Child Angels

Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York

The last type of angel that Elisabeth L. Roark wrote about in her, “Embodying Immortality: Angels in America’s Rural Garden Cemeteries, 1850—1900”, pages 56 – 111, 2007 edition of Markers, XXIV, were child angels. Raork writes that the child angels should “not be confused with cherubs or putti, who are represented nude or lightly draped and are also found in the rural cemeteries, child angels typically appear to be two to five years old and wear simple shifts. Like their adult counterparts, they usually gaze at the grave, pray, record, or hold flowers.”

Cave Hill Cemetery, Louisville, Kentucky

Even though mortality rates in the late 19th Century were going down, infant and child death was extremely common. Roark theorizes that because a child’s death was such a family tragedy it required a more consoling message. “Cemetery historian, David Sloan, described rural cemeteries as ‘scenes of adoration of dead youth.’”

Oakland Cemetery, Atlanta, Georgia

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