Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Taphophile Tragics

For a while now I have been following some other Bloggers who contribute to Taphophile Tragics
Had I not seen the beautiful photos everyone makes at cemeteries and the interersting stories they write about it I would not have thought of going to a cemetery to make photos. But this weekly meme got me interested. 

As per the Taphophile Tragics website:

Taphophilia is an interest, morbid or otherwise, in graveyards and cemeteries. Graveyards were attached to churches, whereas cemeteries were specifically set up for the burial of the dead.
A taphophile is one who finds they are attracted to walking around cemeteries, reading the headstones and musing upon the familiy history contained therein.

This weekend I went to The Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York to make photos. This is a enormous cemetery and was founded in 1838. Green-Wood is 478 acres of hills, valleys, glacial ponds and paths. The landscape is still the same as it was in 1838. By 1860 Green-Wood was attracting 500,000 visitors a year, rivalling Niagara Falls as the country's greatest tourist attraction. People liked to come out to the cemetery with their families to have picnics, carriage rides, view the beautiful sculptures and enjoy the landscape. This cemetery was a fashionable place to be buried. There are 560,000 people buried on this cemetery, including Leonard Bernstein, Louis Comfort Tiffany, Civil war generals, baseball legends, politicians etcetera.

I have made many, many photos and had a hard time choosing which ones to post for this weeks Taphophile Tragics. I chose for the photos I made of children's graves and from gravestones that had a 'mama' or 'mother' inscription. Unfortunately I didn't have time to do more research and maybe find some information on the people who were buried. 

This is my contribution to Taphophile Tragics:
George. Son of John and Ann Gill. Died December 9, 1849. Aged 5 years and 9 months.

Our Mamie and Willie
Ma and Tommie

Our babies Thomas and Mary Jane, children of T. and E. Henry
Mama. Isabella S. Brady died July 28, 1886 in her 51st year. At Rest.

This gravestone seemed very modern to me, considering it was made in 1886. The way the carved out the word
'mama' and the engraved leaves above that are beautiful, but as said, it seems so modern for that time to me.


  1. Here you have a heart-wrenching collection of mother-child headstones, Nellie. That's one big cemetery... and it's hard to imagine any one cemetery rivalring Niagara Falls as a destination... but that must have been before long-distance travel became easy, right?

  2. From the research I've done on Greenwood Nellies, one could spend hours and hours there. I wonder if you will make a return visit sometime? Poignant photos and loved the black and white tribute.

  3. Welcome to Taphophile Tragics! What an interesting post, definitely a cememtery I would like to visit one day. Fantastic pictures, really beautiful.

    Herding Cats


  4. It's hard to imagine half a million people buried in one place. The black and whites are most effective for the age of these graves.

  5. I would tend to agree with you on that 'mama' it also looks to be in excellent condition.
    the one that says 'our babies' made me choke up a little.

  6. Firstly, welcome to Taphophile Tragics. It is so good to have you aboard here, after bumping into you all over the blogosphere!

    One of the fascinating things about the posts that we each are making is that it shows up a difference between otherwise fairly similar cultures. The headstones you have shown here today, Nellie, I don't think I have seen very many of in Australia. Rarely do I find markers that don't have facts and figures.

    However, your selection is just grand, and the use of B&W is very effective. I bet you have many more images lurking on your hard drive somewhere. I would love to see you back again next week.

  7. aaah, finally!!
    i think the first head is a bit freaky, with the eyes. but maybe it is due to age/weathering..?
    this is not the cemetery next to the subway, right? i want to see this one (and the subway one), too!! (if i think of all i still want to do while in the us, i wonder whether i will ever find the time... probably not.. :( )

  8. Iedere steen vertelt een verhaal. Twee kinderen of mama en kind, zo triest.

  9. Very interesting post and great shots!
    Don't feel at ease in that kind of place though.
    Thanks for sharing. And thanks for visiting and taking the time to comment;o)

    Happy day****

  10. Hi! I also blogged about Green-Wood Cemetery, although I joined in Taphophile Tragics a little late. I enjoyed looking at your selection of gravestones. Some were familiar but many I haven't noticed before. It's nice to find another fellow New Yorker's blog!

  11. That first one is a bit creepy looking!

  12. I find these photos both fascinating and depressing. The children's graves are very moving, and I love your choice of b&w.

  13. Looking at children's graves is one fo the most poignant experiences in a cemetery. Such a high infant mortality in the past makes me thankful for our modern health care.


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