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Association for Gravestone Studies

Association for Gravestone Studies Collection

1975-2008
25 collections
Call no.: MS 610

Founded in 1977, the Association for Gravestone Studies (AGS) is an international organization dedicated to the study and preservation of gravestones of all periods and styles. Based in Greenfield, Mass., the AGS sponsors conferences, workshops and exhibits, and publishes an annual journal, Markers, and quarterly bulletin. Their mission is to promote the study of gravestones from historical and artistic perspectives, expand public awareness of the significance of historic grave markers, and encourage individuals and groups to record and preserve gravestones.

The AGS Collection consists of the central records of the organization plus a growing number of photographic archives of gravestone art donated by members and associates. Offering critical documentation of gravestones, tombs, and cemeteries throughout the country, but especially New England.

Collections include:

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Gift of the Association for Gravestone Studies, 2009-2017
Connect to another siteThe AGS publications, Markers
and Newsletter of the AGS are digitized and available online through Credo
Subjects
Sepulchral monuments
Stone carving
Contributors
Association for Gravestone Studies
Association for Gravestone Studies

Association for Gravestone Studies Ephemera Collection

1788-1939
1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 651
Depiction of Lamprey and Dickey business card
Lamprey and Dickey business card

Founded in 1977, the Association for Gravestone Studies (AGS) is an international organization dedicated to furthering the study and preservation of gravestones. Based in Greenfield, Mass., the Association promotes the study of gravestones from historical and artistic perspectives. To raise public awareness about the significance of historic gravemarkers and the issues surrounding their preservation, the AGS sponsors conferences and workshops, publishes both a quarterly newsletter and annual journal, Markers, and has built an archive of collections documenting gravestones and the memorial industry.

The AGS Ephemera Collections contains a mix of materials relating to gravestones and the slate and marble industries. Most of the items relate to the marble and slate industries in Western Massachusetts and adjacent areas in Vermont and New Hampshire.

Subjects
Marble industry and trade
Slate industry
Contributors
Association for Gravestone Studies
Fair Haven Marble and Marbleized Slate Co
Farr Alpaca Co
Types of material
Business cards
Circular letters
Ephemera
Memorial cards
Association for Gravestone Studies

Association for Gravestone Studies Printed Materials Collection

1812-2005
269 items 14 linear feet
Call no.: RB 004

Founded in 1977, the Association for Gravestone Studies (AGS) is an international organization dedicated to furthering the study and preservation of gravestones. Based in Greenfield, Mass., the Association promotes the study of gravestones from historical and artistic perspectives. To raise public awareness about the significance of historic gravemarkers and the issues surrounding their preservation, the AGS sponsors conferences and workshops, publishes both a quarterly newsletter and annual journal, Markers, and has built an archive of collections documenting gravestones and the memorial industry.

The AGS collection contains scarce, out of print, and rare printed works on cemeteries and graveyards, epitaphs and inscriptions, and gravemarkers, with an emphasis on North America. The AGS Books Collection also includes the AGS publication, Markers. The collection is divided into three series: Series 1 (Monographs and Offprints), Series 2 (Theses and Dissertations), and Series 3 (AGS Publications).

Subjects
Cemeteries
Epitaphs
Gravestones
Contributors
Association for Gravestone Studies
Benes, Peter

Peter Benes Collection

ca.1975-1986
1 box 1 linear feet
Call no.: PH 017
Depiction of Soule Fishwing
Soule Fishwing

Peter Benes might be called the father of the Association for Gravestone Studies (AGS). In 1976, he organized a meeting in Dublin, New Hampshire, of people interested in colonial gravestones, naming the group the Dublin Seminar. Following a committee meeting in December 1976, the group met again in the summer 1977 to organize as the AGS. Benes served as Treasurer in 1977 and Archives Officer in 1978. He received the Forbes Award of the AGS in 1979 for his role in founding the organization and in recognition of the contributions made to gravestone studies by his first book, The Masks of Orthodoxy: Folk Gravestone Carving in Plymouth County, Massachusetts, 1689-1805 (1977). He is currently (2009) Director of the Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife at Boston University.

The Benes Collection contains 2,826 black and white photographic prints documenting a majority of the eighteenth century grave markers in southeastern Massachusetts, taken for his book The Masks of Orthodoxy. The images were taken in Plymouth and surrounding counties.

Subjects
Gravestones--Massachusetts
Stone carving--Massachusetts
Contributors
Association for Gravestone Studies
Benes, Peter
Types of material
Photographs
Cemetery Inscriptions Collection

Cemetery Inscriptions Collection

1902-2005
4 boxes 6 linear feet
Call no.: MS 669

Founded in 1977, the Association for Gravestone Studies (AGS) is an international organization dedicated to furthering the study and preservation of gravestones. Based in Greenfield, Mass., the Association promotes the study of gravestones from historical and artistic perspectives. To raise public awareness about the significance of historic gravemarkers and the issues surrounding their preservation, the AGS sponsors conferences and workshops, publishes both a quarterly newsletter and annual journal, Markers, and has built an archive of collections documenting gravestones and the memorial industry.

Consisting of self-published and limited-run compilations of gravestone transcriptions from historical cemeteries, the AGS Cemetery Inscriptions Collection offers rich documentation of epitaphs and memorial language, with an emphasis on colonial and early national-era in New England and Ohio. The collection is arranged by state and town.

Subjects
Gravestones
Inscriptions
Contributors
Association for Gravestone Studies
Colburn, Paul

Paul and Olive Colburn Collection

1894-2001
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 860
Depiction of Jonathan Dow marker, Eastern Cemetery, Portland, Me.
Jonathan Dow marker, Eastern Cemetery, Portland, Me.

Husband and wife Paul Francis and Olive (“Tommie” Fox) Colburn were active members of the Association for Gravestone Studies from the 1980s. Natives of Lowell, Mass., and long-time residents of Berwick, Me., the Colburns shared an interest in New England gravestones and marker symbolism, with Tommie enjoying a particular specialty in metal-based markers.

The Colburn collection represents a cross-section of the couple’s work documenting and lecturing about New England grave markers and marker symbolism as well as Victorian funerary practice. Of note are a small number of items reflecting Victorian mourning culture, including images of funeral wreaths and arrangements, three mourning handkerchiefs, and a funeral card.

Subjects
Gravestones--Connecticut
Gravestones--Maine
Gravestones--Massachusetts
Gravestones--New Hampshire
Gravestones--New York
Gravestones--Rhode Island
Gravestones--Vermont
Contributors
Colburn, Olive
Types of material
Handkerchiefs
Photographs
Cornish, Michael

Michael Cornish Photograph Collection

ca.1975-2005
20 boxes 20.5 linear feet
Call no.: PH 035

Michael Cornish first became interested in gravemarkers while writing a senior thesis at the Massachusetts College of Art, and since that time, he has prepared numerous exhibitions of his photographic work and conducted important research on colonial markers. Widely known for his work on the carver Joseph Barbur of West Medway, Mass., and a group of “tendril carvers” in southeastern Massachusetts, Cornish speaks frequently to historical societies around Massachusetts, delivering slide shows tailored to the particular area. An inventory photographer for the City of Boston’s Historic Burying Ground Initiative, he has also consulted for several towns regarding the preservation and rehabilitation of their burying grounds. As a member of the AGS Board of Directors, Cornish has worked in various capacities and played an active role in organizing and participating in the annual conventions, programs, exhibits, and tours.

The Cornish Collection includes many thousands of photographs and direct rubbings of early New England gravestones, primarily in Massachusetts and Connecticut, focusing on their beauty and artistic merit. Originally inspired by the work of Harriette Merrifield Forbes, and encouraged by Dan and Jessie Farber, Cornish photographed in a variety of formats, including Kodachrome transparencies, black-and-white negatives, and black-and-white prints. The collection also includes research notes relating to his work on Barbur and other stonecarvers.

Subjects
Gravestones--Connecticut
Gravestones--Massachusetts
Stone carving--Connecticut
Stone carving--Massachusetts
Contributors
Association for Gravestone Studies
Cornish, Michael
Types of material
Photographs
George & Kent

George and Kent Records

1887-1890
1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 888

Late in the nineteenth century, George and Kent was one among many firms in Barre, Vt., specializing in the supply of granite for grave markers and monuments. Under senior partner William L. George, the firm was located on Seminary Street in the 1880s, supplying a clientele that reached as far away as Iowa. Although the firm was listed in city directories from at least 1883 to 1890, further details are scant.

This small collection consists of receipts and correspondence relating to George and Kent’s trade in granite memorials. Concentrated in a narrow window, mostly 1887-1888, the collection includes three sketches for memorials to be produced by the firm.

Subjects
Granite industry and trade--Vermont
Gravestones--Vermont
Contributors
George, William L.
Types of material
Design drawings
Historic Burying Grounds Initiative

Historic Burying Grounds Initiative Collection

1876-1985
2 boxes 0.75 linear feet
Call no.: MS 690

With the approach of the American Bicentennial in 1976, concern grew among historic preservationists in Boston that the city’s old cemeteries and grave markers were showing the damage of many decades of harsh weather and poor maintenance. Led by the Boston Parks and Recreation Department, the Boston Landmarks Commission, and The Bostonian Society, with the collaboration of the Massachusetts Historical Commission, and the Association for Gravestone Studies, among others, the Historic Burying Grounds Initiative was established to develop a plan to inventory over 15,000 markers and assemble a master plan (1985, updated 1998) to care for the cemeteries in the long term. Supported by both public and private funds, the HBGI focused initially on stabilization, preservation, and restoration of historic artifacts, tomb structures, and retaining walls, and their efforts continue today.

The HBGI Collection contains reports and inventories from the first phase of work carried out by the Initiative, focusing on the Dorchester North, Central, Copp’s Hill, Eliot, Granary, Kings Chapel, and Phipps Street Burying Grounds. The collection also contains two editions of the Manual for Preservation prepared by the HBGI.

Subjects
Gravestones--Conservation and restoration
Gravestones--Massachusetts
Contributors
Historic Burying Grounds Initiative
Killgrove, Ethel A.

Ethel A. Killgrove Papers

1948-1962 Bulk: 1949-1951
1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 866
Depiction of Ethel A. Killgrove and Mr. Braden, Addis Ababa, 1950
Ethel A. Killgrove and Mr. Braden, Addis Ababa, 1950

Between 1948 and 1951, Chicagoan Ethel A. Killgrove worked as a missionary with the Sudan Interior Mission. A graduate of the St. Paul Bible Institute, Killgrove was based in Aden, Yemen, and worked spreading the gospel and in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. After returning home in 1951, Killgrove studied education at Wheaton College (Bed, 1959) and Roosevelt (MEd., 1963), teaching in elementary schools in Illinois and Chester County, Pa. She died in Lancaster, Pa., in 2002.

The 142 letters that Killgrove wrote home to her parents and brother Tom include fascinating information on life as a missionary in British-controlled Aden and Ethiopia during the transitional years following the end of World War II. From her perspective on the southern rim of the Middle East, Killgore was witness to the of the impact of the formation of the state of Israel and the growing hostility toward colonial domination in the Arab world and Africa. The collection includes an excellent photograph album with 55 images of her time in mission, along with 65 other images.

Acquired from Michael Brown, May 2015
Subjects
Aden (Yemen)--Description and travel
Ethiopia--Description and travel
Missionaries--Africa
Missionaries--Ethiopia
Missionaries--Yemen
Contributors
Sudan Interior Mission
Types of material
Photographs
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