Logo   Melvin Memorial, Concord MA
The tomb of three Concord, Massachusetts brothers who fought in the Civil War was designed by Daniel Chester French, and is among his most touching funeral monuments.



Four brothers of Concord's Melvin family went off to the Civil War. Only one returned, James C Melvin, who prospered in civilian life. In 1897 he commissioned sculptor Daniel Chester French to create a monument at the center of the planned memorial for his three lost brothers.

French sculpted the Mourning Victory, among the most eloquent of his works, in 1906-1908 in the prevailing Art Nouveau style, perfectly suited to portray the nobility of the brothers' sentiments, the tragedy of their sacrifice, and the bittersweet poignancy of victory in the cause for which they gave their lives.

The memorial was dedicated in 1909. The inscription reads:

"In memory of three brothers born in Concord
who as private soldiers gave their
lives in the war to save the country.
This memorial is placed here by their surviving
brother, himself a private soldier in the same war.
'I with uncovered head
salute the sacred dead
who went and who return not.'”

  Face of

The figure of Victory emerges from the stone, a look on her face of profound sadness and the numbness of long grief. In her hand is an oak branch to award to the victors—but they are gone.

The Melvin Memorial is at an intersection of three lanes within Sleepy Hollow Cemetery (map), only a short distance from the main auto gate.

French's original design was for a mirror image of what you see here today: the oak branch in Victory's right hand, and her left holding up the American flag (as shown in this copy made by French four years later for New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art.) However, the placement of the monument would have had Victory's elbow obscuring her face as visitors approached, so French "flipped" his original design to suit the site.

Having deteriorated over the 110 years since its dedication, the memorial was carefully restored in 2018, and re-dedicated on June 16, 2019.

In winter, the "Mourning Victory" is shrouded by a heavy waterproof cover to protect it from deterioration by the elements, and is thus not visible. Visit in the warm months.

Melvin memorial, Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Concord, Massachusetts
The Melvin Memorial

Daniel Chester French's grave is on the ridge directly behind the Melvin memorial.

—by Tom Brosnahan

Sleepy Hollow Cemetery

Map of Sleepy Hollow

Louisa May Alcott's Grave

Thoreau's Grave

Emerson's Grave

Daniel C French's Grave

Authors Ridge

What to See & Do in Concord

About Concord MA

Famous New Englanders

  Paris Girls Secret Society, the new novel by Tom Brosnahan


Daniel Chester French's "Mourning Victory," in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Concord MA.



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