The Farber Gravestone Collection is an unusual resource containing over 13,500 images documenting the sculpture on more than 9,000 gravestones, most of which were made prior to 1800. The late Daniel Farber of Worcester, Massachusetts, and his wife, Jessie Lie Farber, were responsible for the largest portion of the collection. Others whose work is incorporated into the collection include Harriette Merrifield Forbes, who worked in the 1920s mainly in Massachusetts, and Dr. Ernest Caulfield, who documented Connecticut grave markers.

These early stones are both a significant form of artistic creation and precious records of biographical information, now subject to vandalism and to deterioration from the environment. The data accompanying the photographs include the name and death date of the deceased, the location of the stone, and information concerning the stone material, the iconography, the inscription, and (when known) the carver. Some carvers whose work is known but who have not been identified by name are entered by stylistic groupings, rather than by name. Carver attribution is a young and healthy area of research in a constant state of flux. In addition to the Farbers, others who worked to make this project a reality include Henry Lie, Dr. Ernest Caulfield, and Laurel Gabel.

Read an introductory essay on the collection, Early American Gravestones, by Jessie Lie Farber.

The American Antiquarian Society (AAS) is an independent research library founded in 1812 in Worcester, Massachusetts. The library's collections document the life of America's people from the colonial era through the Civil War and Reconstruction. Collections include books, pamphlets, newspapers, periodicals, broadsides, manuscripts, music, children's literature, graphic arts, genealogy and local histories. For further information, a brief account and a detailed overview of the AAS are provided.

Cartography Associates, founded in 1996 by map collector David Rumsey, promotes the distribution of digital facsimiles both in print and electronic media. Specializing in both primary source documents and cutting-edge technology, Cartography Associates is committed to developing tools that integrate cataloging with visual images on the Internet. CA's vision is to offer users the best of both worlds: the powerful searching, access, and user functionality made possible by technology, combined with the visual beauty, technical mastery and intellectual richness of original source materials.

Images copyright © 2003 by the American Antiquarian Society. Images may not be reproduced or transmitted unless for personal use. For commercial use or republication, contact


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