A GRAVE AFFAIR

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Grave Matters #1- Winter, 2007


 

A Handsome Broadside Elegy-

th-30827.jpg (43010 bytes)1. [Broadside] An Elegy on the Death of Mr. Harfield Lyndsey, Aged 26 Years. [Enfield, Massachusetts; John Howe: ca. 1837]. A very handsome broadside elegy, featuring a woodcut border of stylized leaves, with a coffin in the upper left corner. The main elegy is added to by “An Acrostic” by “Samuel Dunn, Aet. 91 years 7 months”. Samuel Dunn [1746-1843] wrote a number of funereal acrostics and poems, and was known as something of a “poet of the death-bed”. The broadside is attributed to the printer John Howe of Enfield, Massachusetts. Enfield is one of the towns which was submerged by the Quabbin Reservoir in the 20th century. Broadside. 8.5”x9”, light soil, some light wrinkling. [30827] $250.00


 

2. Clarke, George Kuhn. Epitaphs from Graveyards in Wellesley (Formerly West Needham), North Natick, and Saint Mary’s Churchyard in Newton Lower Falls, Massachusetts, with Genealogical and Biographical Notes. Boston; Privately printed: 1900. A collection of quite detailed transcriptions and descriptions, gathered during 1897 and ’98. At the end of the book there is an additional 5-page offprint from the Dedham Historical Society Register titled ”Epitaphs from a Graveyard in Weston”. Hardcover 6.5”x10”, 236 + 5 pages; bound in old grey cloth with leather spine; label worn, cover a bit soiled; ex-historical society with bookplate and stamp on title page. [30699] $75.00

 

th-30681.jpg (20471 bytes)3. Coffin, Margaret M. Death in Early America. The History and Folklore of Customs and Superstitions of Early Medicine, Funerals, Burials, and Mourning. New York; Elsevier/Nelson: 1976. A very interesting, informative book, touching on funeral customs, coffins and hearses, superstitions and warnings of death, burial grounds, gravestones and epitaphs, body snatching, mourning customs, memorials, etc. The text is well illustrated with a wide variety of b/w illustrations. Hardcover. 6”x9”, 252 pages, b/w illustrations, dj; bibliography. A little light wear, but a very nice copy. [30681] $85.00

 

th-30533.jpg (22529 bytes)4. Ehl, Peter, Arno Parik & Jiri Fiedler. Old Bohemian and Moravian Jewish Cemeteries. Prague; Paseka: 1991. A poignant pictorial survey of the old, overgrown Jewish cemeteries of Bohemia and Moravia, with a descriptive listing of the Jewish communities, most of which were exterminated during the Holocaust, whose cemeteries are illustrated. Hardcover. 9”x11”, 172 pages, b/w illustrations, dj; light wear. [30533] $40.00

 

th-09943.jpg (28214 bytes)5. Manuscript Gravestone Design. New England, ca.1834. An interesting ink design of a tombstone, drawn carefully, a square stone on a 2-tier plinth, with a large central point and two smaller points to the right and left. Single sheet. 7.25”x9”. Ink on paper. Several folds, a few light creases, some light spotting and soil, but overall nice. [09943] SOLD

The text reads in full-

“Here
lies the body of
Rev. Samuel Porter Williams
Born in
Wethersfield, Conn. Feb. 22, 1779;
Graduated at Yale College 1796;
Ordained in Mansfield Conn. Jan. 1, 1807;
Removed from Mansfield,
Sept. 7, 1817;
Installed over the
First Presbyterian Church,
Newburyport, Feb. 8, 1821;
Obit. Dec. 23, 1826.
His ancestors were the people of God;
Let his descendants seek
no other lot.
He was a preacher of the Gospel;
Let his hearers
If they would honour him,
Obey that Gospel;
And ‘if in life he tried in vain to save
O, let them hear him preaching from the grave’
Newburyport, May 14, 1834”.

 

th-09939.jpg (12734 bytes)6. [Marble] Trade Card for Portsmouth, New Hampshire Marble Works. Portsmouth; no date (c.1870-1900). The card reads- “Borthwick & Welsh, Marble Workers. Constantly on hand - Foreign and American Marble for Gravestones & Monuments, Shops in Exeter, Front St., near the Depot of the Boston & Maine Railroad, and at No.18 Bow St., Portsmouth, N.H.” I haven’t been able to find much information on Borthwick & Welsh, but the Salisbury Point Cemetery in Amesbury, Massachusetts has an 1846 stone signed by the firm. 1 Card. 2.5”x3.5”, black ink on cream stock, using several fancy lettering fonts. Slight soil. [09939] $40.00

 

th-30829.jpg (70974 bytes)7. Memorial Lithograph. Hartford; E.B. & E.C. Kellogg: probably 1845-50.

A handsome colored memorial lithograph featuring a monument in the form of a pedestal with a stylized urn on top, set amidst other gravestones and rose bushes, under a weeping willow tree.

In the background the scene stretches away starting with a churchyard, beyond that a hill, and beyond that a sailing ship.

The monument has the printed legend “In Memory of”, with no name or details filled in below.

The Kellogg company has been called “Connecticut’s Currier & Ives”; they published a variety of popular prints from the 1840s to the end of the century. The imprint “E.B. & E.C. Kellogg” was used during the 1840s, 50s and 60s.

A handsome lithograph with interesting details. Colored lithograph. 11”x14”; some foxing, and several folds; several short closed tears, 1” and 1.5” long; left margin cut on a bit of a bias. [30829] $375.00

 

th-09942.jpg (18120 bytes)8. [Mount Auburn] Services at the Consecration of the Cemetery at Mount Auburn, Saturday, September 24, 1831. “From the Eve. Gazette Office”: 1831. The printed order of services at the consecration of the famous Mount Auburn Cemetery, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The first page lists the services- I. Instrumental Music by the Boston Band. II Introductory Prayer by the Rev. Dr. Ware. III. Hymn written by the Rev. Mr. Pierpont (with the text of the hymn). IV. Address by the Hon. Joseph Story. V. Concluding Prayer by the Rev. Mr. Pierpont. Music, by The Band.” The second page provides the text of another hymn. 2 pages, 4.25”x7”, some creases and a little soil; apparently bound into, and then removed from, a larger volume. [09942] SOLD

 

th-30823.jpg (25065 bytes)9. [Mourning Card] “In Affectionate Remembrance of William Henry Taylor, Who Died January 30th, 1879, Aged 14 Years”. No place: 1879. A pictorially pleasing embossed card in black & white with winged angels sitting atop a temple with columns, flanked by willows to each side and an urn at the top. The middle of the card contains the text, including a memorial poem. 3”x4.5”, embossed cream-colored card stock with the “picture” raised above the background, which is colored in black. Light soil, but very nice. [30823] $45.00

   

th-30824.jpg (26358 bytes)10. [Mourning Card] “In Memory of Sarah Waller Who Died 7th Sept. Aged 79 Years. Interred in the Bon[illegible] Cemetery, the 11th Day of Sept. 1865”. London; Moses John Hickman, Furnishing Undertaker: 1865. An unusual and attractive die-cut, embossed and colored mourning card. The scene shows a weeping woman before a gravestone, with a weeping willow’s branches spreading overhead and lilies growing around her. The background is cut-out, and the willow leaves and border of the tombstone and ground are colored dark-gold. The personal details are filled-in in pen, and the card bears the imprint of a London undertaker at the bottom. A very attractive card. 3.5”x5”, embossed cream-colored stock bordered in black, die-cut and partially colored with gold; light wear, a little soil, very slight damage to a few willow leaves and lilies. [30824] $65.00

 

11. [Mourning Cards] Four Un-Printed Embossed Mourning Card Blanks. Probably England, 1860s or 70s. Four black-bordered mourning card blanks with embossed scenes, but entirely unprinted. The scenes include- a crypt with willows and 2 angels; a tombstone with a sorrowing angel comforting a sobbing child with willows; a crying woman with columns and a short iron fence and, of course, willow branches; a woman comforting another woman, with decorative borders. 4 cards. Each 3”x4.5”, black borders and embossed designs. A little scattered wear, but very nice. [30826] $165.00

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th-09938.jpg (10767 bytes)12. The Order for The Burial of the Dead. Smith, Kay & Co., Printers. 1914. A small booklet for the Funeral Service, presumably of the Church of England. Printed opposite the first page is “In Memoriam - Mary Macleod, Born 10th February, 1859. Died 5th January, 1914. Interred at Brompton Cemetery, January 10th, 1914.” Hardcover. 3”x5”, 16 pages; bound in the publisher’s dark blue blindstamped cloth with gilt title and emblem. Quite nice, bright, unworn condition. [09938] $20.00

 

th-09940.jpg (11055 bytes)13. Ruby, Jay. Secure the Shadow. Death and Photography in America. Cambridge; The MIT Press: 1995. An exploration and analysis of the photographic representation of death in the United States from the 1840s to the present day. “Looks at the way in which people have taken and used photographs of deceased loved ones and their funerals to mitigate the finality of death”. Softcover. 7.5”x9.5”, 220 pages, b/w illustrations; light wear, small stain at the lower margin for about 50 pages. [09940] $125.00

 

14. [Satiric Death’s-Head Print] Doctor. Probably English, late 19th century. A satiric partially-colored print showing a doctor pouring something from a yellow bottle at a patient’s bedside- the doctor is nattily outfitted in blue pin-striped pants and a brown frock coat, but has a white skull for a head. 7.25”x9”, colored print; light soil. [30828] SOLD

th-30828.jpg (18194 bytes)The 8-line poem below the illustration reads-

“Thou vile slayer of the human race!
You disguised death head out of place;
You bird of prey and graveyard gloom,
Who always scapes a murderer’s doom;
Mean poisoner and disease-catcher,
You human ghoul and body snatcher.
Death, fiendish imp, so cold and grim,
Makes you do all the work for him.”

th-09944.jpg (40966 bytes)15. Spear, Charles. Essays on the Punishment of Death. Boston; Published by the author: 1845. 11th edition.

A famous anti-death penalty text by a Unitarian minister and reformer. Perhaps most famous today for its dramatic frontispiece, illustrating a condemned forger, bound by chains to a stone pillar in a dungeon, his prostrate wife and three young children at his feet.

Hardcover. 5”x7.5”, xii + 237 + 10 pages; lithographed frontispiece of “The Condemned Forger”; woodcut “Preparing for the Execution” in the text. Publisher’s blindstamped cloth; covers somewhat soiled and worn, contents with some toning, scattered foxing, and rumpled. [09944] $85.00

 

16. [Tombstone Catalog] Vermont Marble Company. 1918 Price List of Rutland White, Vermont Blue, Sutherland Falls, Pittsford Valley, Pittsford Italian, Riverside, Brandon Italian. Proctor, Vermont: 1918. A comprehensive trade catalog of the full variety of tombstones and memorials available from this important marble company. The first 25 pages discuss type of marbles and finishes, show how stones are shipped, and illustrate several mausoleums and monuments. The last 575 pages are devoted to line illustrations, technical specifications and prices of the tombstones and memorial stones themselves, in a variety of period styles, usually 2-3 per page. Limp cloth covers. 4.5”x8.5”, 600 pages, several thousand line illustrations; covers with some soil and rubbing, a few creases; hinges tight; endpapers soiled, preliminary pages with a few creases, but otherwise the contents are clean and nice. [30830] SOLD

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th-30825.jpg (14493 bytes)17. [Undertaker’s Card] “Davis Brothers, Dealers in Fine, Medium and Common Furniture, Drapery Poles and Curtain Fixtures. Five and Ten Cent Goods a Specialty. Also, Funeral and Furnishing Undertakers”. Davis Block, Tenant’s Harbor, Maine. Probably 1890s-1900. An interesting card showing the various businesses with which small-town undertakers were engaged in the late 19th century. 3”x4.5”, nice typography. Light soil. [30825] $35.00

 

You won’t see many cookbooks in our ‘Grave Matters’ or ‘Grave Affair’ catalogs, but here’s one we could not resist-

th-90223.jpg (11154 bytes)18. Ward, Jessica Bemis. Food to Die For. A Book of Funeral Food, Tips and Tales. Lynchburg; Old City Cemetery/Southern Memorial Association: 2004. A cookbook and photographic tour of Lynchburg’s historic Old City Cemetery, all in one book!

The act of taking food to the bereaved when someone has died is a way of giving expression to sentiments that cannot always be put into words. Practically and psychologically, the edible offering provides sustenance and comfort. It is the main object of this book to gather the recipes that people present as Funeral food. This unique cookbook includes more than 100 great recipes for Central Virginia’s favorite comfort foods, including Jane’s Corn Pudding, Cheese Straws, Mur’s Peas, Bookstore Punch, and Sweet Briar Cookies as well as lighthearted looks at funeral customs, old and new, practical advice for writing obituaries and condolence notes, and useful terminology like ‘funeral tsar’ and ‘dying order’. The cookbook contains 180 pages of recipes, etiquette, and anecdotes”.

Established in 1806, the Old City Cemetery in Lynchburg, Virginia is the state’s oldest continuously-operated public cemetery. This book contains not only funeral lore and recipes, but many photographs of the beautiful and historic grounds and buildings. A unique cookbook. Spiral bound. 7.5”x9”, 180 pages, b/w illustrations. New. [90223] $25.00

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Northampton, Mass 01061

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