Sunday, March 4, 2012

Epitaph & Icon : Featured library resource for March 2012

Those wishing to delve more into local cemeteries after February's terrific monthly program (Laurel Gabel on "Understanding Early Gravestones") might wish to begin by having a look at this paperback in the CCGS Library collection: Epitaph & icon : a field guide to the old burying grounds of Cape Cod, by Diane Hume George and Malcolm A. Nelson.

Published in 1983, it is concise but thorough, listing significant stones in all the Cape towns, including Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.  There are chapters on epitaphs, on iconography (including motifs and major carvers), and on each town.  The text is liberally sprinkled with black and white photos of interesting examples of gravestones.  Also included is an itinerary for a "highlights" tour of ten outstanding cemeteries from West Barnstable to Truro, as well as four highlights on Martha's Vineyard.

As the authors point out in their introduction "Gradually we came to see that burying grounds are outdoor libraries, archives and museums... [This book] deals with objects created for a culture which was distrustful of art, [with] no conception of art for art's sake... If you would study early American sculpture, the burying ground is the only place."

There are many other resources on burying grounds in our library collection, including unpublished sources.  Please browse the Online Catalog sections on Books / Cemeteries and Archives & Manuscripts / Unpublished Materials on Cemeteries.  Then come to the Library and explore!

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