Truman Michelson monument, Rock Creek Cemetery, Washington, DC. Photo: author.

TRUMAN MICHELSON, B.A., M.A., Ph.D.,
HARVARD Born August 11, 1879-Died July 26
1938, Sanskrit Scholar and Ethnologist Smiths-
onian Institution 1910-1938

HIC IACET CATHARINA VXOR CARISSIMA
TRVMANI MICHELSON QVAE SEMPER
DOMVM FELICEM FECIT
T.M.

MORTVA EST JANVARY 23, 1953

Translation of Latin:

Here lies Catharine, the very dear wife
to Truman Michelson, who always
made their home happy.
T[ruman]. M[ichelson].

She died January 23, 1953

Michelson was an important linguist, having worked on a number of Indian languages. He also, as this stone suggests, published on (East) Indian linguistics, including Sanskrit and Asokan.

Most people want to put their best foot forward on their tombstone. You can tell something about Michelson that he boasts his three “Harvard all the way” degrees. The Ph.D. was awarded in 1904. He studied in what we might call a postdoc in Germany (Leipzig and Bonn) and came under the influence of Franz Boas the famous Columbia University anthropologist. He has an unduly short Pedia of Wiki entry here.

He worked not only at the Smithsonian but also at The George Washington University. It is no surprise to find him in Rock Creek Cemetery. His tombstone design is either some olde time effort or a unique collection of images and curves. The eternal flame at center is nice.

Published by gsb03632

A college professor living in Arlington, VA

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