John Alexander Joyce Monument

“Poet, Soldier, Philosopher” declares the monument of John A. Joyce in Oak Hill Cemetery in Washington, D.C. I figured that this promise, plus the bronze portrait of the man, made his monument worth a second or even a third look. Figure 1. John A. Joyce monument, Oak Hill Cemetery, Washington, D.C. Photo: author. There’s a …

Laurel Glen Mausoleum

Anyone wishing to understand portraits in American mausolea must attentively study Laurel Glen mausoleum, the 1881 tomb of John P. Bowman (1816-1891), in Cuttingsville, VT. In this complex are five funerary portraits, all of which appear to have been commissioned by Bowman and put into place before his death. Below is a general image of …

Alien skull on Alexandria tombstone!

Not infrequently I am reminded of the grim demographic realities of human life. All people die, even those close to us, and that is painful and grievous. Yet I find myself consoled by visiting cemeteries: as the cliché goes, when so many better people than I have gone before, can I really be resentful? Still, …

Bennie’s grave

Figure 1. Benjamin Eugitt monument, Bethel Cemetery, Wilkes Street Complex, Alexandria, VA. Photo: author. BENJAMINSON OFBENJAMIN & HARRIETT A.EUGITTDIED DEC. 6, 1888.In his 21st year. The anagraphic data’s dull recitation of facts does not prepare us for one of the simplest, most heartfelt codas I can remember seeing on a tombstone (figure 2): Figure 2. …

An amuse-bouche

While you breathlessly await two fairly substantial posts I have in train, here is a little something to keep you going. It’s the Charles Weber (1855-1947) mausoleum in Loudon Park Cemetery in Baltimore (figure 1). Figure 1. Charles Weber mausoleum, c. 1947. Loudon Park Cemetery, Baltimore, MD. Photo: author. Figure 2. Charles Weber mausoleum. Loudon …

Funerary portraits to order

The reader may know that I am looking into American funerary portraits. Searching turns up a fair number of them, but there is always a question of whether portrait statues or busts in the wild were made for the tomb or were repurposed from a domestic setting. It’s therefore time to touch base with theory, …

Mysteries of Mt. Olivet

Below, and click to enlarge, are images of two astonishing and wonderful mausolea in Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Washington, D.C. Figure 1. Sally [Miller?] mausoleum.Figure 2. Jack and Bessie Frank mausoleum.Figures 1-2. Sally [Miller] and Frank mausolea, respectively. Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Washington, D.C. Photos: author. Both present mysteries. Let’s dive in. On the left, both …

Vernacular monuments III

John Tobey marker, 1951, Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Washington, D.C. Photo: author. John Tobey has a marker about a meter from this wonderful, wonderful concrete cross with embedded marbles at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Washington, D.C. There is nothing else nearby, so I assume the cross was made for his grave. John Tobey plaque, Mt. Olivet …

The big touchdown

JAMES WILLIAM FOSTER monument, Union Cemetery, Leesburg, VA. Photo of the JAMES WILLIAM FOSTER monument: author. That was JAMES WILLIAM FOSTER, in case you missed it. Often you can’t know who is responsible for the text on a funerary monument. Sometimes a shrewd guess is possible, such as when the monument antedates the subject’s death; …

Monumentum mortuis ignotis Terrae Mariae qui bello civili ceciderunt dedicatum

Imagines duo (1, 2) subiunxi monumenti sacri mortuis in illo bello saevo ferocique quod inter se gesserunt cives Americani annos 1861-1865. Imago 1. Monumentum mortuis ignotis Terrae Mariae qui bello civili ceciderunt dedicatum. Facies septentrionalis. Loudon Park National Cemetery, Baltimore, MD. Photo: HABS/HAER/HALS surveys (HALS MD-5). Public domain. Library of Congress. Imago 2. Monumentum mortuis …