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Monuments and Stonework

The Clements Library holds papers of multiple American stoneworkers.  Many of these carvers imported fine stone, such as marble, from overseas and made a living creating headstones and monuments.  This selection of items is from the Myrick Family Papers.  Albert, John, and William Myrick ran a gravestone and monument store in Palmyra, New York, from the 1860s to the 1880s.

Smith & Jones, The Cypress Wreath, v. 1, no. 1, Philadelphia: 19th century. Myrick Family Papers.

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Laurel Glen Mausoleum, stereoscopic views, Cuttingsville, Vermont: ca. 1880s.

These three views show the interior and exterior of Laurel Glen Mausoleum, constructed by John P. Bowman in 1881.  Bowman funded many improvements to Laurel Glen Cemetery and erected this monument to his family’s memory.  A statue of Bowman ascends the steps toward the mausoleum.

G. B. Croff, Laurel Glen Mausoleum, Rutland, Vermont: 1880.

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Porcelain Headstone Photograph: [20th century]. Mark A. Anderson Collection of Post-Mortem Photography.

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Epitaphs are inscriptions on tombstones or monuments.  They often include the name of the deceased, birth and death dates, and poignant verses.  The interest in epitaphs (particularly those of notable public figures) is suggested by the variety of published collections of them.

Robert Monteith, An Theater of Mortality, Edinburgh: 1704.
This collection of epitaphs from the Gray-Friars Church-yard in Edinburgh, Scotland, begins with the verse inscribed above its entrance:
      Remember Man, as thou goes by;
      As thou are now, so once was I;
      As I am now, so shalt thou be:
      Remember Man that thou must die.

John Bowden, The Epitaph-Writer, Chester, England: 1791.

Timothy Alden, A Collection of American Epitaphs and Inscriptions, New York: 1814.
This 5-volume collection of epitaphs and biographical notes includes this verse on Samuel Philbrick’s marker:
      As you are now, so once was I,
            Possessed of activity;
      As I am now, so you must be,
      Therefore, prepare to follow me.

The Hebrew passage on the title page of the volume is from the Book of Isaiah 40:6, meaning ‘All flesh is grass.’