Thursday, August 6, 2015


 In a lovely contrast to the recent vandalism of a mausoleum and headstone, the broken wings of an angel have been restored.

This pretty monument is hard to see from the main roads and paths;  it's tucked in a very quiet and shady corner of the South Ridge near Moordanaers Kill.  Still, it's a popular subject for photos and it's not unusual to see flowers tucked in the hands of the statue or in the two little urns on the pedestal.

The wings have been detached for many years.  Twenty years ago, when I first saw this monument, one wing was resting upside down on the base (and reminded me of a giant shell) and the other was propped up behind the monument.

December 2012

Sometime during the last month, someone refitted the wings back into their slots on the angel's shoulders.  A closer look shows how they've been secured with thin bits of stone and what look like coins.  The tips are long since broken and missing, but with the wings back in place, the pretty figure is now quite stunning.

This monument marks a single grave;  Elizabeth "Libbie" Lathrop.  Born in Albany in 1852, she was the daughter of Francis and Alida Griswold.  Her father was a gold beater whose home was 307 Hamilton Street (his place of business is listed in city directories as 23 Beaver Street.  She married Charles Lathrop, brother of Jane Lathrop who, with her husband Leland Stanford, founded Stanford University.  Charles served as the school's first treasurer.

Libbie died the same year the University was founded;  she passed away of heart disease in San Francisco on July 3.  She was thirty-three years old.  Her remains were returned to Albany and interred in this peaceful nook of the Cemetery on July 19.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Albany Marble Works

An advertisement for Thomas K. Kenny's Albany Marble Works from an 1844-5 city directory.  The ad feature a decorative mantelpiece and a scene reminiscent of popular late 18th and early 19th century mourning art;  a woman sadly contemplating a headstone beneath a stylized tree (see The Mourners for examples of similar imagery on gravestones and for links to two such scenes attributed to painter Ezra Ames). 

The ad lists the various types of marble articles of "every description" produced by the Marble Works, including  monuments and grave stones.  Several monuments by Thomas Kenny can be found at the Albany Rural Cemetery, including the Delavan monument and the signed Mary Kane headstone.