Thursday, October 6, 2011

Grave Matters - Recommended Cemetery Books

By now, if you've been following my blog or my Facebook posts, you know I am a huge cemetery nut. It's one of the only places to think and relieve stress that also inspires me to write.

I got into cemetery touring, history, and photography in my early 20s. I thought for October, I'd share a list of cemetery books with you. They make great research tools for writers or are just a good way to relax and appreciate the beautiful craftsmanship of days gone by. There are so many beautiful books out there, but these are a few to get you started.

The Cemetery Booklist 2011

1) Love Cemetery: Unburying the Secret History of Slaves  by China Galland - details the restoration and history of an unmarked slave cemetery in East Texas.

2) City of the Dead: A Journey Through St. Louis Cemetery #1, New Orleans, Louisiana by Robert Florence - details some of the most famous graves in New Orleans and the history of cemeteries there.

3) New Orleans Cemeteries: Life in the Cities of the Dead by Robert Florence - includes pictures of 13 cemeteries in New Orleans.

4) Stories in Stone: The Complete Guide to Cemetery Symbolism by Douglas Keister - details the symbolism of tombstones. When I first got into cemetery touring, this book was an invaluable guide.

5) Stories Told In Stone: Cemetery Iconology by Gaylord Cooper - another invaluable guide to cemetery symbolism.

6) A Graveyard Preservation Primer (American Association for State and Local History) by Lynette Strangstad - a must-have book for anyone attempting graveyard restorations and preservation.

7) The Victorian Cemetery (Shire Library) by Sarah Rutherford - discusses the Victorian approach to burial and surviving cemeteries today.

8) The American Resting Place: 400 Years of History Through Our Cemeteries and Burial Grounds by Marilyn Yalom - photographs and discussions of burial places from all different cultures across America, including Native American mounds.

10) Savannah Cemeteries by Matthew Propst - details Savannah, Georgia cemeteries/history, which I think are beautiful, having toured them myself.

11) Forever Dixie: A Field Guide to Southern Cemeteries & Their Residents by Douglas Keister - included are the graves of Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash.

12) MAGNIFICENT SEVEN, THE: London's First Landscaped Cemeteries by John Turpin - the famous cemeteries of London designed from 1832 on.

13) Houses of Life: Jewish Cemeteries of Europe by Joachim Jacobs -tour of 30 Jewish cemeteries from the Roman Era to modern Britain and France.

) Understanding Scottish Graveyards by Betty Willsher

15) Beautiful Death: The Art of the Cemetery by Dean Koontz - I own this book and it is a great addition to any Koontz collection.


Unknown said...

I'm going to New Orleans for Halloween, and I hope to be able to see the Cities of the Dead. Cemeteries always have such stories to tell. Thanks for the great choices to be added to the TBR list!


Unknown said...

Welcome. I refreshed after fixing some spacing problems and was surprised someone had commented so fast! LOL

Pamela said...

What an awesome post! My friend found her daughter's name on a tombstone. Chalnessa. You went to a lot of work preparing this list for us. Can't wait to locate some of them.


Shah Wharton said...

Wow -I never heard of this but looking at your in depth post allows me to see exactly what it is all about. I love the idea of symbolism and superstitions attached to cemetery's and grave stones. Would love to go to New Orleans anyway, but the cemetery there also looks tempting. That would take some persuasion on my part to get my husband to go mind you ;D Great post Nora.

You could link this up at my B.H and/or read my book review if you liked.

Shah. X

Unknown said...

Shah, ironically I ended up on a surprise roadtrip to Fort Worth, Texas yesterday. I was cemetery touring there with my husband. I checked the blog hop and it wasn't up, but am linking this morning.

I am glad everyone is enjoying this. I have about twelve cemeteries photographed to share, but will be doing so sparingly over the new number of months. Don't want to overload people. LOL

I can't enough of cemeteries. I love them!

Susie said...

I love a good graveyard. I dragged a great uncle all over Chicago looking for dead relatives and mafia members, even a few circus performers. In the process I found my name on a family stone, I had no idea I was named for someone. It was creepy, but I loved the whole family being in this very old Italian cemetery. I bought my uncle a book on the cemeteries of Chicago and can hardly wait to go back!

Unknown said...

Susie, nice to see a fellow Midwesterner on here. Even if you can't help it that you were in Illinois and I'm from Wisconsin. J/K I've never understood the whole rivalry thing between states, though I do think people drive crazy in Chicago. Of course, now I live in Dallas, TX and they are even scarier drivers. YIKES!

If you are ever in Milwaukee, check out Calvary Cemetery. It is a historical one with beautiful monuments and great landscaping. I have more cemetery links on here, if you check the archives.

Tui Snider said...

Great post! I am a cemetery nut, too!

I just posted about London's Kensal Green cemetery on my blog, in fact! (And, yes, I am addicted to exclamation points, sorry...)

I'm in north Texas, too, btw. Have you seen Rebecca Crockett's grave in the beautiful Acton cemetery yet? I plan to go back when bluebonnets are blooming.

Anyway, great to meet you! I will come back to your blog again today. :)


Bryan Trahan said...

Being a Life Long Cajun From Louisiana,I've Referenced Much Material On Cemeteries In New Orleans...It's A Unique Subject.;)

Anonymous said...

I love the quote. How true is that??
I'm a new follower GFC and twitter.
I have a friend who loves graveyards as well. Enough to a tat of one. I'll have to pass on the titles to the books to him.

Erin O'Riordan said...

It's not weird to be fascinated by cemeteries, right? Because they're actually great places to learn about history, as any of these books would demonstrate.

I want to read the Jewish cemeteries one just to see if any of my Templin ancestors from Warsaw are mentioned.

Unknown said...

Erin, I recently visited the historical Jewish cemetery here in Dallas. I will have post about this, but not sure when it's going up.

Mental Mosaic - Cool! Another N. Tx person. I have not been there, but will get there.

Chelle, thank you for the follow and nice comment.

Bryan, New Orleans is on my vacation list, simply for the cemeteries. :)

Sheila Deeth said...

Great list. Thanks.

Unknown said...

Always glad to suggest, Sheila. :)

Lynn Hubbard said...

Halloween Hop!
Hi! The scariest book I've ever read was "IT". It reached deep into my subconsciousness and scared the heck out of me! For Halloween I'll be dragging out my Elmo snuggy for my couch potato costume.


Amberr Meadows said...

I'm here from the blog hop, and I love your blog!

My favorite scary book is IT (scared the crap out of me when I was a kid), movie that horrified me most was Rob Zombie's remake of Halloween, and I did not dress up this year, because I'm lame. Maybe next year ;-)

Happy Halloween!

Unknown said...

Hi Amber,

You don't have to dress up to appreciate Halloween. You could carve a pumpkin or visit a cemetery. ;)