Scholarly Study:

This book should appeal to individuals interested in (a) early American history; (b) art history; (c) the history of crafts/business; (d) gravestone studies; and (e) genealogy.

While this study focuses on eastern Massachusetts, this is no more narrow for an understanding of early American stonecutting than a focus on classical Athens is for a study of ancient Greek ceramics. It was principally in this region that the American craft of gravestone carving first developed. Gravestones produced in Boston, Providence and Plymouth County were exported up and down the Atlantic seaboard, from Nova Scotia and Maine down through the Carolinas and Georgia. Early Boston-area carvers also sent hundred of gravestones to Connecticut, New Hampshire and Maine. The carvers of Newburyport and Haverhill also found a ready market in New Hampshire.

There are few other detailed biographies of artisans from early America--architects and cabinetmakers included--that trace their work through such a multitude of their surviving products, that examine so many lines of stylistic influence in a fairly large geographical region, and that provide such a comprehensive view of their trade as a whole. This study is presented in language (and at a level of detail) that will not repel the non-specialist; yet the scholarly integrity of the work is preserved.

In summary, while this study should be a valuable resource for those with various scholarly interests, it should also be attractive to those who are simply taken by the beauty of these stones, and who find interesting the traces left behind in various historical records by these workingmen--these “nobodies” of early American history.