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Grave Artistry: New Findings from the J. Henry Brown Order Books

Grave Artistry: New Findings from the J. Henry Brown Order Books

Join us to celebrate the discovery and acquisition of order books from the J. Henry Brown Monuments Company in Richmond. Grave markers are a significant source of historical information for families, researchers and genealogists. The Library of Virginia previously collected 12 volumes of order books from the J. Henry Brown Monuments Company, established in 1885. Recently, 14 previously unknown additional volumes were uncovered. Spanning from 1928 to 1958, these volumes are now part of the Library’s collection. Together, they offer an unparalleled view of grave markers across the region.

The order books contain thousands of detailed entries documenting markers erected in almost every cemetery in central Virginia over six decades. These volumes cross racial, religious, ethnic and economic boundaries and are the only surviving records for many markers that no longer exist. 

The event begins at 5:15 p.m. with refreshments and a display of sample volumes, followed by a panel discussion in the Lecture Hall at 6 p.m. Speakers will present an overview of the volumes and examples of their use, including the Library’s senior private papers archivist, Trenton Hizer; University of Richmond classics professor Elizabeth Baughan; longtime cemetery volunteers John Shuck and Alice Jones; and Virginia Commonwealth University history professor Ryan K. Smith. Adam Rosenblatt, author of the forthcoming book Cemetery Citizens, will offer concluding comments. Rosenblatt is associate professor of the practice in international comparative studies at Duke University. 

We hope attendees will be energized by the possibilities for engaging with Brown’s legacy — archival and material — across the memorial landscape. This event is sponsored by the Library of Virginia, the Richmond Cemetery Collaboratory, the University of Richmond and Virginia Commonwealth University. Special thanks to the Oakwood Monument Company.

For more information, contact Anne McCrery at anne.mccrery@lva.virginia.gov or 804.692.3568. This event is free and open to the public. Registration is required. Seating in the Lecture Hall is available on a first come, first served basis. Limited free parking is available underneath the Library at 800 East Broad Street.

LVA Events
Friday, April 26, 2024
5:15pm - 7:30pm
Time Zone:
Eastern Time - US & Canada (change)
Lecture Hall, Lobby, Prefunction Hall
Registration has closed.


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