Herman & Elizabeth Aldrich

What caught my eye about this monument was this unusual and graceful design. However, upon closer inspection, this is really one of the most genuinely sad things I have seen in Green-Wood.

Lined up behind Herman and Elizabeth Aldrich’s grave are stones for six children:

Gertrude, 1844-1848: 4 years old
Wyman, 1841-1849: 8 years old
Anna, 1859-1860: 1 year old
Mabel, 1875-1881: 6 years old
Emily, 1880-1881: 1 year old
Ella, 1886-1886: infant

I tried looking up anything about this family, but came up empty-handed. All I could think was, those poor people. How sad it must have been in their home.


I Will Be Good

I was walking down the hill from the Pierrepont plot, and found this.

It’s a plot for a family named Simonson, and there are two children’s graves behind it–one for “Baby John” and one for “Emily Louise”. Someone (or a ghost, or possibly the Blair Witch) has placed a button or an old-fashioned mirror in the crook of Emily Louise’s neck that reads, “I Will Be Good”. It looks like it’s been there a while, and it kind of looks antique-y. I didn’t dare touch it, so I don’t know exactly what it is, but I do know it’s creepy.

I Googled the name George H. Simonson, but couldn’t find anything…

Charlotte Canda

canda-dewittI’ve visited this site several times, and have always been amazed. It’s so huge and ornate, and there’s so much to look at.  No amount of picture-taking ever seems to do it justice. Who in the world would deserve such a 3-ring circus of a monument?

According to Wikipedia:

Charlotte Canda (February 3, 1828 – February 3, 1845), sometimes referred to simply as “Miss Canda”, was a young debutante who died in a horse carriage accident on the way home from her seventeenth birthday party in New York City. She is memorialized by a Victorian mausoleum in Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York by Robert Launitz and John Frazee. The ornately and expensively decorated monument attracted thousands of visitors to Green-Wood Cemetery in the late 19th century.

This story is even better on the Green-Wood Cemetery Web site. Apparently she was sketching out some elaborate plans for the gravesite for her aunt when she died, so her father went ahead and used them for her grave, adding her initials and a bunch of other personal touches, like figures of her pet parrots. There’s a life-sized statue of her, and she is adorned with 17 roses around her head, one for each year of her life.

She was engaged to a Frenchman named Charles Jarret at the time of her death. He was so grief-stricken that he committed suicide a year later. Sheesh! OK, you win, Charlotte Canda. You do deserve such a dramatic monument.

UPDATE: After reading all this, I visited again. I couldn’t find any parrots in the monument(as described on the Green-Wood web site), but I did find the fiancé’s grave. It is right next to hers.

William Holbrook Beard

William Holbrook Beard was a 19th Century artist whose work mostly involves animals acting like humans. In particular, he is known for his paintings of bears–which explains this monument.

I had never heard of Beard before. I don’t know why he is not more well-known. These paintings are insane. I am going to have to buy a book of his work–I could look at these forever.

beard3From the National Museum of Wildlife Art’s site:
Beard became an immensely popular animal painter, and he painted a large variety of animals, favoring rabbits, cats, monkeys, squirrels, and especially bears. Both lauded and criticized for his humorous satires, he often substituted animals for humans in his visual social commentary. He represented the condition of man and universal concerns by painting allegorical and fantasy subjects. He also produced work drawn from high and low literature, depicting characteristics of jealousy, pride, drunkenness, and greed.

Beard, an Ohio native, studied in Italy, Germany, and Switzerland before moving to New York City in 1857. He opened a studio in what was known as the Tenth Street Studio Building–this was one of the first all-artist studio buildings in New York City, and was instrumental in making Greenwich Village the center of the NYC art world for pretty much the next century. William Merritt Chase and Winslow Homer also had studios in that building.

He wrote a book called “Humor in Animals” in 1885.

The bear sculpture is by Dan Ostermiller, a renowned American sculptor, and recent president of the National Sculpture Society. Ostermiller does a lot of sculptures of bears and other wildlife, making him the perfect choice for this monument.

Harvey B. Dodworth

From the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, January 26, 1891:

Harvey B. Dodworth, the famous band master, died at his home, 22 Hill street, West Hoboken, Saturday, at the age of 68. He was born in Sheffield, England, and came to America when very young. His father was a band master before him, and was the organizer of the New York city band, which became famous. Harvey B. Dodworth played the piccolo in the orchestra of the old Park theater in New York when he was only 10 years of age. Years after he was leader of the orchestra at Niblo’s theater,and subsequently at Daly’s. The fame of his Dodworth band was well known in Brooklyn. The deceased was the first man in this country to arrange Wagner’s music for military bands. He leaves a wife and three sons.


And according to Wikipedia, he “conducted with a band of sixty musicians in between salutes and boxing matches, as well as opening in Madison Square Garden, in which he had plans to lease in 1879 to turn it into a “music garden”, where he would conduct a 123-piece band.”

Here are a couple of playbills (posters?) for his performances:

Samuel L. Mitchell

Stumbled across this one today. I figured it had to be someone somewhat important because it still had the iron fence around it. Most of the cast-iron fences in the cemetery were removed and used for scrap metal during the war.

I got home and Googled Samuel L Mitchell, and found that he was quite a big deal: he was a senator in the early 1800’s, and good buddies with New York governor DeWitt Clinton. Mitchell and Clinton were both instrumental in the building of the Erie Canal.

John F. Delaplaine

John F. Delaplaine held the title of the Secretary of the American Legation in Vienna for many years. This legation was first established in 1838, so I’m assuming Mr. Delaplaine was one of its first ministers. He maintained lavish homes in both Vienna and New York.

While Mr. Delaplaine doesn’t have a Wikipedia entry, I did manage to find out quite a bit from digging around in the NY Times archives. As inscribed on his grave, he was a very wealthy man who left almost all of his money to charity. He notes in his will that his family possessed “ample wealth and whose happiness would not be increased by their receiving more than I have given them.” Oh, BURN.

He was also a lifelong bachelor who filled his two homes with “fine pictures and costly bric-a-brac” (accurate or not, I am picturing Liberace’s mansion). He was well known for his fabulous dinner parties with “Princes and Archdukes and lesser nobles”. When he died in Vienna in 1885, he was surrounded only by his servants, which the NY Times describes as being “all male, who were nearly as well-known to the Viennese as their venerable master.”

I wish I could find a picture of him. He sounds fabulous.

In an April 4, 1884 article, the Times reports that he became “mentally impaired” and convinced that he was poor and a burden on his friends. “To guard against this event, he procured 6,000 florins and put it into a belt which he strapped around his waist.” The article goes on to propose that Mr. Delaplaine be “formally declared a lunatic.” Sad.

Santo Matarazzo

This is one of the benefits of wandering around aimlessly in Green-Wood. This beautiful and modern-looking monument is well off the beaten path, almost hidden in a grove of trees and behind a bunch of other large stones. I doubt I would have ever seen it from the road.

Turns out, I didn’t have to dig too deeply to find out the story behind this intriguing statue of St. Michael. Santo Matarazzo was well-known in my old neighborhood, Carroll Gardens. Emigrating from Sicily to Brooklyn in the early 1950s, he was a key player in the revitalization of “Brownstone Brooklyn”. In fact, Matarazzo’s contribution to renovating classic brownstones was so impressive that he became known as “Mr. Brownstone” around the neighborhood.

santoI didn’t know Santo Matarazzo, but I bet he frequented one of the local Social Clubs. Carroll Gardens has a rich tradition of Italian Social Clubs; they’re essentially clubs for elderly Italian immigrants where they play cards, drink beer, and watch football. One of the biggest is called the “Van Westerhout Cittadini Molesi” (no one ever refers to it by name), and it’s at the corner of Court and 2nd Place. I would talk to those guys all the time when I used to walk by there on my way to my studio. Sometimes they would give me scotch! They always had a friendly word. (Here’s a good article about them in the South Brooklyn Post.)

I like to think that Santo Matarazzo was hanging out there. But who knows, maybe not. What the hell do I know.

After renovating Brownstones for the better part of his life, he turned his attention to sculpture in his final years. He created numerous statues and busts, and even exhibited his work at the Smithsonian in Washington.

From The Brooklyn Paper‘s description of the Matarazzo’s home:

Nearly every available space is occupied by his art. The walls remain full of his paintings, which include a self-portrait, a picture of Jesus, and a Sicilian seascape dated 1952 — a reference, Lucia Matarazzo said, of the year her husband left his homeland.

Other plaster sculptures honored famous or historical figures such as Martin Luther King Jr., Bill Clinton, Muhammad Ali, and, most recently, Barack Obama, the presidential candidate for whom Matarazzo intended to vote.

Matarazzo also contributed this sculpture of William Floyd to the community square in Mastic Beach, Long Island, where his family had their second home:
william floyd statue