Heath, Richard. Boston Public Art: A Selection with Bibliography. [Boston, MA?] , 2005. 

Hewson, Eileen. Assam & North-East India: Christian Cemeteries and Memorials, 
1783-2003. London: BACSA, 2005. 

Huston, Elizabeth. Sacred: New Orleans Funerary Grounds. Los Angeles, CA: 
Photomonium Press, 2005. 

Koppenfels, Johaiina von. Jewish Cemeteries in Berlin. Berlin: Berlin Edition, 2005. 

Krause, Susan, Kelley A. Boston, and Daniel W. Stowell. Now They Belong to the Ages: 
Abraham Lincoln and his Contemporaries in Oak Ridge Cemetery. Springfield, IL: 
Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, 2005. 

Liu, Cary Y., Michael Nylan, Anthony J. Barbieri-Low, et al. Recarving China's Past: 
Art, Archaeology, and Architecture of the "Wu Family Shrines." Princeton, NJ: 
Princeton University Art Museum; New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005. 

Menachemson, Nolan. A Practical Guide to Jewish Cemeteries. Bergenfield, NJ: 
Avotaynu, 2006. 

Miller, Kathleen E. Last Laughs: Funny Tombstone Quotes and Famous Last Words. New 
York: Sterling Pub. Co., 2006. 

Mould, David R., and Missy Loewe. Historic Gravestone Art of Charleston, South 
Carolina, 1695-1802. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co., 2006. 

Nava, Margaret M. Remembering: A Guide to New Mexico Cemeteries, Monuments and 
Memorials. Santa Fe, NM: Sunstone Press, 2006. 

Oakes, Lorna.77ze Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Pyramids, Temples & Tombs of Ancient 
Egi/pt. London: Southwater, 2006. 

Retry, David. Tlie Best Last Place: A Histonj of the Santa Barbara Cemeteiy. Santa Barbara, 
CA: Olympus Press, 2006. 

Rawlings, Keith, Jean M. Little, and M. Kirkwood. Wliat a Grave Undertaking: Quinette 
Cemeten/, a Slave Burial Ground, est. 1866. Youth in Action, Inc., 2005. 

Reisem, Richard O. Blue Sky Mausoleum of Frank Lloyd Wright: Designed 1928, Built 
2004. Buffalo, NY: Forest Lawn Heritage Foundation, 2005. 

Rozmus, Dariusz. De arte Judeorum sepulcrali: motywy artystyczne iv zydowskiej sztuce 
sepulkralnej w ostatnich dwustu latach na przykladzie cmentarzy to Bedzinie, 
Czeladzi, Olkuszu, Pilicy, Zarnowcu i Slawkowie. Krakow: Ksiegarnia 
Akademicka, 2005. 


Ryder, Peter F. Tlie Medieval Cross Slab Grave Covers in Cumbria. [Oxford, UK]: 

Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society, 

Salmon, Patricia M. Realms of History: The Cemeteries ofStaten Island. Staten Island 
Museum, NYC: Staten Island Institute of Arts & Sciences, 2006. 

Segal, Joshua L. A Field Guide to Visiting a Jewish Cemetery: A Spiritual journey to the 
Past, Present ami Future. Nashua, NH: Jewish Cemetery Publishing, 2005. 

Shepardson, Ann. Sandstone Grave Markers in the Old Durham Burying Ground: A Guide 
to the Carvers. [Durham, CT]: Ann Shepardson, 2006. 

Smith, H. S., Sue Davies, and Kenneth J. Frazer. The Sacred Animal Necropolis at North 
Saqqar. London: Egypt Exploration Society, 2006. 

Tefft, Dick. A Guide to Burial Sites & Cemeteries of Eric County, PA. Erie, PA: Erie 
Society for Genealogical Research, 2005. 

Timoney, Mary B. Had Me Made: A Study of the Grave Memorials of Co. Sligo from c. 1650 
to the Present. Keash, Co. Sligo: TASKS, 2005. 

Toms, Jan. Animal Graves and Memorials. Princes Risborough: Shire [UK], 2006. 

Wiggins, David N. Georgia's Confederate Monuments and Cemeteries. Charleston, SC: 
Arcadia, 2006. 

Willeford, Glenn P. and Gerald G. Raun. Cemeteries ami Funerary Practices in the Big 

Bend of Texas, 1850 to the Present. Alpine, TX: Johnson's Ranch & Trading Post 
Press, 2006. 

Wright, Alison. The Pollaiuolo Brothers: The Arts of Florence and Rome. New Haven, CT; 
London: Yale University Press, 2005. 

Articles in Scholarly Journals, Edited Collections, etc. 

Arias, P, J. Herraez, H. Lorenzo, et al. "Control of Structural Problems in Cultural 
Heritage Monuments Using Close-range Photogrammetry and Computer 
Methods." Computers & Structures 83.21 (2005): 1754-1766. 

Ben-Ur, Aviva. "Still Life: Sephardi, Ashkenazi, and West African Art and Form in 
Suriname's Jewish Cemeteries." American Jezoish History 92.1 (2005): 31-79. 

Bradbury, Oliver. "Byzantium in Berkshire." Apollo (London) 518 (Apr. 2005): 72- 
75. [Sir Edwin Lutyens's first mausoleum (1904), Wargrave, Berkshire; 
architectural and design influences incl. arts and crafts movement.] 

Bremen, Jan van. "Monuments for the Untimely Dead or the Objectification of Social 
Memory in Japan." In Yun Hui Tsu, Jan van Bremen, and Eyal Ben-Ari, eds. 
Perspectives on Social Memory in Japan. Folkestone, Kent, England: Global 
Oriental, 2005. 

Bromberg, Francine W, and Steven J. Shephard. "The Quaker Burying Ground in 


Alexandria, Virginia: A Study of Burial Practices of the Religious Society of 
Friends." Historical Airhncologi/ iO.l (2006): 57-88. 

Buettner, Elizabeth. "Cemeteries, Public Memory and Raj Nostalgia in Britain and 
hidia." History and Memory (Bloomington, IN) 18.1 (Spr.-Sum., 2006): 5-42. 

Clark, Mary L. "Treading on Hallowed Ground: Implications for Property Law and 

Critical Theory of Land Associated with Human Death and Burial." Kentucky 
Law Journal 94.3 (2006): 487-514. 

Cole, David. "Marie Zimmermann: From Tiaras to Tombstones." Metalsiuith 25.1 
(Winter 2005): 27-35. 

Connell, Philip. "Death and the Author: Westminster Abbey and the Meanings of the 
Literary Monument." Eighteenth-Century Studies 38.4 (2005): 557-585. 

Demoor, Marysa. "From Epitaph to Obituary: The Death Politics of T. S. Eliot and 
Ezra Pound." Biography 28.2 (2005): 255-275. 

Franzmami, Majella. "Authority from Grief, Presence and Place in the Making of 
Roadside Memorials." Death Studies 30.6 (2006): 579-599. 

Fratim, F., S. Rescic, and P. Tiano. "New Portable System for Determining the State 
of Conservation of Monumental Stones." Materials and Structures 39.2 (2006): 

Gana, Nouri. "Symbolic Loss: The Ambiguity of Mourning and Memory at Century's 
End." Psychoanalysis, Culture & Society 10.2 (2005): 225-228. 

Gibson, William. "The Tomb of Bishop Benjamin Hoadly." Ecclesiology Today 34 (Jan. 
2005): 48-52. [Defense of religious and civil liberties; secular symbols on his 
"unusual tomb," Winchester cathedral.] 

Gildow, Douglas. "Flesh Bodies, Stiff Corpses, and Gathered Gold: Mummy Worship, 
Corpse Processing, and Mortuary Ritual in Contemporary Taiwan." Journal 
of Chinese Religions (Bloomington, IN) 33 (2005): 1-37. 

Hope, Valerie M. "Trophies and Tombstones: Commemorating the Roman Soldier." 
World Archaeology 35.1 (June 2003): 79-97. 

Jua, Nantang. "The Mortuary Sphere, Privilege and the Politics of Belonging in 
Contemporary Cameroon." Africa 75.3 (2005): 325-356. 

Kadish, Sharman. "Bet Hayim 'House of Life': An Introduction to Jewish Funerary Art 
and Architecture in Britain." Transactions of the Ancient Monuments Society 49 
(2005) 31-58. 

Kin Wai, and Michael Siu. "Culture and Design: A New Burial Concept in a Densely 
Populated Metropolitan Area." Design Issues 21.2 (Spring 2005): 79-89. 

Labno, Jeannie. "Child Monuments in Renaissance Poland." Tlte Sixteenth Centiwy 
Journal 37.2 (2006): 351-374. 

Lai, Delin. "Searching for a Modern Chinese Monument: The Design of the Sun 
Yat-sen Mausoleum in Nanjing." Journal of the Societi/ of Architectural 


Historians 64.1 (2005): 22-55. 

Lamont, Victoria. "'More Than She Deserves': Woman Suffrage Memorials in the 
'Equality State.'" Canadian Revieiv of American Studies 36.1 (2006): 17-43. 

Magness, Jodi. "Ossuaries and the Burials of Jesus and James." Journal of Biblical 
Literature 124.1, (2005): 121-154. 

Magness, Jodi. "What Did Jesus' Tomb Look Like?" Tlie Biblical Archaeology Revieiv 
(February 2006): 38-49. 

Malcolm-Woods, Rachel. "Cheering the Ancestors Home: African Ideograms in 
African American Cemeteries." Folk Art Messenger 17.1 (Spring/ Summer 
2004): 31-33. 

Malkiel, David Joshua. "Christian Hebraism in a Contemporary Key: The Search 

for Hebrew Epitaph Poetry in Seventeenth-Century Italy." Jewish Quarterly 
Review 96.1 (2005): 123-146. 

Matich, Olga. "Mobster Gravestones in 1990s Russia." Global Crime 7.1 (2006): 

Pae, Taavi, Egle Kaur, Anto Aasa, et al. "The Formation and Location Features of 
Estonian Cemeteries." Journal of Baltic Studies 37.3 (2006): 277-297. 

Preston, Percy, Jr. "The Vanderbilt Mausoleum on Staten Island, New York City. " The 
Magazine Antiques 168.3 (September 2005): 104-109. 

Ramaniuk, Dzianis. "Rites, Rituals and Cemeteries." Iiulex on Censorship 35.2 (2006): 

Roberts, S. M. "Surface-recession Weathering of Marble Tombstones: New Field Data 
and Constraints." Special Papers 390 (2005): 27-38. 

Rugg, Julie. "Lawn Cemeteries: The Emergence of a New Landscape of Death." Urban 
History 33.2 (2006): 213-233. 

Schwerin, Kerrin Grafin. "The Cow-Saving Muslim Saint: Elite and Folk 

Representations of a Tomb Cult in Oudh." In Hasan, Mushirul, and Asim 
Roy, eds. Living Together Separately: Cultural India in History and Politics. New 
Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2005: 172-193. 

Shay, Talia. "Can Our Loved Ones Rest in Peace? The Memorialization of the Victims 
of Hostile Activities." Anthropological Quarterly 78.3 (2005): 709-723. 

Shepherd, Gillian. "Dead Men Tell No Tales: Ethnic Diversity in Sicilian Colonies and 
the Evidence of the Cemeteries." Oxford Journal of Archaeology 24.2 (2005): 

Sicca, Cinzia Maria. "Pawns of International Finance and Politics: Florentine Sculptors 
at the Court of Henry VIII." Renaissance Studies 2006 20.1 (Feb. 2006): 
1-34. [Tomb of Henry VIII; Italian Renaissance artistic language; sculptors; 
patronage network; changing course of the commission.] 


Sloane, David. "Roadside Sluines and Granite Sketches." In Perspectives in Vernacular 
Architecture 12 (2005): 64-81. 

Snell, Billie G., and Debby L. Amon. "Graveyard Concrete: Cement Use in the 

Historic Cemeteries of the French Quarter." Concrete International: Design & 
Construction 28.3 (2006): 66-68. 

Soria, Regina. "American Artists in the Protestant Cemetery =Gli artisti americani 
al Cimitero di Testaccio." In Spellbound by Rome: The Anglo-American 
Community in Rome, 1890-1914, and the Foundi)ig of Keats-Shelley 
House=Incantati da Roma: la connminita anglo-americana a Roma, 1890-1914, 
e la foiuiazione delta Keats-Shelley House. Rome: Palombi, 2005, 65-77. 

Tarpley, Fred. "Naming America's Graveyards, Cemeteries, Memorial Parks, and 
Gardens of Memories." Names 54.2 (2006): 91-102. 

Thomson, George. "Tombstone Lettering in Scotland and New England: An 
Appreciation of a Vernacular Culture." Mortality 11.1 (2006): 1-30. 

Todorova, Maria. "Contemporary Issues in Historical Perspective — The Mausoleum 
of Georgi Dimitrov as lieu de memoire." The Journal of Modern History 78.2 
(2006): 377-411. 

Wilcox, Geraldine. "Yokohama Foreign General Cemetery." In Cortazzi, Hugh, ed. 
Britain & Japan: Biographical Portraits, Vol. V. Folkestone, Kent, England: 
Global Oriental, (2005); 489-492. 

Wright, E. A. "Rhetorical Spaces in Memorial Places: The Cemetery as a Rhetorical 
Memory Place/Space." Rhetoric Society Quarterly 35.4 (2005): 51-82. 

Yasin, Ann Marie. "Funerary Monuments and Collective Identity: From Roman 
Family to Christian Community." Tlie Art Bulletin 87.3 (2005): 433-457. 

Dissertations and Theses 

Andrus, Shane Phillip. "Healing Heartache: The Transformative Power of Positive 
Preaching in 21st Century Funeral and Memorial Rituals." D. Min. 
diss.. United Theological Seminary, 2004. 

Boggan, Emily Elizabeth. "The Death of Remembrance in Mount Holly Cemetery." 
M.A. thesis. University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, 2006. 

Caterino, David M. "The Cemeteries and Gravestones of San Diego County: An 
Archaeological Study." M.A. thesis, San Diego State University, 2005. 

Engle, Eileen T. "Funerary Art and Cemetery Topography of Seventeenth- 
century Dutch Jewry (The Netherlands, New York City, England)." M.A. 
thesis, Arizona State University, 2006. 

Gawronski, Brett J. "Time Design for a Mausoleum as Timeless Architecture." 
M.Arch. thesis. State University of New York at Buffalo, 2005. 


Giguere, Joy. "Death and Commemoration on the Frontier: An Archaeological 

Analysis of Early Gravestones in Cumberland County, Maine." M.A. thesis, 
University of Maine, 2005. 

Her, Vincent K. "Hmong Mortuary Practices: Self, Place and Meaning in Urban 
America." Ph.D. diss.. The University of Wisconsin — Milwaukee, 2005. 

Hughes, Geoffrey Ryan. "Salem Asleep: A Discoursive Archaeology of God's Acre, 
1771-1815 [Salem (Winston-Salem), NC]." M.A. thesis. University of South 
Carolina, 2005. 

Kelley, Troy. "The Tombstone Dead: A Pictorial Guide of the Final Resting Places of 
the Famous and Infamous Personalities of Cochise County and Southern 
Arizona." [?] Thesis, [?], 2005. 

Lynch, Gay. "'Do Not Leave Me Behind Unwept': The Imperative of Grief and its 
Aesthetic Foi'ms in Greek Tradition." Ph.D. diss., Graduate Theological 
Union, 2005. 

Malcolm-Woods, Rachel. "Igbo Talking Signs in Antebellum Virginia: Religion, 
Ancestors, and the Aesthetics of Freedom." Ph.D. diss.. University of 
Missouri — Kansas City, 2005. 

Rowe, Mark Michael. "Death by Association: Temples, Burial, and the 

Transformation of Contemporary Japanese Buddhism." Ph.D. diss., 
Princeton University, 2006. 

Schulz, Felix Robin. "Death in East Germany, 1945 — 1990." Ph.D. diss.. The 
University of York (UK), 2006. 

Scott, Ronald David. "The Cemetery and the City; The Origins of the Glasgow 
NecropoUs, 1825-1857." Ph.D. diss.. University of Glasgow, 2005. 

Weglian, Emily Jane. "Colonial Transformations of Death and Burial: Mortuary 

Analysis in North American Colonial Contexts." Ph.D. diss.. University of 
Minnesota, 2006. 

Westmoreland, David G. "The Ancient Burying Ground at St. Paul's on the Green: 
Trends in Preservation of Historical Cemeteries." M.L.A. thesis, Cornell 
University, 2006. 

Ye, Wa. "Mortuary Practice in Medieval China: A Study of the Xingyuan Tang 
Cemetery." Ph.D. diss., UCLA, 2005. 



Gary Collison, professor emeritus of American studies and English at 
Pemi State York, has given numerous presentations on gravemarkers at 
aiTnual meetings of the American Culture Association and the Association 
for Gravestone Studies. In 1999, he founded the Death in American Culture 
section of the Mid- Atlantic Popular/ American Culture Association and 
chaireci its sessions until 2006. Editor of Markers since 2003, he is researching 
Pennsylvania German gravemarkers and historic cemeteries. His article on 
gravemarkers for horses in the United States appeared in Markers XXII. 

Janet McShane Galley is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History 
at Temple University- Her research interests focus on issues related to death 
and deviance during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in the 
United States and Canada. Her dissertation in progress is titled, "Infanticide 
in the American Imagination, 1860-1920." 

Joy M. Giguere, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History at 
the University of Maine at Orono, completed her Master's thesis on early 
gravestones in Cumberland County, Maine, in 2005. She continues to 
pursue her research in cemetery landscapes and memorial monuments and 
architecture, and is in the process of writing her dissertation on the Egyptian 
Revival in the United States during the nineteenth century. 

Vincent F. Luti, professor emeritus of music at the University of 
Massachusetts, Dartmouth, is the 1997 recipient of the Association for 
Gravestone Studies' Harriette M. Forbes Award for excellence in gravestone 
studies. He has been studying the carvers of the Narragansett Basin for 
more than thirty years and has published articles on carvers in Markers II, 
IV, XVI, XVII (with James Blanchowicz), XX, and XXII. His Mallet ami Chisel: 
Gravestone Carvers of Newport, Rhode Island, m the Eighteenth Century was 
published in 2002. 

Brandon Richards is a Registered Professional Archaeologist with a BA 
in Geography froni California State University, Northridge, as well as an MA 
in Archaeology and Heritage from the University of Leicester. His research 
interests include ethnicity in colonial America. 

Elisabeth L. Roark, associate professor of art history at Chatham College in 
Pittsburgh, PA, has been researching images of angels in rural cenieteries since 
1983. Her Artists of Colonial America (2003) includes a chapter on gravestone 
carver Joseph Lamson; she has also published articles in Gazette des Beaux- 


Arts, American Art, and Prospects. Two articles on her cemetery research have 
appeared in Stone in America, a magazine for memorial designers. 


Richard F. Veit received his Ph.D. in Anthropology/ Historical 
Archaeology fron^ the University of Pennsylvania and is associate professor of 
anthropology at Monmouth University, West Long Branch, NJ. Both his MA 
thesis, "Middlesex Comity New Jersey Gravestones 1687-1799: Shadows of a 
Changing Culture" (William and Mary, 1991), and his doctoral dissertation, 
"Skyscrapers and Sepulchers: A Historic Ethnography of New Jersey's Terra 
Cotta Industry" (University of Pemisylvania, 1997) focused on gravemarkers. 
He is the author of the award-winning Digging Neiu Jerseif's Past: Historical 
ArcJiaeology in the Garden State (Rutgers, 2002); co-editor of The Historical 
Archaeology of Religions Sites and Cemeteries (completed and under review); and 
co-author with Mark Nonestied of the forthcoming book. Stranger Stop and Cast 
an Eye: New Jersey's Historic Cemeteries and Burial Grounds Through Four Centuries 
(Rutgers UP, 2007). He has published articles on New Jersey gravemarkers in 
Markers XII (terra cotta gravemarkers) and XVII (early decorated New Jersey 
Anglo-German gravemarkers). 



Abrams monument 98 

Adam, Jacob 8 

Albany, NY 26, 27, 28 

Albany Rural Cemetery 59 

Allegheny Cemetery, Pittsburgh, PA 61, 74, 76, 

Allen, Gabriel 113, 117, 1 18, 119, 120 
Allen, George 117 
Ammerman, Jack 33, 34 
Amoss angel 82 
Ancram, NY 32, 34 

"Angels in American Sculpture" 74, 102 
"Angels Meet Me at the Crossroads'" 99 
Andrews, Anne 120 
Angel at the Sepiilchei; The 59 
Angel of Death and the Sculptor. The 59 
Angel of Peace 67, 69 
Angel sculpture 57-111 
Angel Visitor. The 81 
Angel Wliispers 88 

Angelology: Remarks and Reflections 71 
Angels in the Early Modern World 63 
Anglo-Gennan carving 34 
Appleton, David 86 
Aquinas, Thomas 63 
Arnold, Anstis 123 
Arnold, James 1 1 5 
ars moriendi treatises 81, 89 
Art and Archaeology 74 
ArtNouveau 74 
Asmund (rune master) 33 
Atlanta, GA 58, 100 

Benzoni, F. 75 

Bala Cynwyd 96 

Baltimore 58, 67, 68, 69, 70, 72, 79, 82, 86, 87, 

92,94,97, 101 
Barnes, Cornelius 20 
Baroque style 65, 82 
Baugher, Sherene 25 
Beecher, Henry Ward 72 
benevolent societies 1 6 
Bennett, James Gordon 78 
Bergen County, NJ 35 
Bethune, George Washington 72 
Bigelow, Dr. Jacob 86 

Bloch, Ruth 15 

Bommel, Margaret Van 32 

Bonaventure, Saint 63 

Bonomi, Patricia 10 

Borden, Meribah 1 1 5 

Borden, William 123 

Boston, MA 58, 59, 66, 69 

Boston Anglican churches 66 

Bragdon, Daniel 8 

British communities 29 

Bronx, NY 75 

Brooklyn, NY 26, 57, 67, 68, 69, 73, 81, 89, 96 

Brown, Henry Kirke 74, 90 

Brunswick 14 

Buffalo, NY, 92 

Bunyan, John 8 1 

Burr, Hattie A. 79,81 

Bushwick Dutch Reformed Church 26 

Buti, Enrico 76,92 

Calvert, Karin 1 8 

Calvin, John 64 

Calvinists 27 

Canda, Charlotte 73 

Cape Elizabeth, ME 19,71 

Cathedral of St. John the Divine 103 

"Catholic Envy: The Visual Culture of 

Protestant Desire" 72 
Catholicism 57, 60, 64, 69, 72-73, 77, 96 
Central Park, NYC 59 
Chaffee, Phebe Carpenter 1 1 5 
Charles I 65 
Charleston, SC 86,88 
Chase, Steven 103 
Chicago, IL 58, 69, 70 
children (epitaphs) 18-20 
Children in the House: The Material Culture of 

Early Childhood 18 
Choir of the Capuchin Chapel 72 
Christus: a Mysteiy 71 
Civil War 86 
Clark, Jane F. 19 
Clayton, George Jr. 7 1 
Cleveland, OH 69 
Cocks, Capt. John 14 
Cocks, Mrs. Sarah 14 


Cole. Thomas 72,78 

Colegrove, John 112,113-114,123 

"Comparing and Interpreting the Early Dutch and 

English Gravemarkers of the Lower Hudson 

Region" 25 
Connecticut 112, 113, 123 
consolation literature 71, 72, 88, 102 
Cott, Nancy 16 
Council of Nicea 61 
Counter-Refomiation 65 
Couper, William 1 03 
Cranston 113, 118 
Crews, Eliza 86 
Crosby, Otis 1 1 
Crown Hill Cemetery 79, 80 
Crucifixion 64 

Cumberland County, ME 1-21 
Currier and Ives 72 
Curtis, Captain Nehemiah 8-9 
Cuyler, Rev. Theodore 100 

Pickett, Dorcas 15-16, 18 

Finland 33 

Finnish immigrants 26 

"First Cradle: Eve and Her Two Children. 

The'' 47 
Fisher monument 79, 80 
Flatbush, NY 27 
Flaxman, John 67, 68 
Florence, Italy 67 
flower imagei'y 1 9 
Forest Hills Cemetery, Boston 59 
Forest Lawn Cemetery, Buffalo 92 
Fort Christina 26,27 
Fort Orange, NJ 27 
Fox, Asa 1 1 7 
FraAngelico 63 
Eraser, Charles 86 
French, Daniel Chester 59, 74 
French Huguenots 26 
French family monument 78, 89-90 

d'Angers, David 46 

Danish immigrants 26 

Danish sailors 28 

Davis, John 72 

Debay, Auguste-Hyacinthe 47,49-51 

Delaware 25, 26, 28, 35, 36 

Dempsey, Charles 65 

Dewey, Orville 72 

Dionysus 63 

Duning, Samuel 7 

Dutch 26-39 

Dutch Reformed Church 27 

Eastern Cemetery 1 6 

Eaton, Revd. Elisha 10-11, 12 

Echo of Spirit Voices, The 88 

Ecole des Beaux Arts, Paris 46, 47 

Eddy, Daniel C. 88 

Elspeet, Netherlands 29 

Empty Crib, The 1 00 

English Civil War 64 

Enquiry into the Abode of the Sainted Dead 96 

Episcopalians 60 

epitaphs 1-23 

European sculpture 67 

Pairmount Park, Phila. 59 
Faith, Hope, and Charily 57 

Gabel, Laurel 113 

Gabriel (archangel) 63,96,99, 102 

Gaddess Marble Works 86, 87 

Gates Wide Open, The 8 1 

Geannings, Farancis 123 

Gee, Rechel 30 

gender 1-21 

gender in angel sculpture 1 02- 1 03 

George Hogg monument 74 

German settlements 34 

Germany 64 

Good Wives 1 

Gould, Reverend Jonathan 6, 1 1 

Graceland Cemetery, Chicago 69-70 

Grand Tour 67 

Granet, Franijois-Marius 72 

Great Awakening 65 

Great Britain 6 

Green- Wood Cemetei7 57, 67, 68-69, 73, 78-79, 

Green Mount Cemetery, Baltimore 58, 67, 70, 72, 

79, 82, 86-87, 92, 94, 96-97, 101 

Hackensack, NJ 27, 37 
Harbaugh, Rev. Henry 96 
Harmony Grove Cemetery 86 
Harpswell, ME 8, 10, 11,17 
Hartshorn, Stephen 1 1 7 


Hattie A. Burr gravemarker 81 
Hawkins, Abigail 119, 121 
Heaven: or Inquiiy . . . Dead 96 
Helder, Den 28 
Hoffman monument 97 
Holcombe, Re\. William 71 
Home monument 89,91 
Hudson Ri\ er School 78 
Hugh Sisson Marble Works 70 
Huguenots 28, 31 
Hurd,Amy 120 

Indianapolis, IN 79, 80 

Inman, Louise 100 

Inventing the Renaissance Piitto 65 

Italian Renaissance 65 

Italy 61 

Jews 60 

Johnston, RI 115,118 

Johnston Historical Society 1 1 5 

Joseph Thornton Jr 1 1 5 

Kane, Elisha Kent 46 
Kaulbach, Wilhelm von 67-69 
Keck, David 63 
Kelle monument 78-79 
King monument 95 
Kingston, NY 27,31,32,33 
Knickerbocker Burying Grounds 28 
Kolk, Elbertje Van De 29 
Kosciuszko, Thaddeus 46 
Kosciuszko Foundation 52 

Lake View Cemetery, Cleveland 69 

Lancaster, MA 34, 35 

Lane, Betsey 19 

Laurel Hill 52,92 

Laurel Hill Cemetery 41, 51-52, 57-58, 84, 92, 

95, 96, 98 
Linden-Ward, Blanche 66 
Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth 70-7 1 
Longfellow, Stephen 14,16 
Longfellow, Mrs. Tabitha 14,16 
Long Island, NY 25, 37 
Loomis-Phipps monument 93 
Louise Inman monument 100 
Luther, Martin 63, 96 
Luther, Seth 1 1 7 
Lutherans 27 

Magnolia Cemetery, Charleston 86, 88 

Maine 1-21 

Manhattan 26 

Marshall, Peter 63, 64 

Marston, Zachariah 1 8 

Martineau, Harriet 83 

Mary Schumacher marker 86 

Massachusetts 34, 35, 86, 117 

Mather, Increase 8 1 

Mather, Cotton 64 

Maxey, Levi 117 

Merolla, Stephen 115 

Michael the archangel 63, 96, 102 

Midwife's Tale 15 

Mifflin, George Dallas 46 

Milan, Italy 92 

Milmore, Martin 59 

Milmore Memorial 59 

Minnie Hays monument 82, 85 

Minot, Reverend Stephen 14 

Moody, Hannah 1 

Mot, Elisabeth De 37 

Mother and Twins monument 40-55 

Mount Auburn Cemetery 66, 69, 83, 86, 92, 96 

Mount Vernon, NY 29, 30 

Narragansett Basin 113, 117 

Native American woman 37 

neo-Gothic markers 66 

neoclassicism 66.74, 82 

Neshanic, NJ 32,37 

Netherlands 27,29 

Neustadt on the Rhine 43 

New Amsterdam 27 

New Braintree 1 1 

New England 6, 29, 35 

New Gloucester, ME 2, 1 1 

New Hampshire 2 

New Jersey 25, 29, 34, 35, 36, 37 

New Netherland 26-39 

NewPaltz,NY 31,32 

Newport, RI 115 

New Sweden 26. 36 

New York 25, 26, 28, 29, 30, 3 1 , 32, 33, 34, 46 

New York City 35,59,103 

New York City burial grounds 25 

Nike (Victory) 57, 61, 102 

Norwegian immigrants 26, 28 


Oakland Cemetery, Atlanta 58, 100 

Obren, John 30 

Old Common Burying Ground 1 7 

Old Dutch Church, Albany 27 

Old Dutch Churchyard, Kingston, NY 3 1 

Old Dutch Churchyard of NYC 26 

Old Paramus Burial Ground 32, 37 

Old Swedes' Churchyard 36-37 

Olney, Elizabeth 123 

Obey, Mary 120 

Olneyviile section of Providence 1 1 6 

Oneco Cemetery 1 1 3 

On the Celestial Hierarchy 62, 71 

Opir (rune master) 34 

Our Children in Heaven 7 1 

Over the River 90, 92 

Palmer, Erastus Dow 59 

Paris, France 47 

Payne, Frank Owen 1 02- 1 03 

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts 46 

Pennsylvania Dutch gravestones 96 

Percy Graeme Tumbull monument 101 

Philadelphia 46, 57, 59, 84, 95, 96, 98 

Pieterszkuyte, Oolee 28 

Pittsburgh, PA 58, 61, 74, 76, 82, 85, 89, 91, 93 

Plymouth, MA 117 

Polish InsuiTection 46 

Porter angel 92 

Portland, ME 6, 7, 8-9, 15-16, 19-20 

Portland Marine Society 9 

Pre-Raphaelite 74 

predestination, doctrine of 65 

Presbyterian 65 

Preston monument 94 

Protestant Cemeteiy, Rome 59 

Protestants 56ff 

Providence 1 1 8ff 

Pseudo-Dionysus 62-63,64, 102 

Pulaski, Casimir 46 

"Put My Little Shoes Away" 99 

Puritans 64 

putti 65 

Rachel [?] gravemarker 87 
Rainville, Lynn 2 
Raisio Church, Finland 33 
Randall, Major Paul 1 5, 1 7 

Raphael, archangel 96, 102 

Raphael (painter) 63 

Raritan Valley, NJ 32, 35 

Reformation 63-64 

"Reaper and the Flowers" (poem) 71 

Renaissance 63,65,82, 102 

"republican motherhood" 15 

"Resignation" (poem) 71 

Revolutionaiy War 15 

Rhode Island 115, 118, 121 

Rhode Island Historical Society 1 15 

Ring, Andrew 1 2 

Rodin's "The Thinker" 49 

Romantic era 57, 59 

Rome, Italy 57,59,67 

Roney, Lila James 26 

Rose monument 84 

Rude, Francois 46 

runestones 27, 32, 34, 37 

Rural Cemetery Movement 57, 59-60 

Salem, MA 86 

Saint-Gaudens, Augustus 74 

Sarah Morley Memorial 67, 68 

sarcophagi 57, 66, 92, 94 

Saugerties, NY 26 

Saunders, Henry Dmochowski 45-52 

Sawye, Thomas 35 

Scandinavia 27, 32, 64 

Scandinavian colonists 27-28, 34 

Schaaff Helena 43, 45, 46-47 

Schenectady, NY 28 

Schenectady Dutch Refonned Churchyard 29 

Schleswig-Holstein 27 

Schumacher, Mary 86 

Schuylkill River 41,45,46 

Sears, Roebuck & Co. 69 

Second Great Awakening 66 

Sexton monument 70, 90 

Shirley, Joshua 8 

Sloane, David 99 

Smith, Andrew Foster 75 

Smith, Eliphal 120 

Society and Politics in Colonial America 1 

St. Paul's Churchyard 29 

Standish, ME 7, 11 

Sterling, CT 112, 113, 123 

Stiles, Henry 26 

Stone, Gaynell 25 


Stor>'. William Wetmore 59 
Swedish immigrants 26, 32, 35 
Sweden 33, 34 
Swedenborg. Emanuel 67, 77-78 

Taking the Veil 72 
Thornton, Borden 1 1 2- 1 24 
Thornton, John 1 1 5 
Thornton, Joseph 1 1 5 
Thornton, Joseph, Jr. 115 
Thornton, Lucy 1 22 
Thornton, Pardon 115, 116 
Thornton, Richard 115 
Thornton, Silas 124 
Thornton, Solomon 1 1 5 
Thornton, Susannah 120,124 
Titus, Jonah 1 1 7 
Tukey, Captain Stephen 6-7 
Tunibill, Percy Graham 101 

Winter, Fredrick 25 

Woman's Christian Temperance Union 16 
wooden gravemarkers 28-29 
Woodlawn Cemetery 75 

Yarmouth, ME 12 
York, ME 1 

Zuricher, John 34 

Uirich, Laurel Thatcher 1, 12, 15 
Ulster County, NY 26 
Under the Cope of Heaven 1 
Unitarian 70 
Unitarians 60 
University of Paris 63 
Uppsala, Sweden 32, 33, 34 

Van Wyk family 33 
Viele, G 34 
Virgin Mary 99 
Voices of the Heart 8 1 
Voyage of Life 78 
Vrooman, Jan 3 1 

Walloon immigrants 26 
Walsham, Alexandra 63 
Washington, D.C. 46 
Washington, George 49 
Washington Art Association 46 
Weir, Robert 72 
Weise,A.J. 28 
Welch, Richard 25 
West Laurel Hill Cemetery 96 
WestNyack,NY 32 
White, David Appleton 86 
Williams, Roger 115 
Wilmington, DE 26,28,36 
Wilno, Poland 46 



Virtuous Women, Useful Men, & 
Lovely Children: Epitaph Language 
and the Construction of Gender and 
Social Status in Cumberland County, 
Maine, 1720-1820 

Joy M. Giguere 

New Netherland's Gravestone Legacy: 
An Introduction to Early Burial Markers 
of the Upper Mid- Atlantic States 

Brandon Richards 

Myths and Realities of Laurel Hill's 
''Mother and Twins" Monument 

Janet McShane Galley 

Embodying Immortality: Angels In 
America's Rural Cemeteries, 1850-1900 

Elisabeth L. Roark 

Borden Thornton (1762-1838), 
Rhode Island Stonecaver 

Vincent Luti 

The Year's Work in Cemetery 
and Gravemarker Studies: 
An International Bibliography 

Compiled by Gary CoUison 



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