The Great Fathers of Woodlawn!

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

Ornette Coleman

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



W.C. Handy (1873-1958) Father of the Blues

Credited with taking a regional song form and making it a well-known American sound


Coleman Hawkins

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

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” 

John Reid

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.