Collecting area: Gravestones Page 3 of 6
Eslinger, L. Sidney (Lucille Sidney)

L. Sidney Eslinger Collection

1905-2003
2 boxes 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: PH 040
Image of

Lucille “Sidney” Eslinger was born in Albany, Missouri, on November 9, 1922, the daughter of Delano R. and Alice M. Willoughby Eslinger. After graduating from high school in 1941, Eslinger turned down an opportunity to attend college to work at Caterpillar Tractor Company in Peoria, lll., partly for the opportunity to play for the Caterpillar Dieselettes, the fast-pitch softball team. Through a co-worker, Eslinger developed an interest in history, becoming an active proponent of historic preservation in central Illinois, including graveyards. After retiring from Caterpillar, she and a friend operated a dog grooming business and she was active in the Humane Society. Sidney died in Peoria on August 14, 2011.

The Eslinger Collection contains materials relating to Sidney Eslinger’s interests in gravestone studies, including four books; a research notebook about Springdale Cemetery in Peoria; a photo album of Old Peoria State Hospital; correspondence and miscellaneous materials about stone quarries and symbolism; and a photo scrapbook, “Coin Harvey: A Legend in His Time.” States represented include Illinois and Indiana.

Subjects

  • Gravestones--Illinois
  • Gravestones--Indiana
  • Monte Ne (Ark.)
  • Old Peoria State Hospital
  • Springdale Cemetery (Peoria, Ill.)

Contributors

  • Eslinger, L. Sidney (Lucille Sidney)

Types of material

  • Photographs
Farber, Daniel

Daniel and Jessie Lie Farber Photograph Collection

1973
12 boxes 7.25 linear feet
Call no.: PH 022
Image of Jonathan Butterfield, Chelmsford, 1750
Jonathan Butterfield, Chelmsford, 1750

A businessman from Worcester, Mass., Daniel Farber (1906-1998) was among the best known photographers of early American gravestone art. Over the course of twenty years beginning in about 1970, he and his wife Jessie Lie Farber (a faculty member at Mount Holyoke College) took thousands of photographs of gravestones throughout New England and the eastern United States, eventually extending their work internationally. Interested in both the artistic and cultural value of gravestones, the Farbers were founding members of the Association for Gravestone Studies in 1976 and influenced a generation of fellow researchers in gravestone studies.

Printed in 1973, the Farber Collection includes 326 black and white prints (5×7″),mounted on rag board, of of colonial and early national gravestones in Massachusetts. The towns represented, most by multiple images, include Auburn, Billerica, Boylston, Brookfield, Cambridge, Charlestown, Chelmsford, Concord. Holden, Leicester, Lexington, Marlboro, Northboro, North Brookfield, Oxford, Paxton, Rutland, Shrewsbury, Sudbury, Watertown, Wayland, and Westboro.

Subjects

  • Gravestones--Massachusetts

Contributors

  • Association for Gravestone Studies
  • Farber, Daniel
  • Farber, Jessie Lie

Types of material

  • Photographs
Ferre, Marie

Marie Ferre Collection

1971-2013
2 boxes 0.75 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1040
Image of Marie Ferre among the headstones, ca.2004
Marie Ferre among the headstones, ca.2004

Esma-Marie N’Doi Booth was born into a missionary family in the Belgian Congo in Dec. 1932, and attended school there until entering Boston University. She earned her degree in art and art history in 1954, the same year she married the philosopher Frederick Feree, and for much of the next four decades, she worked as an archivist at the colleges and universities where her husband found an academic home: Vanderbilt, Mount Holyoke, and Dickinson. After retiring to Northfield, Mass., in 2000, she became active in local history and historic preservation, including working as archivist for the Association for Gravestone Studies. She died in Greenfield, Mass., in 2016 at the age of 83.

The Ferre collection contains articles, news clippings, and notes on New England gravestones, along with several dozen images taken by Ferre in graveyards during the early 2000s, primarily in Massachusetts.

Gift of the Association for Gravestone Studies, June 2018

Subjects

  • Gravestones--Connecticut
  • Gravestones--Massachusetts

Types of material

  • Photographs
Gabel, Laurel K.

Laurel K. Gabel Collection

1976-1990
11 boxes 12.5 linear feet
Call no.: PH 066

A registered nurse by profession, Laurel K. Gabel came to the field of gravestone studies through an initial interest in genealogy. Attending her first Association for Gravestone Studies annual conference in 1980, just three years after the organization’s founding, she quickly became one of the organization’s most active members, noted for presenting papers distinguished equally by their scholarship and accessibility to a wide audience. She has regularly led tours and workshops during conferences, and in more recent years, she has taken a lead role in introducing first-time attendees to the field of gravestone studies. In 1988, Gabel received the AGS’s highest honor, the Harriet Merrifield Forbes Award.

This collection of 35 mm slides was assembled by Gabel for use in illustrating lectures and slide presentations. The collection is divided into two discrete sets, one documenting gravestone design and motifs, and the other documenting specific carvers.

Subjects

  • Gravestones--New England
  • Stone carvers--New England

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
Griswold, Jonah B.

Jonah B. Griswold Ledgers

1841-1876
4 vols. 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 638

An industrious artisan with a wide custom, Jonah B. Griswold made gravestones and sepulchral monuments in Sturbridge, Mass., during the three decades saddling the Civil War. Making 20 or more stones a month, Griswold had clients throughout southern Worcester County, including the Brookfields, Charlton, Wales, Woodstock, Warren, Brimfield, Union, Oxford, Worcester, Southbridge, Holland, New Boston, Spencer, Webster, Dudley, and Podunk, and as far south as Pomfret, Conn.

The four volumes that survive from Griswold’s operation include: record of cash expenditures for personal items, 1843-1876, combined with accounts of work performed for Griswold and daybook with records of marble purchased and stones carved, 1861-1876; daybook of cash on hand 1841-1842, with accounts of stone purchased and stones carved, April 1843-1849; daybook of stones carved, 1849-1860; and daybook of stones carved, 1855-1876. Griswold seldom records inscriptions, with most entries restricted to the name of the client and/or deceased, location, and cost, such as: “Oct. 14. Brookfield. Stone for Mr. Woods child 25.43” Prices during the antebellum period ranged from $10 (half that for infants) to over $140, with larger monuments going higher.

Subjects

  • Gravestones--Massachusetts
  • Stone carving--Massachusetts
  • Sturbridge (Mass.)--History

Contributors

  • Association for Gravestone Studies
  • Griswold, Jonah B

Types of material

  • Daybooks
Halporn, Roberta

Roberta Halporn Collection

1978-2002
1 box 1.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 847
Image of Chinese funeral money
Chinese funeral money

A writer, publisher, and expert in the culture of cemeteries and death, Roberta Halporn was born in New York in 1927. Although she entered NYU intending to study medicine, Halporn soon turned to dance, eventually earning a masters degree and working in the field for nearly two decades. When an injury ended her dance career, however, she changed careers to publishing, opening her own house in 1978. Her growing interest in the culture of death meshed well with her job and following her interests, she founded ran the Center for Thanatology Research and Education in 1986. Based in Brooklyn, the Center was a non-profit organization that worked to raise public awareness of the artistic and historical importance of cemeteries, and in addition to a library and museum, the Center ran tours of cemeteries, published books and periodicals, and operated a retail store. Halporn published regularly on topics ranging from Jewish cemeteries to hospice, thanatology libraries, and her passion, gravestone rubbing. Halporn died in 2014.

The collection consists of files relating to Roberta Halporn’s extensive thanatological research, including drafts, correspondence, photographs, and ephemera from two of her projects: on Chinese American funeral practices (resulting in the book Gods, Ghosts, and Ancestors) and on Jewish cemeteries. A significant number of books donated with the collection have been added to the Association for Gravestone Studies Book Collection.

Subjects

  • Funeral rites and ceremonies--China
  • Jewish funeral rites and ceremonies

Contributors

  • Center for Thanatology Research and Education

Types of material

  • Ephemera
  • Photographs
Harding, William E.

William E. Harding Collection

1972-2003 Bulk: 1972-1981
2 boxes 1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 843
Image of

As an undergraduate at Williams College, William (Bill) Harding undertook a research project on the Bennington Centre Cemetery in Vermont to document its stones, through which he became engaged in a longer-term study of the most important carvers represented there in the years after the American Revolution, Zerubbabel Collins and Samuel Dwight. Harding’s work was an important contribution to understanding the transition from death’s head imagery to the gentler cherubs of the early national period and he unearthed significant detail on the lives of noted carvers. Harding went on to study medicine, but remained active in the early conferences of the Association for Gravestone Studies and as a lecturer on the topic for several years until the demands of his professional life gradually intervened.

Centered on his study of Vermont carvers and early gravestone iconography, the Harding collection includes photographs, research and lecture notes, some correspondence, and a sampling of published material. The collection contains Harding’s bachelor’s thesis, “The graveyard at Old Bennigton, Vermont, and the gravestones of Zerubbabel Collins” (1972) and his later, more comprehensive study “Bennington Gravestones” (1975), and notably, two fine prints of gravestones by his colleague, Daniel Farber.

Subjects

  • Bennington (Vt.)--History
  • Bennington Centre Cemetery
  • Collins, Zerubbabel
  • Gravestones--Vermont
  • Stone carvers--Vermont

Types of material

  • Photographs
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
Jenks, Margaret R.

Margaret R. Jenks Collection

1983-1994
2 boxes 1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 689

Margaret R. Jenks has been a family genealogist since 1964 and a cemetery transcriber since 1978. A prolific writer, she has published books listing all the cemetery inscriptions of the twenty-seven towns in Rutland County, Vermont, and of Granville, Washington County, New York, and she has conducted research on the stonecarvers of Rutland County. She served six years as a trustee of the Association for Gravestone Studies.

The Jenks collection is comprised of eighteen volumes containing exhaustive documentation of gravestone inscriptions from the following cemeteries in Vermont: Benson, Brandon, Castleton, Chittenden, Clarendon, Danby, Fair Haven, Granville (Washington County), Hubbardston, Ira, Mendon, Middleton, Mount Holly, Mt. Tabor, Pawlet, Pittsfield, Pittsford, Poultney, Proctor, Putney, Rutland, Sherburne, Shrewsbury, Sudbury, Tinmouth, Wallingford, Wells, West Haven, West Rutland.

Subjects

  • Gravestones--Vermont

Contributors

  • Jenks, Margaret R.