Susanne S. Ridlen Photograph Collection, 1985-199111 boxes (5.5 linear feet).
A folklorist at Indiana University Kokomo for many years, Susanne S. Ridlen is noted for her research on grave markers in the Midwest. Her dissertation at Indiana University was on tombstones carved to mimic tree-stumps, a rustic form of funerary monument that enjoyed a vogue during the late nineteenth century. Ridlen’s research culminated in publication of her book Tree-Stump Tombstones: A Field Guide to Rustic Funerary Art in Indiana (Kokomo, 1999).
The Ridlen collection provides an extensive visual record of tree-stump tombstones in Indiana. Organized by county, town, and cemetery, the collection typically includes several views of each marker along with documentation of the individual(s) interred, the date of creation, inscriptions, and any other design motifs employed. These images and data form the basis for Ridlen’s Tree-Stump Tombstones.