Thursday, July 3, 2014

Magnolia Cemetery History and Artistry Presentation Opportunities

I have what I feel is a very interesting and colorful 60-90 minute photographic and oral presentation about my Magnolia Cemetery research and books. Please contact me if I can give a talk to your group in 2014 or 2015. My contact information is below. Thank you!



Saturday, June 14, 2014

"In the Arms" Now In the Arms of the Governor!

What a thrill it was when I saw this photo shared by Magnolia Cemetery Superintendent Beverly Donald! Beverly was in Columbia on June 11 to receive an award as part of the 2014 South Carolina Historic Preservation Awards held in the state Capitol.
Beverly Donald, Gov. Nikki Haley and my new book! 

Magnolia Cemetery received an award for the recent stabilization and preservation work performed on the Receiving Tomb, which dates to the cemetery's opening in 1850. The tomb was used to safeguard bodies until their burial sites were completed.

Gov. Nikki Haley was the event's key presenter. For the Receiving Tomb, awards were given to the Magnolia Cemetery Trust, Bennett Preservation Engineering PC and the Preservation Society of Charleston, which included the Receiving Tomb as one of its "Seven to Seven" Charleston area projects.

Beverly had the opportunity to meet Gov. Haley and gave her a copy of my new book, "In the Arms of Angels: Magnolia Cemetery-Charleston's Treasure of History, Mystery and Artistry." The book features the Receiving Tomb as one of the cemetery's "most monumental" structures.
Work on the Receiving Tomb in 2013- now stabilized exterior improvements are up next

Thursday, May 8, 2014

"In the Arms" Interest Sparks Second Printing


At Magnolia Cemetery on April 12 with
Superintendent Beverly Donald.
It was a beautiful day and a great turnout
for the first book signing!
Sales have been brisk of my new book, "In the Arms of Angels: Magnolia Cemetery- Charleston's Treasure of History, Mystery and Artistry." In April, the first two book signings, at Magnolia Cemetery and the College of Charleston, were very successful.

Except for a few copies, the first printing has sold out. I will receive the second shipment of books from my printer, 360 Digital Books, on May 22. I am proud to say my book is printed in America!

I am also starting to get the book into local stores and shops.
Along with being sold in Magnolia Cemetery's office (70 Cunnington Ave.), the book is now available at the College of Charleston Bookstore (160 Calhoun St.), The Shops of Historic Charleston Foundation (108 Meeting St.), and the Preservation Society of Charleston Book and Gift Shop (147 King St.).

June 6 new store update: "In the Arms" is also available at the Middleton Place Museum Shop, 4300 Ashley River Rd., Charleston; Tomlinson's Warehouse, 10155 Dorchester Rd., Summerville; and Mr. K's Used Books, Records & More, 5070 International Blvd., North Charleston.
The book is also available through Amazon.com.

I am also contacting libraries and historic societies about adding "In the Arms" to their collections. Speaking and book signing opportunities, like those scheduled in June at my church, St. John the Beloved, in Summerville, and in July with the Georgetown County Library, are being sought.

I have what I think is an interesting and engaging visual presentation about my cemetery research that I would like to share. This video report I did a few years ago about Magnolia Cemetery gives an overview of this historic and beautiful place of eternal rest. For more information about presentations and book signings, please contact me at 843.224.3112 or birdseyeviewspublications@gmail.com.

Details about "In the Arms of Angels" are in the post below.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

New Book Examines History and Artistry of Charleston's Magnolia Cemetery

Nearly two years in the making, I'm very excited to announce the publication of "In the Arms of Angels: Magnolia Cemetery- Charleston's Treasure of History, Mystery and Artistry" (see the book news release, my WCIV-TV "Lowcountry Live" interview, and this Charleston City Paper review of the book).

People interested in history, art, religion, spirituality, symbolism, landscape design and photography will find this an appealing read. The book is large format 8.5 by 11 inches with a hard cover. It is 231 pages with 10 chapters, preceded by a few short introductory segments. The pages are filled with stories about cemetery "residents" and color photographs that capture the 19th century Victorian necropolis' unique style and look.
Book's front cover

Please click here to see comments from area historians who call "In the Arms of Angels" a "landmark book," "comprehensive," and "a well-balanced work combining history and beautiful photography."

My first book signing will be Saturday, April 12, from 10 a.m.- 1 p.m. at Magnolia Cemetery, which is located in Charleston at 70 Cunnington Ave. Directions are available on the cemetery's website. Cost of the book is $40. Payment will be by cash or check only.

Since publishing in 2011 my first book, "The Birds of Magnolia Cemetery: Charleston's Secret Bird Sanctuary," I knew I wanted to write a second book about this interesting, historic place, which continues to be somewhat of a secret treasure among Charleston's many better known and publicized attractions.

The first two chapters examine, with words and photographs, 34 of Magnolia's most magnificent monuments, memorials, sculptures, and elaborately-designed plots, most of which were erected from 1850 (when the cemetery opened) to the 1890s.
A portion of the book's back cover

This was during America's Victorian Era, which influenced views about death and burial. The well-to-do, especially, embraced the trend of erecting large, symbol-filled edifices to remember lost loved ones.

Magnolia Cemetery's early growth and popularity coincided with the bloody Civil War. I devote a lengthy chapter in my book to Magnolia's extensive Confederacy legacy.

"The Children of Magnolia Cemetery" is a sad chapter. It highlights the high number of the cemetery's gravesites that belong to children, due to the 19th century diseases, epidemics and crude (by today's standards) medical practices.

A wet Magnolia Cemetery is still a beautiful site to see
Other chapters are devoted to the wide-ranging Christian symbolism on so many gravestones, "epic" epitaphs, and early photographs of Magnolia Cemetery. Another chapter, "A Modern Stonecutters Perspective," takes readers on a walk through the old cemetery with Richard Crites, owner of E.J. McCarthy & Sons, a longtime monument company located a short distance from Magnolia's front gate. Crites shares many interesting observations about Magnolia's past and present.

Magnolia's newer Greenhill section is also examined in the book.


A Brown Thrasher at Magnolia Cemetery
"In the Arms of Angels" concludes with a nod to my first Magnolia Cemetery book, "The Birds of Magnolia Cemetery: Charleston's Secret Bird Sanctuary."  "More Birds of Magnolia Cemetery" includes dozens of new bird photographs, including several species not in the first book, taken at the cemetery since 2011.

I owe many, many thanks to Magnolia's longtime superintendent Beverly Donald for her assistance, support and encouragement in the time spent researching, photographing and writing this book. Thanks Beverly!

Thanks also go to the College of Charleston's School of Humanities and Social Sciences for providing financial assistance for, and support of, this project.

More book signings are in the works this spring, after the first one at Magnolia Cemetery on April 12. Notices will be posted on this site, and through Charleston media and social media (follow me on Twitter at cccougar). Bookstores, historic sites, and other shops that carry my book will be listed on this site. "In the Arms of Angels" and "The Birds of Magnolia Cemetery" can also be purchased by having me mail you a copy or copies. Contact me at birdseyeviewspublications@gmail.com.

Magnolia Cemetery is a wonderful, beautiful, interesting and historic place in Charleston that is just a little off the beaten path. It is very much worth the effort to find and visit. Comments on TripAdvisor are overwhelmingly positive and indicate what a unique and special place Magnolia Cemetery is.

"In the Arms of Angels" also captures the mystique, mystery, elegance and opulence of one of America's premier Victorian cemeteries.
The author (me!) at Magnolia Cemetery (photo by Alesia Harwood)




Monday, March 3, 2014

Marching into March at Donnelley Wildlife Area

I took advantage of the beautiful weather on Sunday, March 2 to drive down to the ACE Basin for a visit to the Donnelley Wildlife Management Area. The WMA site is located about 40 miles south of Charleston off Highway 17. The ACE Basin is one of the Lowcountry's true treasures- tens of thousands (at least) of acres of protected lands in a region named for the confluence of the Ashepoo, Combahee and Edisto rivers, hence the ACE acronym.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Sunday Morning Pileated Woodpecker Treat!

Last Sunday morning was a bit chilly but clear outside so I decided to read the newspaper on my back porch. I was soon rewarded with an unexpected birding adventure when I started hearing the unmistakable sounds of a woodpecker at work.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Hilton Head Island Delights!

My family and I spent Thanksgiving on Hilton Head Island. During our short stay we saw some area attractions we had not visited before. They included the iconic Harbour Town Lighthouse.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Shoulder-to-Shoulder Red-Shouldered Hawks

What a surprise it was yesterday morning to spot a beautiful pair of Red-shouldered Hawks in my backyard- though I'm sure it wasn't such a happy sight to the small birds at my feeders, which made themselves scarce when the predators appeared...

Sunday, November 17, 2013

First Light: Sunrise at Magnolia Cemetery

The Ravenel Bridge that connects Charleston and Mount Pleasant over the Cooper River
Being up and on the road extra early this fall to be at Charleston's Magnolia Cemetery by 8 a.m. for my parttime job there, I admired many glorious sunrises before the time changed recently.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

New Book Receives College of Charleston Support

Patrick Harwood
I am pleased to share the news that the new book I am currently writing about Magnolia Cemetery is receiving financial support from the College of Charleston's School of Humanities and Social Sciences. Special thanks goes to the school's dean, Dr. Jerold L. Hale, for approving my application for special funding to assist faculty involved in research initiatives.

As I work to soon complete the manuscript of "In the Arms of Angels: The History, Mystery and Artistry of Magnolia Cemetery," these funds, nearly $700, will help in the steps toward publication. I am optimistic the new book will be out early next year.

"In the Arms of Angels" follows my 2011 release of "The Birds of Magnolia Cemetery: Charleston's Secret Bird Sanctuary" available at the cemetery office and more than a dozen Charleston area bookstores and historic site gift shops, as well as through Amazon.