Webster Avenue
at 233rd Street

Woodlawn Cemetery, first called Wood-Lawn, is located at the northern border of the Bronx. In 1863 Reverend Absalom Peters and the cemetery trustees bought 313 acres (now 400 acres) of farmland for a rural cemetery which New Yorkers could reach by a special Harlem River Railroad train. The first burial to take place at Wood-Lawn was in 1865 and since then it has become the final resting place of more than 300,000 people. The site combines the natural beauty of the landscape with funerary monuments designed by some of America's most respected sculptors and architects. These have been carefully integrated into the landscape.

The list of noted Americans buried at Woodlawn includes: Herman Armour, meat packer; Jules S. Bache, head of the brokerage house; Oliver Hazard Perry Belmont, financier and horse lover; Alva Vanderbilt Belmont, suffragist and society matriarch; Irving Berlin, songwriter; Ralph Bunche, statesman; Elizabeth Cochran (Nellie Bly), journalist who went around the world in 80 days; George M. Cohan, actor and dramat; Countee Cullen, poet; Miles Davis, musician / composer; Duke Ellington, musician / composer; Jay Gould, financier; Oscar Hammerstein, composer; Victor Herbert, composer; Fritz Kreisler, violinist; Samuel Kress, dime store millionaire; Walt Kuhn, painter; Fiorello Laguardia, mayor of New York; Roland H. Macy, department store founder; William "Bat" Masterson, sheriff and US Marshall, gambler, Indian scout and sportswriter; Herman Melville, novelist; Thomas Nast, cartoonist; Joseph Pulitzer, publisher and founder of America's first professional school of journalism; Elizabeth Cady Stanton, suffragist; Sara B. Walker, builder of the cosmetic empire; Harry and Gertrude Whitney, builders of the Whitney Museum of American Art; and F.W. Woolworth, dime store millionaire. Among the sculptors and architects whose work is represented in the monuments at Woodlawn are A.A. Weinman, Paul Bartlett, Robert Aiken, Daniel Chester French, Anna Hyatt Huntington, Gloria Vanderbilt Whitley, McKim, Mead, Standford White, John Russell Pope, Richard Howland Hunt, Herbert Adams, and William Ordway Partridge.

Herbert Adams, a popular turn-of-the-century sculptor, classically trained in the academic Beaux-Arts tradition, designed the bronze doors for the mausoleum of railroad baron Collis P. Huntington. Executed around 1895, they are in marked contrast to his seated bronze figure of William Cullen Bryant (1911) located behind the main branch of the New York Public Library in Bryant Park, Manhattan. The mausoleum, was designed by Robert Caterson. Like many in Woodlawn, it is derived from Greek architectural models but it also features a staircase based on the grand staircase of the former New York Pennsylvania Railroad Station.

William Ordway Partridge's seated bronze figure for Joseph Pulitzer's mausoleum is fully incorporated within its architectural setting as a figure symbolic of meditation and repose. Nowhere evident are symbolic or narrative images alluding to Pulitzer's fame as a publisher.

Sally Farnham's bronze sculpture End of the Day, marks the grave of dance team Vernon and Irene Castle and was modeled on a member of the Isadora Duncan dance troupe. The seated figure gracefully rests with head slumped forward, exhausted after the dance. This sculpture was chosen by Irene Castle to commemorate Vernon Castle who died in World War I.

The Piccirilli brothers are best known as the stone-carvers who produced the works of artists such as Daniel Chester French, J.Q.A. Ward, Auguste Saint-Gaudens, and R.I. Aitken. Their carving of French's sculpture of Lincoln for the Lincoln Memorial is among the most familiar. The Piccirilli studio was located in the Bronx and the family plot is in Woodlawn. Fortitude, based on Attilio Piccirilli's prizewinning Mother and Child which was in the collection of William Randolph Hearst, marks the plot. The imagery, a grieving mother and child, is a theme also seen in a figurative grouping in Attilio Piccirilli's Maine Memorial in Central Park and in his Fireman's Memorial on Riverside Drive.

[More about the artists]
[More about the Woodlawn neighborhood]

Herbert Adams

bronze doors
Collis B. Huntington Mausoleum

William Ordway Partridge

Joseph Pulitzer Memorial

Sally Farnham

End of the Day
Vernon W. B. Castle Memorial

Attilio Piccirilli

Piccirilli Memorial