The Stele

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In 1928, the Georgia Marble Company of Tate, Georgia, produced a marketing piece in the form of a book titled, Memorials: To-Day for To-Morrow written by William Henry Deacy. The book was designed to showcase their memorial designs by highlighting them in the book with lush full-color watercolor illustrations of the various memorials. Along with the illustrations the book provided explanations of the symbolism found in the memorials. The book also coupled an architectural drawing of how the memorial is to be made.

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The stele, a stone or wooden slab generally taller than it is wide and designed as a funeral commemorative, dates back many centuries and is one of the oldest forms of gravestones.  Many examples of steles can be found in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, Greece. This example of a stele was created for Daisios, son of Euthias on the east coast of Attica in Southern Greece.  The stele dates to the middle of the 4th Century B.C. and has two rosettes on the shaft and is topped with an acroterion motif. The acroterion motif is a stylized palm leaf, which can be found on classical Roman and Greek architecture.  The word acroterion comes from the Greek meaning summit.  This motif has its origins in Egyptian art and architecture.

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The elegant 14 and a half foot tall Stony Creek granite stele below commemorating the graves of President William Howard Taft and his wife Helen Herron Taft was designed by James Earl Frazer.  Gold lettering states their names on the marker.

Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia

Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia

The stele below, found in the Green-Wood Cemetery, at Brooklyn, New York, was designed for A. H. Stobiber, the son of Felix and Helene Roux Stoiber. Stobiber was a New York resident born September 24, 1853, and died in Lausanne, Switzerland, on March 9, 1916. While this stele does not have the proportions of a classical stele it does have the other elements—rosettes and the acroterion motif.

Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York

Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York

The entire booklet can be found at the Quarries and Beyond Website: http://quarriesandbeyond.org/cemeteries_and_monumental_art/cemetery_stones.html.

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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