Collecting area: Gravestones

Drinkwater, Robert W.

Robert W. Drinkwater Collection

ca.1975-2004
6 boxes 5 linear feet
Call no.: PH 067
Wildwood Cemetery, Amherst, Non. 2004
Wildwood Cemetery, Amherst, Non. 2004

An historical archaeologist with an MA in Anthropology from UMass Amherst, Bob Drinkwater has recorded, photographed, and reported on the eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century gravestones and stonecutters of western Massachusetts for over four decades, and he has identified a number of Connecticut River Valley carvers. A charter member of the Association for Gravestone Studies, he has been active in nearly every aspect of the organization, contributing scholarly articles to its journals, organizing and presenting at its conferences, and serving terms as President and Trustee. He offers a workshop, “Gravestone Studies 101: A Survey of Gravestone Art in the Pioneer Valley”, at Greenfield Community College.

Focused on Bob Drinkwater’s research on western Massachusetts, the collection contains several hundred images recording early gravestones in the cemeteries of Amherst and Hadley, photo documentation of the stonecutters of Berkshire County and the Quabbin region, and two longer works written by Drinkwater: “From quarry to graveyard: a schematic reconstruction of early New England gravestone-carving technology” (his honor’s thesis, ca.1975) and “Notes on Methods of Collection, Classification, Recording, and Analysis of Data for Stylistic and Demographic Studies of Early New England Gravestones.”

Subjects

Sepulchral monuments--Massachusetts--AmherstSepulchral monuments--Massachusetts--HadleyStone carving--Massachusetts

Contributors

McArdle, Alan

Types of material

Photographs
Duane, Edward H.

Edward H. Duane Collection

1967-1992
1 box, portfolio 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: PH 029

While working as caretaker for veterans’ graves in 1966, Edward H. Duane became concerned about the deterioration he saw affecting the older tombstones. A resident of Leicester and (after 1968) Paxton, Mass., Duane was employed for many years as a shipper for companies in nearby Worcester, but preserving the information on tombstones became his calling. Over the following years, he made hundreds of rubbings of New England tombstones, teaching the technique at workshops and classes throughout the region. Among other works, he was author of The Old Burial Ground, Rutland, Mass., 1717-1888 (1983).

The Duane Collection contains an array of materials used by Edward Duane in his stone rubbing workshops in the 1970s and 1980s, along with newsclippings and short publications on New England gravestones and gravestone preservation. Among other items is an early essay of his, “Old New England Headstone, 1668-1815” (1967), accompanied by related correspondence from Allan Ludwig.

Subjects

Sepulchral monuments--Massachusetts

Contributors

Association for Gravestone StudiesDuane, Edward H

Types of material

PhotographsRubbings
Dudley, Joseph

Joseph Dudley Memoir and Diary

1866-1893
1 vol. 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 650 bd

Born in Cheshire, Conn., in 1822, Joseph Dudley learned “the marble business” from his father Elias, who had in turn been trained by David Ritter of New Haven. A staunch Methodist swept up in the religious ferment of the Second Great Awakening, Dudley joined his father’s business as a stonecutter in about 1845 and notes that he was among the first to letter tombstones in the rural Ever Green Cemetery in Woodstock, Conn., when it opened in 1848. He later worked in Meriden, Conn.

By generations, this volume has served as an account book, diary and memorandum book, memoir, geneaological record, and scrapbook, with each layer accumulated over all previous. Dudley’s memoir (beginning p. 78) includes a discussion of his upbringing in Cheshire, the tumultuous religious revivals during the 1840s and his reception into the Methodist Church and the Millerites, and much on his introduction to the marble business and work as a stonecutter through about 1853. The diary somewhat erratically covers the years 1873-1893.

Subjects

Marble industry and trade--ConnecticutMillerite movementSepulchral monuments--ConnecticutStonecutters

Contributors

Association for Gravestone StudiesDudley, Joseph

Types of material

DiariesMemoirs
Eslinger, L. Sidney (Lucille Sidney)

L. Sidney Eslinger Collection

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

Monte Ne (Ark.)Old Peoria State HospitalSepulchral monuments--IllinoisSepulchral monuments--IndianaSpringdale 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
Depiction 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

Sepulchral monuments--Massachusetts

Contributors

Association for Gravestone StudiesFarber, DanielFarber, Jessie Lie

Types of material

Photographs
Ferre, Marie

Marie Ferre Collection

1971-2013
2 boxes 0.75 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1040
Depiction 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

Sepulchral monuments--ConnecticutSepulchral monuments--Massachusetts

Types of material

Photographs
Freeman, James A., 1935-

James A. Freeman Collection

ca.1980-2015
8 boxes 12 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1036

A professor of English at UMass Amherst, James A. Freeman is a scholar of seventeenth century British literature who has compiled an impressively eclectic array of publications and research projects. Educated at Amherst College (AB 1956) and the University of Minnesota (PhD 1968), Freeman joined the faculty in the English Department at UMass shortly after completing his doctorate. He has published on topics ranging from Latin and Greek poets to Shakespeare, Milton, Swift, Tennyson, James Agee, Donald Duck, 17th century regicides, and 1930s radio. He has also served as a regular contributor and editor for the Association for Gravestone Studies Quarterly.

The Freeman Collection contains research materials, drafts, and images from Freeman’s varied research projects in the field of gravestone and cemetery studies.

Gift of James A. Freeman and the Association of Gravestone Studies, June 2018

Subjects

Cemeteries--New EnglandSepulchral monuments--New England
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

Sepulchral monuments--New EnglandStone 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--VermontSepulchral monuments--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

Sepulchral monuments--MassachusettsStone carving--MassachusettsSturbridge (Mass.)--History

Contributors

Association for Gravestone StudiesGriswold, Jonah B

Types of material

Daybooks