Angelina and Her Neighbors

Angelina 1911 1934
Photo: Angelina. Credit: All photos by Eve Golden.


It will come as no surprise to you that I enjoy strolling through my local boneyard. I live near a lovely Italian Catholic cemetery in my East Coast town, and cut through on my way to and from the grocery store, to look at the tombstones, read the inscriptions (some going back to the mid-19th century, and the graveyard is still in use).

Frank 1894 1918 Carmine 1922 1946 Antoinette 1901 1947
Anthony 1905 1941 Angelo 1915 1931 Angelo 1865 1924

About 10 percent of the graves have photos under thick glass—is this an Italian Catholic thing? I find these irresistible, and last weekend—a lovely sunny summer day—I strolled around with my new camera and (getting Looks from passersby) snapped some of the more interesting portraits. Some graves had holes where photos had been wrenched out—by family members, I hope? I mean, who would steal a photo from a grave—wouldn’t that creep you the hell out, in a Monkey’s Pawkind of way?

Larry thought you might like to meet some of the residents. I am particularly taken with the lovely Angelina, who died so young and looked like Ava Gardner as a Follies Girl. I can’t help wondering why particular photos were chosen—I am going to be cremated, but have already told friend which headshot to send to the newspapers!

—Eve Golden

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About lmharnisch

I work at the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in Eve Golden, Obituaries, Photography and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Angelina and Her Neighbors

  1. Eve says:

    These are only a few of the 20-some photos I took. The baseball-playing gentleman, Carmine, died in his twenties; the fellow at the upper left died in World War One and either the photo paper or the glass quality turned him and his “died in France” neighbor into the ghostly image you see here.

    Angelina, our Cover Girl, fascinates me. She died in 1934, aged 22, and as you can see looks like a Follies Girl, Her parents lived into their nineties and their photos make them look like mean old peasants, making me imagine they killed her rather than have her go on the stage and become a Fallen Woman.

  2. Eve says:

    Tip from Larry: if you hover your cursor over the photo, you can see the subjects’ first names and dates.

  3. lee rivas says:

    For lack of a better word–”Wow”

  4. Cindy Walters says:

    Eve, I, too, am a boneyard geek. I always want to know their stories. Do you think this is their 15 minutes of fame ? I can’t wait to see the next group. Thank You !

  5. Jean Davis says:

    What lovely photos. Angelina is lovely. I have a GG Grandmother named Angeline who was a pioneer in Illinois. My father Charles E. Davis Jr. (her great grandson) worked for the LA Times as a re-write man in the 60s. His byline was on stories about Marilyn Monroe’s death as well as the Watts Riots for which the LA Times won a Pulitzer prize. Thanks for sharing these.

  6. Bartstar says:

    I take photos of old gravestones and cemeteries. The older stuff is generally much more interesting. I have seen one of these that is a half globe of solid glass and is placed horizontally on the stone that covered the whole grave. It reflects the photo into the half globe so you can see it even if you are looking at it from the side. Sort of like a fortune teller’s crystal ball.

    While these were more common in the distant past, I have seen full color airbrushed photos of people that passed away in the last 10 years or so. Also, it’s not restricted to Italian Catholics. I’ve seen them in Jewish and other ethnic cemeteries.

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