The Great Fathers of Woodlawn!
During the month of June we celebrate our fathers, and Woodlawn’s list of notables includes many men who are considered “the father of” – individuals credited for inventing something, fighting for a cause, building an institution or establishing a field of study.
Edwin Armstrong (1890-1954) “Father of FM Radio”
Edwin Armostrong is not resting at Woodlawn, but spent time in our receiving tomb prior to his interment in Massachusetts.
Irving Berlin (1888-1989) Father of the American Popular Song
A major contributor to the American Songbook, Berlin wrote God Bless America, White Christmas and There’s No Business Like Show Business.
Gail Borden (1801-1874) Father of the Modern Dairy Industry
The inventor of condensed milk who established the Borden brand
Ornette Coleman (1958-2015) “Father of Free Jazz”
Known for his colorful clothes, a plastic saxophone, and introducing the world to a new form of American art.
William Buckingham Curtis (1837-1900) Father of American Amateur Athletics
The founder of the New York Athletic Club believed in pure competition in boxing, track and field and especially speed skating
Richard Kyle Fox (1846-1922) Father of the Tabloid
Newspaper publisher best known for the celebrity news found in the National Police Gazette
George Bird Grinnell (1849-1938) Father of American Conservation
The New York Times gave the founder of the Audubon Society the illustrious title that credited him with leading a movement
Charles Gulden (1843-1916) Father of American Mustard
German born entrepreneur won numerous awards for his thirty varieties of mustard, capers, olives and catsup
Louis Haffen (1854-1935) Father of the Bronx
The first Borough President who envisioned the building of the Grand Concourse
Credited with taking a regional song form and making it a well-known American sound
Coleman Hawkins (1904-1969) Father of the Tenor Sax
Considered by the jazz community as the “Father of the Tenor Sax,” for recognizing and demonstrating the beauty of this instrument.
Robert Launitz (1806-1870) Father of Monumental Art in America
His works are in cemeteries, public squares and the interior of the Washington Monument. His memorial features his profile, sculpted by one of his students
Francis Lieber (1800-1872) Father of Political Science in America
German-born philosopher who taught at Columbia University and is best known for the “Lieber Code,” credited as a base for the Geneva Convention
Bernarr MacFadden (1868-1955) Father of Physical Culture
Bodybuilder and publisher who promoted exercise and healthy eating
Robert Moses (1888-1981) Father of Contemporary Manhattan
City planner who built many of the bridges, roadways and parks in New York City
Thomas Nast (1840-1902) Father of the American Cartoon
Among his notable works were the images of the Democrat’s Donkey and the Republican Elephant
Frederick Francis Proctor (1851-1929) Father of Vaudeville Entertainment
Built many successful theaters for continuous entertainment.
Joseph Pulitzer (1847-1911) Father of American Journalism
Newspaper publisher who established the Pulitzer Prize and established the Columbia School of Journalism
Michael Pupin (1858-1935) Father of Idealism in the American Science
A enowned physicist considered by many as the “father of idealism in the American science.”
John Goffe Rand (1801-1873) Father of the Collapsible Paint Tube
His grave is marked by an artist’s palette and tube of paint
John Reid (1870-1916) “Father of American Golf”
Reid came from Scotland and introduced golf to Americans in 1888 at the St. Andrews Golf club in Yonkers, NY!
Charles Rice (1841-1901) Father of Modern American Official Drug Standards
An enthusiastic pharmacist who led the effort for product consistency
George “Tex” Rickard (1870-1929) Father of Madison Square Garden
Considered boxing’s greatest promoter and he was the founder of the New York Rangers.
Jeremiah P. Thomas (1830-1885) Father of American Mixology
He wrote the Bartender’s Guide and introduced many New Yorkers to delightful mixed drinks
William Webb (1816-1899) Father of Naval Architecture
Shipbuilder who is credited for establishing a field of engineering and a prestigious school that bears his name
James Lee Wells (1843-1928) Father of the Bronx
A well-known real estate broker who was responsible for developing much of the Bronx.
The parents of many famous entertainers are at Woodlawn including the fathers of: dancer Fred Astaire, singer “Tiny Tim” and New York icon Dorothy Parker. Author Clarence Day paid tribute to his dad by writing the play/movie “Life with Father.” Long-time Woodlawn Trustee Edward Streeter wrote the book “Father of the Bride,” which became a very popular movie.
Sculptures of admired men grace Woodlawn’s grounds including the life-sized statue of social reformer Father Edward McGlynn (1837-1900).
Thousands of monuments that read “Father” or “Papa” mark the final resting places of men who raised children, provided for families and contributed to their communities. Pay tribute to Woodlawn’s fathers this month by visiting the unique and meaningful monuments that celebrate these great men.