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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Grief: 1915

Grief: 1915

Washington, D.C., circa 1915. "Grief monument, Rock Creek cemetery." The timeless memorial by Augustus Saint-Gaudens. National Photo. View full size.

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"Good Grief, Augustus," said Mr. Adams

While frequently called "Grief," this name, and other such colloquial names, was abhorred by the statues patron. The title given to it by its sculptor is "The Mystery of the Hereafter and The Peace of God that Passeth Understanding."

Henry Brooks Adams, the man who commissioned the monument to his late wife Marian "Clover" Hooper Adams, wrote the following in 1924 to Homer Saint-Gaudens (the sculptor's son).

"Do not allow the world to tag my figure with a name! Every magazine writer wants to label it as some American patent medicine for popular consumption - Grief, Despair, Pear's Soap, or Macy's Mens' Suits Made to Measure. Your father meant it to ask a question, not to give an answer; and the man who answers will be damned to eternity like the men who answered the Sphinx."

Henry Adams, a grandson of U.S. President John Quincy Adams, was a historian, and a political journalist. He died in 1918, and his memoirs won the 1919 Pulitzer Prize. He was buried beside his wife. The memorial was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.

Note that there is an unauthorized copy of the Saint-Gaudens statue which was once located at the grave site of Brigadier General Felix Angus and known as the "Black Aggie" (it was on gray marble base instead of the light pink marble of the original). This version, sculpted by Edward Pausch, was donated to the Smithsonian Institution in 1967 by the Angus family because of the unwanted attention it brought to the Angus grave site after the statue's location was said to be haunted. The "Black Aggie" currently resides in the rear courtyard at the Dolley Madison House in Washington, D.C.

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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