NEW ENGLAND GRAVESTONE IMAGERY COLLECTION, ca. 1650-1815
(2 cu. ft.: 3 (.5) Flt B, 3 portfolio boxes)
by: Jennifer Snyder, February 2002
Allan I. Ludwig, an historian and photographer, was born in 1933 in Yonkers, NY. He studied at Yale University, earning a BFA in 1956, a MA in 1960, and a PhD in 1964. Additionally, from 1960 to1963 he was a Bollingen fellow. Graven Images: New England Stonecarving and Its Symbols, 1650-1815 was originally published by Wesleyan University Press, and has most recently (1999) been reprinted by the University Press of New England. It continues to be a seminal work. He works in platinum and silver gelatin photographic printing media. Ludwig took the photographs for this survey between 1957 and 1959.
In 1963, as part of its 50th Anniversary program, Art in America magazine sponsored the publication of a series of portfolios of original gravestone rubbings made by Ann Parker and Avon Neal. The work was conducted under a Ford Foundation Grant. A limited number of each of the rubbings was made for the portfolios, issued in three different sizes. They are published under the title: A Portfolio of Rubbings from Early American Stone Sculpture Found in the Burying Grounds of New England.
Scope and Content
This collection is arranged in two (2) series.
Series 1: PHOTOGRAPHS BY ALLAN LUDWIG, 1957-1959
408 photoprints with captions. The photos were originally divided into 6 volumes. These were then consolidated into 3 binders. The original 6 divisions have been maintained here. Each photograph has been numbered. The number corresponds to the "List of Identifications."
Series 2: PORTFOLIOS OF RUBBINGS, 1963
Forty-two rubbings of gravestones issued in three portfolios of different sizes. There are forteen rubbings in each box. The portfolios are number #16 of an edition of 50.
The Ludwig portion of the collection was donated to NMAH (formerly United States National Museum) in 1959 by Saul Ludwig. The three portfolios were purchased by the Museum in 1964 from Ann Parker and Avon Neal. The materials were transferred to the Archives Center in 1998 from the Division of Cultural History and combined to form one collection.
From the Ludwig photographs, seven stones were selected by the Museum in 1960 to be reproduced in plastic resin for exhibition; the replicas were executed by Smithsonian craftsmen under the direction of Allan Ludwig. The reproductions are in the Division of Cultural History collections.
The Division of Cultural History retains a number of objects relating to death, dying, and mortuary services (including coffin manufacturing). The Division also has tools and other objects relating to stone carving and gravestones.