Tombstone Portraiture & Personalities with Abby Burnett
Join us on Saturday, April 15 at 1:00 pm for Tombstone Portraiture & Personalities with Abby Burnett. Tombstones occasionally include information that goes above and beyond the deceased's name and dates. In some instances a marker will include a portrait, either carved in stone or, starting in the mid- to late 1800s, a photograph. Carved portraits are rare in Arkansas, with examples ranging from primitive to eerily lifelike, depending on the carvers' skills. Photographs attached to grave markers provide an even more accurate and detailed portrait of the deceased. This talk will focus on Arkansas portraiture, but also include a few unusual examples found outside the state, along with the colorful stories behind the markers.
Abby Burnett is an independent researcher who documents all aspects of burial across Arkansas, specifically in the Arkansas Ozarks. As seen in the AETN's documentary, “Silent Storytellers,” she studies such subjects as long-lost funeral customs, unusual deaths, grave coverings, tombstone symbolism, epitaphs and the work of early tombstone carvers.
A former freelance newspaper reporter, Burnett has written numerous articles for historical societies, as well as seven entries for the online Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture on such subjects as burial customs, tombstone carvers, cemeteries and early medicine. Abby Burnett’s most recent book, Gone to the Grave; Burial Customs of the Arkansas Ozarks, 1850 – 1950, was published in 2015, while When the Presbyterians Came to Kingston, written with coauthors John D. Little and Ellen Compton in 2000, has recently been reissued by the Madison County Historical and Genealogical Society.