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Ann Parker and Avon Neal Gravestone Rubbings

Identifier: A0075

Scope and Contents

This collection includes 30 framed gravestone rubbings of various sizes, representing gravestones from New England dating from the 17th and 18th centuries. Most of the rubbings depict the iconography and imagery of the gravestones. Only a few contain text. The rubbings have a marbled black and yellow coloring.

Each rubbing records the name(s) of the individual(s) memorialized by the gravestone. Most include a date. The artists have inscribed their cataloging information on each item, which includes the size of the rubbing (small, medium or large portfolio) and a number. The set of rubbings in this collection are numbered “39/50.” Each rubbing is signed by the artists.


  • 1963


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research. Access to sensitive materials may be restricted at the discretion of AFAM.

Conditions Governing Use

This collection is owned by the American Folk Art Museum. The collection is subject to all copyright laws, and is dedicated to public use for research, study and scholarship.

Biographical / Historical

Artists Ann Parker (British, b. 1934) and Avon Neal (American, 1922-2003) began creating gravestone rubbings in the early 1960s, primarily in response to the distressing number of destroyed and degraded gravestones they saw in New England burial grounds and the inadequacy of photographs to capture the intricacy and dimensions of the carved images on the stones. The goal of Parker and Neal’s work was to create a rendering that was visually exciting, as well as accurate of the size and texture of the carving. To do this, they placed large sheets of Japanese rice paper over the stones and then rubbed the paper with a silk pad dipped in black ink. Additional earth-toned inks were added to create a marbled, dimensional effect. A single rubbing could take hours, sometimes days, to complete.

Parker and Neal’s rubbings can be found in major collections, including the Brooklyn Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art. The artists guest curated AFAM’s exhibition Rubbings from New England Gravestones (1965) alongside the Museum’s Director Mary C. Black.


30 object(s) (30 framed gravestone rubbings) ; various sizes

Language of Materials



This collection comprises 30 framed gravestone rubbings created by artists Ann Parker and Avon Neal in 1963, depicting gravestone imagery from 17th and 18th-century New England.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was donated in 2022.


A Guide to the Ann Parker and Avon Neal Gravestone Rubbings
Regina Carra and Leah Bobbett
January 2024
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the American Folk Art Museum Archives Repository

47-29 32nd Place
Long Island City New York 11101 United States
(212) 595-9533