Oak Grove may well be one of the best places in the state to find examples of Victorian funeral symbolism, which was a language understood by all who passed through the cemetery in the nineteenth century. The Language of Flowers had long been a part of Victorian sentiment, and this transfered to the grave as well. Ladies often received floral tributes in stone of roses, ivy, fern and lilies signfying hope for the resurrection of the body on the Day of Judgement, love, humility and sincerity (fern) and the clinging ivy (undying affection). Other symbols shown in the black and white slide presentation below are:
Olive branch– peace , Oak leaves– strength, fidelity, endurance, Palm- victory, triumph over death, Laurel wreath– victory, eternity, immortality, Anchor– hope or a career on the sea, Scroll or Book– Book of Life, scroll of St. Peter, Roll of the Saved, Doorway or Arch– portal between heaven and earth, Urn– harking back to Egyptian canopic jars, containers of the Spirit, Curtain– the end of the worldly life, Wreaths, Swags and Garlands– victory over death, immortal circle, honor, Lamb– grave of an infant or child.
All of the black and white photographs were taken with an inexpensive disposable camera using Kodac black and white film. Although it is pleasant to walk in cemeteries on sunny days, some of the best photographs are obtained on overcast days when shadows and bright sun do not interfer with capturing the sculptural detail in dark bas-relief. Keep a disposable camera camera handy in the glove compartment, for you never know when you may wish to capture an image of a particularly remarkable monument.