You Don’t See Those Much Any More!

William Hayes Fogg (1817 – 1884) and his brother, Hiram (1812 – 1860), share a gray granite obelisk in the Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York.  After trade with Japan opened up, the Fogg brothers founded a trading company to import silk, tea, and lamp oil and made their fortune.

The ornamented plinth that the obelisk sits atop has two white marble insets—each a portrait.  In the medallion bas-relief portrait of William he sports full, bushy muttonchops!

Facial hair was very popular during the mid-to-late 19th Century.  In fact, we had “whiskers in the White House” from 1861 to 1913   Every president from Abraham Lincoln with his chin curtain, who was elected in 1860 to William Taft with his walrus mustache, who was elected 1908, had facial hair except for two—Andrew Johnson and William McKinley.

President Chester A. Arthur sporting a mustache and muttonchops!

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The Stag

The white marble gravestone in the Oakland Cemetery in Sandusky, Ohio, of Julius Wagner (born August 19, 1823 – died August 20, 1876) features a horn hanging from stag horns.  The stag horns symbolize piety and solitude and victory over Satan.

It also seems possible, a part from the symbolism attributed to antlers, that Julius Wagner was a successful hunter.

The stag when an elk is also a symbol of the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks, one of the many fraternal organizations in the United States.  The B.P.O.E. was originally a drinking club called the Jolly Corks founded in 1866 by a group of actors, who evidently liked to drink.  The club members made the fateful decision to change their organization’s name and increase their mission from frolic to public service.  Their symbol, obviously an elk, is a majestic animal as seen above in the Forest Lawn Cemetery in Omaha, Nebraska, standing guard in the Elks section of the graveyard.

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Neo-Classical Sarcophagus

Forest Lawn Cemetery, Buffalo, New York

Stanford White and Augustus Saint Gaudens collaborated on the pink granite Francis W. Tracy monument in the Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo, New York.  It is clear that White took his inspiration from an ancient classical design replicated in many modern graveyards modeled after the Roman tomb of Lucius Cornelius Scipio Barbatus.

The Scipio sarcophagus was erected around 150 BC.  Lucius Cornelius Scipio Barbatus (died c. 280 BC) was one of the two elected Roman consuls in 298 BC. His tomb is now preserved in the Vatican Museum in Rome, Italy. It is an example of classical Greek design based on the same design principles used for the Parthenon and described in a trade publication for stone carvers, “Design Hints for Memorial Craftsmen”, written by John Cargill, a designer from the Chicago design firm of Chas. G. Blake & Company, November 1928, Volume 5, Number 5, pages 14-16. The magazine was published monthly at St. Cloud, Minnesota, by editor and publisher, Dan B. Haslam.

According to Cargill, the scroll work, at the top of the canopy represents the Heavens, and also represented a bed. “The scrolls represent a bed; the bed refers to sleep and sleep is a type of death; and to the righteous death is but glorious transport to Paradise.”

Neo-classical exemplar of Scipio-like sarcophagus from Mt. Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Further in the article, he described the evolution of the classical architectural design principles, which he writes were conceived from the order that the ancients found in nature, primarily astrological, that were used in Greek architecture to imbue harmony into their structures.

The sarcophagus has three distinct planes representing the universe—the base, the middle, and the top. The base was symbolic of the Earth, the middle represented man and the gods, and the top of the sarcophagus where the scroll rests represented the Heavens.

In the traditional design there is the addition of more symbolism embedded on the monument. The triglyphs represent the column found in the Doric architectural order and most likely symbolizes a temple. The rosettes may be symbolic of sun gods. Some of the rosettes also have a cross designed into them. The cross was an ancient symbol adopted long before the Christians adopted it. For the ancients it was a symbol of the sun.

However, in the design by White, the triglyphs and rosettes have been replaced by and egg and dart design and an inset that includes a medallion bas-relief portrait of a young Tracy modeled by Saint Gaudens.  The portrait draws on Saint Gaudens’s expertise as an expert cameo cutter and his ability to imbue a bas-relief with detail. The medallion portrait within an ivy wreath is flanked by the inscription: TEARS TO THEE FAR FAR BELOW THE EARTH TEARS DO I BRING TO THEE AMONG THE DEAD.

The entire booklet, “Design Hints for Memorial Craftsmen,” can be found at the Quarries and Beyond Website:

The Quarries and Beyond Website was created by Peggy B. and Patrick Perazzo. It focuses on historic stone quarries, stone workers and companies, and related subjects such as geology. Whenever possible links of finished products are provided on the Website. There is a “Quarry Articles” section that presents articles, booklets, and links from the late 1800s to early 1900s, including the 1856 “The Marble-Workers’ Manual.” The “Cemetery Stones and Monuments” section provides references and resources, including many old monument magazines, catalogs, price lists, and a photographic tour “From Quarry to Cemetery Monuments.”

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Seated Angels

Not far inside the Gothic gates of the Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York, is the David and Adelia Stewart mausoleum.  The mausoleum was designed by Stanford White, of McKim, Mead and White, at one time, the largest and most prestigious architectural firm in the world.

The mausoleum is fairly plain ornamented with putti, or three winged and chubby-cheeked cherubs topping the building.

Underneath the cornice, a leaf design twines above the STEWART family name.  The bronze panels on either side the door feature an angel, both seated.  One holds a scroll with the Bible verse Matthew 5:4, “Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted.”

The other angel, masculine with thicker arms and without flowers intertwined in his hair, holds a long trumpet and most likely represents Gabriel—a subtle laurel leaf and twig motif is in the background.  The laurel leaf symbolizing victory over death.

Stanford White collaborated with Augustus Saint Gaudens on several projects including Saint Gaudens most famous funerary sculpture created for Clover Adams in St. Paul’s Rock Creek Cemetery in Washington, D.C.  There is some dispute, however, about how much White and Saint Gaudens collaborated on this mausoleum.  According to Nancy Adgent, in the article, “Augustus Saint Gaudens: Bringing the American Renaissance to the Cemetery,” page21, MARKERS XXXIV, it is unclear if the putti were crafted by Louis Saint Gaudens, brother to Augustus.  It does seem clear that Augustus did model the angels, though they are clearly before he had fully developed his concept of the angel created for Amor Caritas.  The wings are not intricately defined and the faces of the angels “are not the iconic Davida visage” in his master work.

Gilded Amor Caritas sculpture in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Typical of the many of the designs in which White and Saint Gaudens collaborated is the egg and dart motif around the bronze door to the mausoleum and the treatment of the lettering—“u” is replaced with a “v” and a dot appears between each word on the banner the angel is holding to the left of the door into the mausoleum.  According to the article, the design work of the figures is Saint Gaudens’s work.

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Angel of Charity



John Hudson Hall (October 15, 1828-March 3, 1891) was a successful paper manufacturer in the mid-to-late 19th Century.  He was also a patron of the arts.  Augustus Saint-Gaudens, the great Beaux-Arts sculptor, who some describe as the American “Michelangelo,” was commissioned to create the Hall Monument in the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery at Sleepy Hollow, New York.  The Hall Monument features an angel dressed in classical clothing holding a banner emblazoned with the Latin phrase “GLORIA IN EXCELSIS DEO” which translates to “Glory to God on the highest.”  The phrase is the name of a hymn known as the Greater Doxology and also the Angelic Hymn.  The angel’s wings sweep upward above her head almost encircling the Biblical verse, Revelation 14:13, “Write: Blessed are the dead which died in the Lord, from henceforth, Yea, saith the Spirit, for they rest from their Labors and their Works do follow them.”

The angel is a near replica of an earlier work he created titled, Amor Caritas, translated as Angel of Charity.

The model for the angel was Albertina Hulgen who became known as Davida Clark.  According to Nancy Adgent, in the article, “Augustus Saint Gaudens: Bringing the American Renaissance to the Cemetery,” page 19, MARKERS XXXIV, Clark had become, “Saint Gaudens’s mistress and the face for many of his public works.”

The gilded Amor Caritas, displayed in the Metropolitan Art Museum in New York City, describes Amor Caritas by saying it “represents the perfection of Saint Gaudens’s vision of the ethereal female, a subject that he modeled repeatedly, beginning in 1880.  The elegant figure in a frontal pose with free-flowing draperies and downcast eyes also appears in the caryatids for the Vanderbilt mantelpiece, displayed nearby, and in several [other] funerary works.”

The placard in the Met goes on to say, “Here, Saint-Gaudens made subtle changes in the drapery and added upward-curving wings, a tablet, and a belt and crown of passionflowers.”

Below the angel’s feet at the base of the monument is a medallion with a bas-relief portrait of John Hudson Hall with his birth and death dates on either side.  The medallion profiles were part of his signature works and shows his earlier craftsmanship as a cameo cutter, which began when he was a mere 13 years old.

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The Pitcher

Colma, California was established as a necropolis.  That is, the reason that Colma was created was to “house” the dead from San Francisco.  With the exception of the military cemetery at the Presidio, and a churchyard or two, all of the graves within the city were moved south to Colma.  Now the ratio of dead to living is so lopsided that the unofficial motto is, “It is great to be alive in Colma!”

What formed are cemeteries that are dedicated to various cultures and religions.  One of the historic cemeteries in Colma is the Home of Peace Cemetery—a Jewish cemetery.  Two of the gravestones within the cemetery display a pitcher.  In the Jewish tradition the pitcher connotes a person who descended from the Hebrew tribe of Levi.  One of the images actually shows water pouring from the pitcher in anticipation of a Levite assisting in the worship often by washing the hands of a priest.

The pitcher, however, in a Christian cemetery could take on one of two different meanings.  It could represent a person who was of strong moral character—often found on the gravestone of a woman.  Or it could mark the grave of a prohibitionist.

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The Rooster


The mosaic rooster on the columbarium in the St. Francis Cemetery in Phoenix, Arizona, and the rooster at the St. Bernard’s Cemetery, in Rockport, Indiana, represent awakening.  One can also imagine how the rooster crowing at the first rays of sunlight in the morning can also symbolize the resurrection.

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