The J. Henley Smith funerary portrait

This is the J[ames]. Henley Smith Mausoleum in Rock Creek Cemetery. It was designed by Worthington and Ahrens, built by Leland and Hall about 1910. The sum budgeted for it was $20,000, with $2000 more made over to the trustees of the cemetery for perpetual care. I would like the trustees to know that the […]

Making Lemonade

I suppose you would probably guess that there were trade journals for granite and marble suppliers and cutters in the great age of public art in this country, from about 1890 to 1930. One such journal, The Monumental News, celebrated the above George E. Lemon monument in its 1898 series. The author has halfway spotted […]

Keepsake!

The Keep monument in Rock Creek Cemetery is visible from a great distance because of its eye-popping pink and verdigris colors. The bronze figures were created in about 1920 by James Earle Fraser, the man who designed both faces of the 1913 buffalo nickel. Before I try to make sense of our sculpture, have a […]

A regular guy

Daniel V. Fenton was an ordinary man. When he died in 1890, shortly after being discharged from the Government Printing Office because the patronage system was then favoring Republicans and he was a Democrat, his wife had a little-known part of his story engraved on his monument. It turns out he came through some of […]

Gentleman and scholar

TRUMAN MICHELSON, B.A., M.A., Ph.D.,HARVARD Born August 11, 1879-Died July 261938, Sanskrit Scholar and Ethnologist Smiths-onian Institution 1910-1938 HIC IACET CATHARINA VXOR CARISSIMATRVMANI MICHELSON QVAE SEMPERDOMVM FELICEM FECITT.M. MORTVA EST JANVARY 23, 1953 Translation of Latin: Here lies Catharine, the very dear wifeto Truman Michelson, who alwaysmade their home happy.T[ruman]. M[ichelson]. She died January 23, […]

Pocahontas!

One result of trawling cemeteries for interesting monuments is that you occasionally get sidetracked into interesting investigations that have little to do with a monument. The provocation here is the headstone of Pocahontas Bolling (Smith) Todd, who was born in 1877 in Winchester, VA. The handsome marker is not particularly striking, although I very much […]

Our buddy, gone before.

The Mt. Hebron Cemetery never disappoints. A couple of years ago my wife and I came across the tomb of Willie N. P. Lockhart (figure 1). It is touching and, for that age in that cemetery, modest. The anagraphic inscription: WILLIE N. P.Son ofJ & AMANDA L. LOCKHART.Died March 11th 1870Aged 12 Yrs & 9 […]

The Brevitt Glaize portrait in Mt. Hebron Cemetery, Winchester, VA

As I once walked the grounds of Mt. Hebron contemplating my mortality, I spotted a boy sitting on one of the monuments in the distance. Scenting a treasure and coming closer, I discovered the heilige Kuh! monument (figure 1) of David Brevitt Glaize, only child of David S. and Elizabeth B. Glaize, 1888-1905. He died […]

The astonishing Sons of Maryland Monument in Loudon Park National Cemetery, Baltimore

Despite our Baltimore destination, our journey begins in Washington, D.C. If you live in or have visited Washington, you may have seen Montgomery Meigs’ Pension Building, now the National Building Museum. Built from 1882 to 1887, this magnificent structure is one of the few utilitarian American Victorian buildings which can stand up against the finest […]

American Funerary Portraits in Glass and Stone

Among the Romans, it was very common, in some periods more than others, to have a portrait of yourself as a part of, or on the premises of, your tomb. It was an assertion of selfhood and existence and social significance before death; or it allowed a commemorator to assert these things for the dead. […]