Thank you, God.

That's what I said to myself when I got within reading distance of the Lansburgh monument in Rock Creek Cemetery in Washington, D.C. From three sides it is nondescript freestanding sarcophagus with a lid imitating a temple roof. At the corners are stylized WPA federal style columns, merely sketched in. On one short side it …

Some notes on Jerry Goldsmith’s Poltergeist score

If you have a copy of the Poltergeist soundtrack (1982, Jerry Goldsmith), have a listen to the first track (The Calling/The Neighborhood). Pay attention at about 3:24 to 3:47, which is the sprightly theme where we come into the neighborhood and all is sunlight and mischievous kids and men on small bicycles carrying beer. The …

Charles Ladislaus Council Rogers Bass funerary portrait

Charles Ladislaus Council Rogers Bass monument, 1880. Detail: inscription. Oak Hill Cemetery, Georgetown. Photo: author. IN MEMORYOF CHARLES LADIOLANS COUNCIL ROGERS BASS.DIED MARCH 13 1879.THIS MONUMENT WAS ERECTED BY HIS DISCONSOLATE MOTHER,EUGENIA BASS BERTINATTI. Eugenia Patience Bate (1826-1906), who was from Tennessee and later Mississippi, had two husbands. The first, Council Rogers Bass (1810-1855) gave …

Henrietta and Susanna Bean

This is a hoary chestnut, though I only came across it for the first time today. It took me about an hour and two sheets of paper to unravel this coded but conventional epitaph of the two wives of Dr. Samuel Bean, both dead too young. Henrietta and Susanna Bean tombstone, Rushes Cemetery, 1915 Hutchison …

The Rose Keeling Hutchins funerary portrait

Here's the Egyptian revival mausoleum of the Hutchins-Keeling distended family in Rock Creek Cemetery. Hutchins-Keeling mausoleum. Rock Creek Cemetery, Washington, D.C. Photo: author. "Distended" because we seem to have a case of a well-heeled man, Stilson Hutchins (1838-1912) who married a new wife, Rose Keeling (1867-1926), in 1890. It was a May-December thing, by the …

The J. Henley Smith funerary portrait

J. Henley Smith Mausoleum, Rock Creek Cemetery, Washington, D.C. Photo: author. 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 …

Making Lemonade

George E. Lemon monument, Rock Creek Cemetery. Photo: author. 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 …

Keepsake!

Frederic and Florence Keep monument, Rock Creek Cemetery, Washington, D.C. Photo: author. The Keep monument in Rock Creek Cemetery is visible from a great distance because of its eye-popping pink and verdigris colors. Keep monument anagraphic data. Photo: author. The bronze figures were created in about 1920 by James Earle Fraser, the man who designed …

A regular guy

Daniel V. Fenton monument, 1890. Rock Creek Cemetery, Washington, D.C. Photo: author. 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 …

Gentleman and scholar

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 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, …