A typographic mystery: an English typeface and a Maine gravestone

Last year while on vacation in Maine, I discovered peculiar letters on a well worn and lichen-encrusted gravestone in the Hope Grove Cemetery.  The tomb was for two children, Enoch P. who died in 1811 at the age of 18 and Sarah who died in 1804 at the age of ten. The foot of the tomb is missing and thus their last name is unknown, though local genealogists surmise it is Safford since a similar tomb nearby bears that name. [Thanks to Peter Gariepy for this information.] The stone must have been commissioned several decades later judging by the style of lettering.

Detail from gravestone of Enoch P. and Sarah in Hope Grove Cemetery (Hope, Maine). Photograph by Paul Shaw 2012

Today, while I was sorting through digital images I commissioned from Columbia University of the 1834 specimen book of William Thorowgood, the 19th century London typefounder, I suddenly stopped short. There, on a page with Four Lines Tuscan Open and Two Lines Great Primer Egyptian Open, was a typeface that looked like the peculiar Maine letters. Called  Two Line Small Pica Shaded and Ornamented, it differs from them in two respects: the letters are shaded and they are not as wide. Otherwise, the basic forms are identical.

Two Line Small Pica Shaded and Ornamented. From New Specimens of Printing Types (London: William Thorowgood & Co., 1834)

Here is an enlargement of the E from the typeface and a rubbing of the E (rough due to the lichen) from the gravestone for comparison.

E detail from Two Line Pica Shaded and Ornamented.

rubbing of E from gravestone of Enoch P. and Sarah in Hope Grove Cemetery (Hope, Maine).

So, how did a rural Maine lettercutter end up copying an ornamented letter from a London typefounder? I have no answer. But this is not the only instance of “typographic” letters on New England gravestones, just the first where I have been able to link a style directly to a specific typeface and typefounder.