Special Collections & University Archives University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries

Dethlefsen, Edwin S.

Association for Gravestone Studies Collection

Edwin S. Dethlefsen Photograph Collection, ca.1965-1970.
1 box (0.25 linear feet).
Call no.: PH 020

Abigail Holman, d. 1702, Milton, Mass.
Abigail Holman, d. 1702, Milton, Mass.

Edwin S. Dethlefsen and his colleague James Deetz did pioneering work in the historical archaeology and material culture of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century gravestones in New England. Through a series of articles in the mid-1960s, based on intensive study of well documented sites in Massachusetts, Deetz and Dethlefsen developed a basic framework for understanding the stylistic evolution of gravestones. Their work was foundational for later studies in material culture and folk art, but also the broader study of death and bereavement and colonial culture.

The Dethlefsen Collection consists of nearly 2,900 negatives (black and white, 35m and 2×2″) of gravestones, primarily from eastern Massachusetts and Newport, R.I. Among the towns documented are Boston, Cambridge, Charlestown, Concord, Dorchester, Harvard, Lexington, Marblehead, Marshfield, Plymouth, Quincy, and Scituate.

Subjects
  • Sepulchral monuments--Massachusetts
  • Sepulchral monuments--Rhode Island
  • Stone carving--Massachusetts
  • Stone carving--Rhode Island
Contributors
  • Association for Gravestone Studies
  • Dethlefsen, Edwin S
Types of material
  • Photographs
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