Stories in Stone

Front Cover
Gibbs Smith, Sep 1, 2009 - Travel
74 Reviews
Certain symbols abound in modern Western culture that are instantly recognizable: the cross signifies Christianity, the six-pointed Star of David is revered by Jews, the golden arches frequently means it's time for lunch. Other symbols, however, require a bit of decoding-particularly those found in cemeteries.
Cemeteries are virtual encyclopedias of symbolism. Engravings on tombstones, mausoleums and memorials tell us just about everything there is to know about a person- date of birth and death as well as religion, ethnicity, occupation, community interests, and much more. In the fascinating new book Stories in Stone: The Complete Guide to Cemetery Symbolism by noted author Douglas Keister, the secrets of cemetery symbolism are finally revealed. For instance, did you know that it is quite rare to see a sunflower on a tombstone? Did you know that the human foot symbolizes humility and service since it consistently touches the earth? Or the humble sheaf of wheat-while it is often used to denote someone who has lived a long and fruitful life, do you know other meanings it might carry?
Stories in Stone provides history along with images of a wide variety of common and not-so-common cemetery symbols, and offers an in-depth examination of stone relics and the personal and intimate details they display-flora and fauna, religious icons, society symbols, and final impressions of how the deceased wished to be remembered. Douglas Keister has created a practical field guide that is compact and portable, perfect for those interested in family histories and genealogical research, and is the only book of its kind that unlocks the language of symbols in a comprehensive and easy-to-understand manner.
Douglas Keister has photographed fourteen award-winning, critically acclaimed books (including Red Tile Style: America's Spanish Revival Architecture, The Bungalow: America's Arts & Crafts Home, and Storybook Style: America's Whimsical Homes of the Twenties) earning him the title America's most noted photographer of historic architecture. He also writes and illustrates magazine articles and contributes photographs and essays to other books, calendars, posters, and greeting cards. Doug lives in Chico, California, and travels frequently to photograph and lecture on historic architecture and photography.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - debbieaheaton - LibraryThing

In Keister’s book, the author has created a field guide for cemetery enthusiasts that decodes the meanings of all the symbols encountered on gravestones. A must have for the serious sleuth. Read full review

Review: Stories in Stone: A Field Guide to Cemetery Symbolism and Iconography

User Review  - Kerry Boerst - Goodreads

Being a fan of symbolic anthropology in the cemetery, I snagged a copy right away. I was not at all disappointed with this book. Very descriptive with wonderful photographic examples! Makes you really look at the tiny details Read full review

All 15 reviews »


Mausoleums Chapels Offices
Tombs Sculptures Memorials
Fruits Grains and Vines
Trees and Bushes
Fowls and Insects
Fishes and Mollusks
Worldly Symbols
Mortality Symbols
Religious Devotion
Hebrew Symbolism
Chinese and Japanese Symbolism
Heavenly Messengers
The Cross
Secret Societies Clubs and Fraternal Organizations

Reptiles and Amphibians
Mythical Creatures
The Evangelists
The Human Condition
The Seven Virtues
Human Body Parts
Acronyms of Societies Clubs and Organizations
Final Impressions
Suggestions for Further Reading

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About the author (2009)

Chico, California-based photographer Douglas Keister has photographed twenty-two award-winning, critically acclaimed books. His seventeen books on architecture include four books on Victorian homes (Daughter's of Painted Ladies, Painted Ladies Revisited, America's Painted Ladies and Victorian Glory); three books on bungalow homes (The Bungalow, Inside the Bungalow and Outside the Bungalow), a book on 1920s whimsical homes (Storybook Style) a book about cemetery art and architecture (Going Out in Style), a book on Spanish architecture, (Red Tile Style), six books on bungalow details and Classic Cottages, that will be published by Gibbs Smith Publisher in the Spring of 2004. Keister photographed and wrote an award winning children's book (Fernando's Gift), has two monographs of his personal work (Black Rock and Driftwood Whimsy), a book on classic travel trailers, (Ready to Roll) and a book on cemetery symbolism, Stories in Stone: The Complete Illustrated Guide to Cemetery Symbolism, that will be published by Gibbs Smith Publisher in the Spring of 2004. His wealth of books on architecture has earned him the title, "America's most noted photographer of historic architecture.

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