American Antiquarian Society Collections

The Farber Gravestone Collection is an unusual resource documenting the sculpture on over 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. The American Antiquarian Society would like to acknowledge the assistance of Daniel and Jessie Lie Farber, Henry Lie, Dr. Ernest Caulfield, Laurel Gabel, and David Rumsey, all of whom worked to make this project a reality.