Spencer Ervin

In 1895, Spencer Ervin (1856-1897), on the board of the New York & New England Railroad Company, was given an honorary A.M. degree by Princeton University.

Two years later, Mr. Ervin died and a death mask was made for the family to remember him by. Recently, his great-grandson Newcombe C. Baker III, Class of 1974, and their family generously donated the death mask along with its original carrying case to the Graphic Arts Collection.

The mask will join the collection of life and death masks formed by Laurence Hutton (1843-1904), who was also given an honorary A.M. degree by Princeton University in 1897.


The makers of the death mask took special care to carve the mustache, eye brows, and hair into the cast of the face. They also took separate casts for the ears and carefully wrapped in the carrying case, we found extra plaster ears, in case the others were damaged.

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