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Sticks and Stones: Three Centuries of North…
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Sticks and Stones: Three Centuries of North Carolina Gravemarkers (Richard… (utgåvan 2014)

av M. Ruth Little (Författare)

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451455,998 (3.75)Ingen/inga
An old graveyard, writes Ruth Little, is a cultural encyclopedia--an invaluable source of insight and information about the families, traditions, and cultural connections that shape a community. But although graveyards and gravemarkers have long been recognized as vital elements of the material culture of New England, they have not received the same attention in the South. Sticks and Stones is the first book to consider the full spectrum of gravemarkers, both plain and fancy, in a southeastern state. From gravehouses to cedar boards to seashell mounds to tomb-tables to pierced soapstones to homemade concrete headstones, an incredibly rich collection of gravemarker types populates North Carolina's graveyards. Exploring the cultural, economic, and material differences that gave rise to such variation, Little traces three major parallel developments: a tradition of headstones crafted of native materials by country artisans; a series of marble monuments created by metropolitan stonecutters; and a largely twentieth-century legacy of wood and concrete markers made within the African American community. With more than 230 illustrations, including 120 stunning photographs by Tim Buchman, Sticks and Stones offers an illuminating look at an important facet of North Carolina's cultural heritage.… (mer)
Medlem:WilliamThomasWells
Titel:Sticks and Stones: Three Centuries of North Carolina Gravemarkers (Richard Hampton Jenrette Series in Architecture and the Decorative Arts)
Författare:M. Ruth Little (Författare)
Info:University of North Carolina Press (2014), Edition: Reprint, 352 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
Betyg:***
Taggar:Ingen/inga

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Sticks and Stones: Three Centuries of North Carolina Gravemarkers (Richard Hampton Jenrette Series in Architecture and the Decorative Arts) av M. Ruth Little

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It isn't often admitted, but the most fascinating site in any town is usually it's cemetery. Neighborhoods grow and change, people come and go, but the town cemetery stays. In a world that moves rapidly, a cemetery stays, well, deathly still. Cemeteries emphasize the eternal. Here the concerns of the nanosecond have no relevance. One is reminded that no matter how fast and furious we live our lives, this is our ultimate destination.

Because they resist the change that besets the rest of the world, cemeteries are places of peace and contemplation. They are also often chronicles of an entire history of its town. Most major historical events, especially if they involve death- such as wars and plagues- will find a monument in the cemetery. In older graveyards entire family histories can be traced from stone to stone and plot to plot.

There are other, subtler signs as well. Styles of death change. Graveyards which began neatly next to churches are formalized, or let go to seed. Park-like settings are laid out and then abandoned as the became full. Markers are fashioned out of sandstone, then marble when the fashion changed. They were ornate, then austere. The styles and architecture of headstones and crypts reflected the values and culture (and wealth) of the families and the community.

For the past ten years, historian Ruth Little has been travelling through North Carolina documenting historical cemeteries and gravemarkers. It began as a simple historical survey for the North Carolina Folk Life Project (a group which deserves a huge amount of praise). It obviously became a labor of love. As Little wandered through old gravesite and backyard family plots she began to realize what a wealth of historical and cultural information was contained on these simple markers and their single sentence dedications.

A book simply had to come of it. The good people at the University of North Carolina Press in Chapel Hill agreed, and together they have brought out Sticks and Stones: Three Centuries of North Carolina Gravemarkers. It is a large book, nearly coffee-table sized, with hundreds of photographs and illustrations. It has much, much more information than your average coffee table book though, and is a necessary and worthy addition to any library. People who are interested in local history, art or architectural history, or even genealogical research will find Sticks and Stones invaluable. The information, for example, on the differences between the Anglican and Scottish Highlander styles of gravestones will open your eyes to your own churchyard. If you are one of those people who likes to wander through historic cemeteries, you will find that Sticks and Stones can be used almost like a guide book to the many different styles of grave markers found there.

Little divides the book by area, after a brief introduction on gravestone styles and terminology. She covers the Coastal Plain first- partly because it was the earliest area of North Carolina settled, and partly because there is the least to say. More than any other part of the state, Eastern North Carolina has suffered the predations of wind and weather. It is an area that has no naturally occurring stone. Only the wealthiest could afford to import granite, sandstone, or marble from New England or even Britain to grace their loved ones' final resting places. Less affluent folk made do with found objects like ballast stones, or simple wooden crosses which have not withstood the centuries.

Little visited cemeteries up and down the eastern coast- discussing some in great detail. The cemetery at St. Paul's Episcopal church in New Bern is the burial site of most of the important figures in early North Carolina politics, and has survived more or less intact. She mentions the churchyard cemetery of St. James Church in Wilmington as another important survivor from the eighteenth century. An equally large section is devoted to the few remaining Black cemeteries she found. Little points out the natural differences in the attitudes between white graveyards (which tend to be austere and expensive) and early black cemeteries, which tend to be more naturalistic, more remote, and which utilize found objects such as shells as their grave markers. Little's thoughtful commentaries turn the silent stones of any graveyard into a book which can be read- often more easily than the faded inscriptions on the stones themselves.
  southernbooklady | Apr 21, 2008 |
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An old graveyard, writes Ruth Little, is a cultural encyclopedia--an invaluable source of insight and information about the families, traditions, and cultural connections that shape a community. But although graveyards and gravemarkers have long been recognized as vital elements of the material culture of New England, they have not received the same attention in the South. Sticks and Stones is the first book to consider the full spectrum of gravemarkers, both plain and fancy, in a southeastern state. From gravehouses to cedar boards to seashell mounds to tomb-tables to pierced soapstones to homemade concrete headstones, an incredibly rich collection of gravemarker types populates North Carolina's graveyards. Exploring the cultural, economic, and material differences that gave rise to such variation, Little traces three major parallel developments: a tradition of headstones crafted of native materials by country artisans; a series of marble monuments created by metropolitan stonecutters; and a largely twentieth-century legacy of wood and concrete markers made within the African American community. With more than 230 illustrations, including 120 stunning photographs by Tim Buchman, Sticks and Stones offers an illuminating look at an important facet of North Carolina's cultural heritage.

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