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The True Image: Gravestone Art and the Culture of Scotch Irish Settlers in the Pennsylvania and Carolina Backcountry
     

The True Image: Gravestone Art and the Culture of Scotch Irish Settlers in the Pennsylvania and Carolina Backcountry

by Daniel W. Patterson
 

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A thousand unique gravestones cluster around old Presbyterian churches in the piedmont of the two Carolinas and in central Pennsylvania. Most are the vulnerable legacy of three generations of the Bigham family, Scotch Irish stonecutters whose workshop near Charlotte created the earliest surviving art of British settlers in the region. In The True Image, Daniel

Overview

A thousand unique gravestones cluster around old Presbyterian churches in the piedmont of the two Carolinas and in central Pennsylvania. Most are the vulnerable legacy of three generations of the Bigham family, Scotch Irish stonecutters whose workshop near Charlotte created the earliest surviving art of British settlers in the region. In The True Image, Daniel Patterson documents the craftsmanship of this group and the current appearance of the stones. In two hundred of his photographs, he records these stones for future generations and compares their iconography and inscriptions with those of other early monuments in the United States, Northern Ireland, and Scotland.
Combining his reading of the stones with historical records, previous scholarship, and rich oral lore, Patterson throws new light on the complex culture and experience of the Scotch Irish in America. In so doing, he explores the bright and the dark sides of how they coped with challenges such as backwoods conditions, religious upheavals, war, political conflicts, slavery, and land speculation. He shows that headstones, resting quietly in old graveyards, can reveal fresh insights into the character and history of an influential immigrant group.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
The culmination of decades of research, this volume not only examines the gravestone production of the family from a folk art perspective and identification of specific carvers, but also looks more deeply into what else can be gleaned from these objects. . . . Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and researchers/faculty; general readers.--Choice

This book delves into the rich tradition of headstone-related iconography. . . . The symbology and inscriptions on these stone structures prove that they are as much works of art as they are portals back in time.--Art & Antiques

This extraordinary book is a landmark in historical ethnography.--Alan Jabbour, Journal of Folklore Research

From the initial pages of The True Image, the reader is aware of a skillful writer embarking on a serious scholarly work. . . . Patterson reveals that the true image is not of a dichotomy, but of an art that emerges only as a unity with the culture, which it both reflects and of which it is a part. Recommended for academic libraries and large public libraries, as well as libraries with a special interest in Appalachia.--Thomas G. Burton, Tennessee Libraries

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807835678
Publisher:
The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date:
10/08/2012
Series:
Richard Hampton Jenrette Series in Architecture and the Decorative Arts
Edition description:
1
Pages:
496
Sales rank:
473,387
Product dimensions:
10.10(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.20(d)

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
Seamlessly weaves together a catalog of the tombstones with a social history of their makers. . . . Illuminates the ways these immigrants and their descendants drew on their cultural heritage as they adapted to life on a dynamic frontier.--Richard MacMaster, co-director of the Center for Scotch-Irish Studies, University of Florida

Meet the Author

Daniel W. Patterson is Kenan Professor Emeritus of English and Folklore at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is author or editor of nine books, including The Shaker Spiritual, Sounds of the South, and A Tree Accurst: Bobby McMillon and Stories of Frankie Silver.

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