If you look, you may find it somewhere in the over-the-top bronze sarcophagus of Benjamin Head Warder in Rock Creek Cemetery in Washington, D.C. Warder made a fortune in agricultural machinery, thanks not least to “The Champion” combined reaper and mower.

Benjamin Head Warder monument. Rock Creek Cemetery, Washington, D.C. Photo: author.
Benjamin Head Warder monument. Rock Creek Cemetery, Washington, D.C. Detail: bronze sarcophagus. Photo: author.

Flying shell! Crazy vines! Lion’s paws! Rich Ionic moldings! Hideous patina turning into bronze disease! The sarcophagus was designed by Philip Martiny and Shepley, Rutan, and Coolidge. It was cast by Gorham Manufacturing Company of Elmwood Rhode Island.

Benjamin Head Warder monument. Rock Creek Cemetery, Washington, D.C. Detail: inscription. Photo: author.

BENJAMIN HEAD WARDER
BORN IN PHILADELPHIA NOVEMBER
XV — MDCCCXXV . . . DIED IN CAIRO
EGYPT JANUARY XIIITH MDCCCXCIV

As a palate cleanser I offer you the Egyptian revival monument, in Laurel Hill, of George Robbins Gliddon, who was “formerly U.S. Consul in Cairo, Egypt.”

George Robbins Gliddon monument, Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia. 1867. Photo: author.

Egypt was not the death of him—that honor was claimed by Panama—but it maintained a pull over him sufficient to persuade him to use the Egyptian revival for his tomb. In fact, he was evidently pretty learned for his time and a popularizer of Egyptology in the U.S., publishing a runaway 1849 bestseller Otia Aegyptiaca (‘Egyptian pastimes‘).

Sadly, his brain was cracked and he took it upon himself to seek to demonstrate, in a regrettably pure form of racial science, that Egyptians could never, never, never have been black Africans because (as he and his ilk thought) culture came (1) in part from Egypt and (2) from white roots. So he examined the crania of mummies to show they were white, for example. Maybe he was a fascist, too! He’s got a nice molding of bundled rods enclosing the notional door of his monument.

For all of the foregoing on Gliddon I am indebted to Joy Giguere’s Characteristically American: Memorial Architecture, National Identity, and the Egyptian Revival (Knoxville 2014), especially pages 38 to 44, and his book (follow the link two paragraphs above).

And as a final bonus, here is the cenotaph of Joseph L. Larmour, C[ivil] E[ngineer], who died of cholera in the Philippines while building roads on Luzon at Tuguegarao, here mistakenly inscribed Tuguegaroa. My guess is that “Krakatoa” had a stronger influence on the mind of the ordinator or cutter than “Mindanao.”

Joseph L. Larmour cenotaph, Wilkes Street Cemetery Complex, Alexandria, VA. Photo: author.

Look, I threw in two bonus monuments! That’s the kitchen sink I’ve tossed in, for sure.

Published by gsb03632

A college professor living in Arlington, VA

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