Adams Memorial proves haunting in a graveyard

You will stop. Stare hard. Start to feel the grief. It’s an amazing memorial — the Adams Memorial.

Located in Rock Creek Cemetery (though this photo is of a copy at the American Art Museum) is a bronze marker dedicated to the memory of Marian “Clover” Adams who committed suicide by drinking film developer chemicals. Prone to depression, she feared illness and was overcome by her father’s recent death.

Clover’s husband, Henry Adams, grandson of U.S. president John Quincy Adams, asked leading American sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens to create a family memorial.

And that’s when it gets really weird. The sculpture was an “abstract personification” that was finished in 1891. The six-foot cloaked figure is neither gender with a lowered head indicating grief. It is haunting, thought-provoking and one of the greatest sculptures you’ll find in a cemetery.

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