The Association for Gravestone Studies (AGS) was established in 1977 to further the study and preservation of gravestones.
AGS promotes the artistic and historical aspects of gravestone study through their publications, workshops, conferences, and exhibits.
Membership includes the newsletter AGS Quarterly and the annual journal Markers, both of which are full of interesting articles ranging from the study of epithets and profiles of stone carvers to regional updates and cemetery histories. Other membership benefits include discounts on AGS purchases and access to the lending library and research clearinghouse.
AGS has published a wonderful series of “field guides” on the following topics:
#1 Analyzing Cemetery Data
#2 Cemeteries Listed in the National Register (includes how to order copies of nomination forms)
#3 Guide to Forming a Cemetery Friends Organization
#4 Cleaning Masonry Burial Monuments
#5 Gravestone Rubbing for Beginners
#6 Basic Guide to Carver Research
#7 Making Photographic Records of Gravestones
#8 Symbolism in the Carving on Gravestones
#9 Model Legislation
#10 Making Replicas
#11 Reading Weathered Marble Gravestones
#12 The Care of Old Cemeteries and Gravestones
#13 A Technique for the Experienced Rubber
#14 How to Create a Base
#15 Recommendations for the Care of Gravestones
#16 What do you do When you Find a "Lost" Gravestone?
#17 Recording Cemetery Data
#18 Discussion and Research Topics (for educators)
The cost for each field guide varies, but two theme-based, pre-bundled “kits” of cemetery field guides are available for $21.00 ($18.75 for members).
The FAQ section of the AGS website contains several interesting articles on topics like “Some Gravestone Rubbing Dos and Don’ts,” “Tools and Materials for Gravestone Cleaning Projects,” and “Why Do Jews Put Pebbles on Gravemarkers?”
AGS has 1200 members worldwide, each striving to preserve and learn about cemeteries, gravestones, and related projects. If you are interested in the study of gravestones, membership in AGS is for you!