Farber Gravestone Collection (American Antiquarian Society)

Lamson, Joseph Mousell, 1730, Boston, Massachusetts. Data from: The Farber Gravestone Collection, American Antiquarian Society

One of the most highly prized photographic archives at the American Antiquarian Society is the photographic archive known to Americanists as the Farber Gravestone Collection. Containing more than 13,500 images documenting in great detail the sculpture on more than 9,000 early American grave markers, mostly made prior to 1800, the archive is especially strong for central and southern New England, with selective coverage of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. The collection further includes selected images of gravestones from the Middle Atlantic and southeastern United States, the Maritime Provinces of Canada, and Great Britian.

These early gravestone sculptures are both a significant form of artistic creation — the earliest coherent body of American sculpture — and provide a wealth of biographical information, such as name, death date of the deceased, stone location, and information concerning the stone material, iconography, the inscription, and (when known) the carver. The photographs are of such high quality that individual “hands” (carvers) may be identified even when a given sculptor is anonymous.

The late Daniel Farber of Worcester, Massachusetts, and his wife, Jessie Lie Farber, were responsible for the largest portion of the collection. We are most grateful to the American Antiquarian Society for sharing this wonderful resource through Artstor.