Countee Cullen, born as Coleman Rutherford, was an African American poet, author and scholar who was a leading figure in the Harlem Renaissance. He pronounced his name "Coun-tay", not "Coun-tee".
Born: May 30, 1903
Died: January 9, 1946, New York City, New York, United States
Awards: Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts, US & Canada
Education: New York University
DeWitt Clinton High School
Plays: St. Louis Woman
Buried: Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, Bronx County, New York, USA
Although located in Woodlawn, Bronx and one of the largest cemeteries in New York City, it has the character of a rural cemetery.
Address: 517 E 233rd St, Bronx, NY 10470, USA (40.89006, -73.87425)
Type: Cemetery (open to public)
Hours: Monday through Sunday 8.30-16.30
Phone: +1 718-920-0500
National Register of Historic Places: 11000563, 2011 Also National Historic Landmarks.
Woodlawn Cemetery opened in 1863, in what was then southern Westchester County, in an area that was later annexed to New York City in 1874. It is notable in part as the final resting place of some great figures in the American arts, such as authors Countee Cullen and Herman Melville, and musicians Irving Berlin, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, and Max Roach. “Memorial To A Marriage” has been erected by Patricia Cronin and her partner Deborah Kass. Sculptor Cronin did the original sculpture of Carrara marble in 2002, to address what she considered a Federal failure: not allowing gay Americans the right to marry. It has been replaced with a bronze casting, installed on the couple’s burial plot in 2011. Since 2002 when the marble was first installed, the memorial has become one of the most visited of Woodlawn. After 18 years together, Patricia Cronin and Deborah Kass went to City Hall on the morning of July 24, 2011, with nearly 900 other New York City couples, waiting for three hours in the heat to get legally married on the first day.
Notable queer burials at Woodlawn Cemetery:
• Diana Blanche Barrymore Blythe (1921-1960), known professionally as Diana Barrymore, was a film and stage actress. She was the daughter of renowned actor John Barrymore and his second wife, poet Blanche Oelrichs.
• Frances (Fannie) Evelyn Bostwick (died in 1921) was the mother of Marion “Joe” Carstairs. Bostwick was an American heiress who was the second child of Jabez Bostwick and his wife Helen. Joe Carstairs' legal father was Scottish army officer Captain Albert Carstairs. At least one biographer has suggested that the Captain may not have been Joe's biological father. Carstairs' mother, an alcoholic and drug addict, later married Captain Francis Francis. She divorced Captain Francis to marry French count Roger de Périgny in 1915, but eventually left him because of his infidelity. Her fourth and last husband, whom she married in 1920, was Serge Voronoff, a Russian–French surgeon who become famous in the 1920s and 1930s for his practice of transplanting monkey testicle tissue into male humans for the claimed purpose of rejuvenation. For some years Evelyn had believed in Voronoff's theories, and she funded his research and acted as his laboratory assistant at the Collège de France in Paris. Voronoff arrived in New York with his wife's body on the ship "S.S. France" in May, 1921.
• Carrie Chapman Catt (1859-1947) was a women’s suffrage leader who campaigned for the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which gave U.S. women the right to vote in 1920. She was buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, New York alongside her longtime companion, Mary Garrett Hay, a fellow New York state suffragist, with whom she lived for over 20 years. Under a single monument inscribed in block letters: "Here lie two, united in friendship for 38 years through constant service to a great cause."
• Countee Cullen (1903-1946) born as Countee Porter, was a poet, author and scholar who was a leading figure in the Harlem Renaissance. It is rumored that Cullen was a homosexual, and his relationship with Harold Jackman ("the handsomest man in Harlem"), was a significant factor in his divorce. The young, dashing Jackman was a school teacher and, thanks to his noted beauty, a prominent figure among Harlem’s gay elite. Van Vechten had used him as a character model in his novel “Nigger Heaven” (1926.)
• Joseph Raphael De Lamar (1843-1918), a prominent mine owner and operator in the western United States and Canada, as well as a financier and speculator, from the late 1870s until his death in 1918. De Lamar married Nellie Virginia Sands, a direct descendant of John Quincy Adams, on 8 May, 1893, and they had one daughter together, Alice DeLamar.
• Marjory Lacey-Baker (died in 1971), actress, she was the long-time companion of Dr. Lena Madesin Phillips, founder of the National Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Clubs. They met in 1919 and together until Ms Philipps’ death in 1955. Ms Phillips is buried at Maple Grove Cemetery (500 N Main St, Nicholasville, KY 40356).
• Joseph Christian “J.C.” Leyendecker (1874-1951) was one of the preeminent illustrators of the early XX century.
• George Platt Lynes (1907-1955) was a fashion and commercial photographer.
• Elisabeth "Bessie" Marbury (1856–1933) was a pioneering American theatrical and literary agent and producer who represented prominent theatrical performers and writers in the late XIX and early XX centuries and helped shape business methods of the modern commercial theater. She was the longtime companion of Elsie de Wolfe (later known as Lady Mendl), a prominent socialite and famous interior decorator.
• Herman Melville (1819-1891) was a novelist, short story writer, and poet from the American Renaissance period.
• Blanche Marie Louise Oelrichs (October 1, 1890 – November 5, 1950) was a poet, playwright and theatre actress known by the pseudonym "Michael Strange.” Starting in the summer of 1940 until her death, Oelrichs was in a long-term relationship with Margaret Wise Brown, the author of many children’s books. The relationship began as something of a mentoring one, but became a romantic relationship including co-habitating at 10 Gracie Square beginning in 1943.
• Elizabeth Cady Stanton (November 12, 1815 – October 26, 1902) was a suffragist, social activist, abolitionist, and leading figure of the early women’s rights movement.
• John William Sterling (May 12, 1844 – July 5, 1918) was a founding partner of Shearman & Sterling LLP and major benefactor to Yale University. In Sterling's will, he directs: "no interment other than my own and that of my sister, Cordelia, shall ever take place" in his Mausoleum in Woodlawn Cemetery. An exception is made, however, "in case my said friend, James O. Bloss (September 30, 1847 – December 18, 1918), who has lived with me for more than forty years, should desire to be interred in the said Mausoleum and should die without ever having been married." Cordelia Sterling is burried with her brother. Bloss died less than six months after Sterling, according to his sister, of a broken heart, and is not buried with his friend, though the reason is unknown. He is buried at Mount Hope Cemetery, Rochester. Sterling's obituary in the New York Times referred to "his lifelong friend, James O. Bloss, a retired cotton broker, who made his home with the testator for more than forty years." James Orville Bloss died suddenly in New York City, on December 15, 1918.
• Bert Williams (1874-1922), was one of the pre-eminent entertainers of the Vaudeville era. He married Charlotte ("Lottie") Thompson, a singer with whom he had worked professionally, in a very private ceremony. Lottie was a widow eight years Bert's senior. The Williamses never had children biologically, but they adopted three of Lottie's nieces. In 1919 their niece Lottie Tyler met blues singer Alberta Hunter. In August 1927, Hunter sailed for France, accompanied by Lottie. Their relationship lasted until Ms. Tyler's death, many years later.
Queer Places, Vol. 1 edited by Elisa Rolle
Release Date: July 24, 2016
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