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.
- Bennington (Vt.)--History
- Bennington Centre Cemetery
- Collins, Zerubbabel
- Sepulchral monuments--Vermont
- Stone carvers--Vermont
Types of material