Black Aggie

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The Agnus grave prior to the statue's removal.

Black Aggie is the folkloric name given to a statue formerly placed on the grave of General Felix Agnus in Druid Ridge Cemetery in Pikesville, Maryland. It is an unauthorized replica — rendered by Edward Ludwig Albert Pausch — of sculptor Augustus St. Gaudens' 1891 allegorical figure, popularly called Grief, at the Adams Memorial in Rock Creek Cemetery in Washington, D.C.[1] The statue is of a somber seated figure in a cowl or shroud.

History[edit]

Beginning with its installation in 1926, the replica was surrounded by many urban legends, principally that someone spending a night in its lap would be haunted by the ghosts of those buried there; that the spirits of individuals buried at Druid Ridge would annually convene at the statue; that no grass would grow on the ground where the statue's shadow would lie during the daytime; or that the statue would animate itself during the night, whether by physically moving or by showing glowing red eyes.[1]

These urban legends led to much unwelcome attention toward the statue; many people were caught breaking into the cemetery at night to visit it, and the pedestal was frequently vandalized. The Agnus family, disturbed by the attention the statue received, donated it to the Smithsonian in 1967. It sat for many years in storage at the National Museum of American Art (later named the Smithsonian American Art Museum) where an authorized recasting of the original Adams Memorial statue now sits.[2]

Black Aggie was moved from her previous home at the museum to a courtyard behind the Dolley Madison House on Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C. where she currently stands. The bare, blank pedestal remains at the statue's former home at Druid Ridge Cemetery.[1]

Another statue, similarly called "Black Agnes" is located at Green Mount Cemetery in Montpelier, Vermont. This one is of a man sitting and covered in a shawl, but his head is visible and his looking up with closed eyes. This statue is copper rather than bronze, so it has a green patina.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Mills, Cynthia J. (Summer 2000). "Casting Shadows: The Adams Memorial and Its Doubles". American Art (Smithsonian American Art Museum) 14 (2): 2–25. doi:10.1086/424354. 
  2. ^ "Adams Memorial; modeled 1886-1891, cast 1969; by Augustus Saint-Gaudens". Smithsonian Museum of American Art. Retrieved 1 December 2009. 

External links[edit]