The Friends of the Library of St. Johns County, Inc. and the Randolph Caldecott Society of America held a joint ceremony to designate the burial site of Randolph Caldecott, 1846-1886, English illustrator, artist, and sculptor, buried in Evergreen Cemetery, as a Literary Landmark site.
The Literary Landmarks Association was founded in 1986 by a former president of Friends of Libraries U. S. A. (FOLUSA) to encourage the dedication of historic literary sites. Literary Landmark dedications have included homes of famous writers, libraries and museum collections, literary scenes, and now, a burial site. Caldecott is among the first illustrators to be so honored!
Since Caldecott was a native son of Chester, Cheshire, England and St. Augustine, Florida, U.S.A. is his final resting place, the ceremony incorporated several activities to make a connection between the two countries. The UK and USA Flags were presented by Boy Scout Troop #274, under the director of their Scout Master, Roger Lebon. Musical tributes were made to both countries, as well. Singers, Chelsye Ginn and Riley Keshner sang one verse of AMERICA and one verse of GOD SAVE THE QUEEN. The ceremony program included two memorial quotes from the time of Caldecott’s death in 1886. One was from the London Graphic newspaper and submitted by Keeling Anthony, Caldecott family member, and Webmaster for the UK Caldecott Society web site. The other was submitted by Barbara Howard, Historian for the UK Caldecott Society. The quote was taken from a eulogy from which a portion appears on the memorial to Caldecott in St. Paul’s Cathedral Crypt, London, England.
The ceremonial prayer was given by Taryn Rodriguez-Boette, SDM, and Christian Education/Youth Minister Coordinator, St. Mark By The Sea Lutheran Church, Palm Coast , Florida.
Several Greetings were given. The first was from Mary Jane Little, Director, St. Johns County Library System; Suzanne Batovsky, President of the Friends of the Library,Inc.; Gwen P. Reichert, brought Greetings from the Randolph Caldecott Society of America.
Reichert co-chaired and facilitated the ceremony; Greetings were read by Art Boccieri, RCSA Vice President, from the United Kingdom’s Caldecott Society and the Chester, England, Lord Mayor’s Office; Carol Fitzgerald, Literary Resources Coordinator, Florida Center for the Book, Broward County Library, Ft. Lauderdale, FL brought Greetings from the Center and told of Caldecott’s inclusion in their most recent publication: FLORIDA LITERARY LANDMARKS
The first Literary Landmark designation occurred in 1987. Today Florida is home to seventeen designated Literary Landmarks, the most recent being in St. Augustine, honoring Randolph Caldecott.
Appreciation was expressed to Richard Root, President, Evergreen Cemetery for the generous donation of the base for the very informative and handsome bronze plaque. Appreciation was extended to Curt Meadows, Superintendent of Evergreen Cemetery for his assistance in planning and facilitating Evergreen Cemetery’s part in this ceremony as well as the continual care of the Caldecott grave site.
The “Literary Landmark” plaque, at the foot of the Caldecott grave, was “unveiled” by Valerie Peischel, Branch Manager at the Main Library and the location of the Randolph Caldecott Children’s Room. Peischel had served as liaison for FOL/RCSA in making application for the “Literary Landmark” designation. The plaque was read by Wynema Gatewood, RCSA member and co-chair of the ceremony.
Presentation of the “English Garden” floral spray, prepared by Flower Works, cosponsored by the UK and USA Caldecott societies, was presented by students from local schools: William Walker, Durbin Creek Elementary; Freddy Herx, Osceola Elementary; Cooper Garvey, Florida School for the Deaf and Blind; and Jarman Hill, Hastings Elementary. The students were under the direction of Anne Boccieri. All persons present at the ceremony were presented with an individual floral tribute to be place on the Caldecott grave.
Violinist, Janine Newfield offered appropriate musical selections just prior and immediately following the ceremony.
Photographs for the Caldecott web site (www.rcsamerica.com) were taken by Allan Reichert. Video was made by Don Buck and son from Video Productions, Jacksonville, Florida.
Following the ceremony, at Evergreen Cemetery, was a Reception sponsored by the Friends of the Library, Inc., in the meeting room at the Main Library.