Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery is full of beautiful, intricately carved monuments. But one so impressive, it attracted thousands of visitors in the 19th century was that of Charlotte Canda.
The daughter of an officer in Napoleon’s army who was the headmaster of a school on Lafayette Place in Manhattan, Charlotte met an especially sad, dramatic end: On the night of her 17th birthday, in February 1845, she fell out of a moving carriage on Broadway and Waverly Place, hit her head on the pavement, and died.
Her grief-stricken family commissioned a massive marble monument in Green-Wood Cemetery with all kinds of Victorian-era touches: Charlotte as an angel standing under a canopy, with church-like spires, carved flowers, and two more angels flanking her tomb, among other flourishes.
Because it was so ornate, her monument was a popular place for strangers to visit. So popular, in fact, a photo of it was made into a trading card as part of what appears to be a series of Green-Wood Cemetery cards. Sounds pretty ghoulish, but late 19th century New Yorkers used to picnic at the cemetery, so it fits with the sensibility of the era.
Here’s what her tomb says about Charlotte. To add to the Victorian drama of it all, her fiance, a French nobleman, killed himself after Charlotte died. He’s buried in a plot next to hers.
Green-Wood Cemetery has better photos of her monument and more detailed information.