Father Pitt

James Scott Negley Monument in Allegheny Cemetery—with an Announcement

Posted in Cemeteries, Sculpture by Dr. Boli on July 4, 2014

 

General James Scott Negley was an important figure in the Union Army, but perhaps his greatest claim to undying memory is that his sister married Thomas Mellon, guaranteeing that the Negleys would be intertwined with the richest family on earth. This picture has been donated to Wikimedia Commons under a Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication, so no permission is needed to use it for any purpose whatsoever.

And now, an announcement. It cannot have escaped regular readers that old Pa Pitt loves to wander through cemeteries with a camera. The reason is simple: our best cemeteries are great outdoor art museums filled with imperishable masterpieces of architecture and sculpture, and great thought was put into laying them out in a picturesque manner.

Lest his readers begin to suspect, however, that he has a morbid obsession with death, Father Pitt has decided to create a separate site devoted to nothing but Pittsburgh cemeteries. There you will find many of the cemetery pictures that have been published here, and new pictures as well that have never been seen anywhere else. Occasional cemetery pictures will still appear here, but Father Pitt’s main site will perhaps maintain a healthier balance between life and death now that he is free to take as many cemetery pictures as he wants without worrying that he seems too morose.

(If you should visit the site and see a notice that it is “under review,” come back in a day or so; the review seldom takes longer than that.)

Graver Monument in Allegheny Cemetery

Posted in Cemeteries, Sculpture by Dr. Boli on July 1, 2014

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A fine sculpture from 1887 that looks as fresh now as it did when it was put up.

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Daniel O’Neill Monument, Allegheny Cemetery

Posted in Cemeteries, Sculpture by Dr. Boli on July 1, 2014

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Mr. Daniel O’Neill was editor of the Dispatch, which he built into Pittsburgh’s most respectable newspaper, a position it maintained until it fell victim to the great newspaper massacre of 1923, when spiraling paper costs forced countless newspapers across the country out of business. It seems that a newspaperman’s work is quite literally never done: this statue of Mr. O’Neill hard at work still looks as fresh as it did when it was put up in 1877. Note the Egyptian-style lotus-blossom pedestal that supports his desk.

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Mary L. Lippincott Monument in Allegheny Cemetery

Posted in Cemeteries, Sculpture by Dr. Boli on June 30, 2014

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The sculptor, Isaac Broome, was very well regarded in his day (this monument dates from 1867), and his works may be found in a number of American museums. Old Pa Pitt is not sure what the wand represents, and would be delighted if someone would enlighten him.

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The Charles Avery Memorial in Allegheny Cemetery

Posted in Cemeteries, Sculpture by Dr. Boli on June 28, 2014

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Unfortunately this memorial was executed in soft stone that has decayed considerably over the last century and a half. It’s still impressive, though, and the erosion gives one the sense of confronting the distant past face to face.

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Avery was a notable abolitionist who founded the Allegheny Institute and Mission Church, later Avery College, whose mission was to provide an education meeting the highest standards for free black students of both sexes. (The rumor had it that it was also a stop on the Underground Railroad, which is quite likely, given Avery’s strong feelings about slavery.) Avery’s monument is decorated with allegorical sculptures whose mutilation over the years makes their meaning hard to interpret. This blindfolded woman has lost her right hand and whatever she was holding in it. Was she Justice?

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This young mother, again, has lost part of her right hand, and probably some allegorical attribute with it.

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This mutilated relief may depict Avery College in the background; though it survived till about 1970 in Dutchtown, Father Pitt has not found a picture of the building. The headless figure at right has the rotund torso of the Rev. Charles Avery; the other figures seem to be some of the Negro citizens who benefited from his work. Father Pitt is not sure what the ship has to do with the story; Avery was not one of those colonizationists who believed in sending Africans back to Africa. He believed that education would make the Negro an equal citizen in the United States. He did, however, sponsor missions to Africa, and perhaps the ship represents those.

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