Two of a Kind

JAMES B. OLIVER

BORN APRIL IV,

MCCCCXLIV

DIED NOV., XXVIII

MCMV

James B. Oliver was a highly successful steel magnate in Pennsylvania.  He is buried in the Allegheny Cemetery in Pittsburgh in an elaborately adorned sarcophagus festooned with symbolism literally on every corner of the monument.

According to Images of America: Allegheny Cemetery, written by Lisa Speranza and Nancy Foley and published by Arcadia Publishing, 2016, page 26, “James opted for this spectacular original work in bronze, which depicts angels, virtues, and boughs of plenty held up on the shells of turtles.”

However, there was at least one other made just like it which rests in the St. Paul’s Rock Creek Cemetery in Washington, D.C. and marks the grave of James B. Oliver’s daughter, Frances Oliver Johnson and her husband:

FRANCES OLIVER

JOHNSON

BORN MARCH XXIV/MDCCC-LXXVII

DIED MAY XVII

MCMVI

LOREN BASCOM TABER

JOHNSON

BORN JUNE XV, MCCCLXXV

DIED DECEMBER SIV, MCMXLI

Both of these sarcophagi were manufactured at the John Williams Foundry (Jno. Williams, Inc.) in New York City.  The foundry was established in 1875 by John Williams who had been an employee of Tiffany & Company who left to start his own enterprise.

The foundry worked with some of the most influential and well-known sculptors of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, such as, Louis Amateis, Karl Bitter, Gutzon Borglum, Pompeo Coppini, Daniel Chester French, Harriet Frishmuth Carl Augustus Heber, Anna Hyatt Huntington, Charles Keck, Edward Kemeys, Samuel Kilpatrick, Augustus Lukeman, Frederick MacMonnies, R. Tait McKenzie, Percival J. Morris, Allen George Newman, Charles Niehaus, Roalnd Hinton Perry, J. Massey Rhind, Andrew O’Connor, Alexander Phimister Proctor, Augustus Saint Gaudens, Anton Schaaf, Francois Tonetti, Gaetan Trentanove, J. Q. A. Ward, Olin Levi Warner, Albert Weinert, and George Julian Zolnay.

The foundry manufactured architectural pieces, such as bronze doors, for the Boston Public Library, the Library of Congress, and the United States Capitol building, as well as, sculptural pieces, such as, the tigers in front of Nassau Hall at Princeton University.

 

The Jno. Williams advertisements were all from an industry publication, The Monumental News, and were researched and provided by Peggy Perazzo who shares her vast collection of gravestone catalogs and resources at her 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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