Reiff co-authors new book

Monday October 29, 2018Lisa Eikenburg
Dr. Daniel Reiff with his new book.
Dr. Daniel Reiff with his new book.

SUNY Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus Daniel D. Reiff, has co-authored a new book which was recently published by The Edwin Mellen Press: “Column Monuments: Commemorative and Memorial Column Monuments, from Ancient Times to the 21st Century: A History and Guide.”

His co-author is Janina K. Darling, professor emerita at the University of California at Santa Cruz. Twenty-five years in the making, the study is in five volumes, over 1,000 pages in length, with 917 illustrations.  It is the only book to trace the whole development of this ubiquitous monument type.

"This study began in my [State University of New York at] Fredonia courses in art history in the 1980s," stated Dr. Reiff. "I liked to show students that great monuments ̶ like the famous memorial columns of Trajan or Marcus Aurelius in Rome ̶ had 'descendants' centuries later not just in Europe, but in America too, such as the Civil War monuments they could find in their home towns." Student photos and recommendations were essential for Reiff finding some outstanding American examples. 

Reiff acknowledges the help that permitted in the 1990s two week's work at the Architectural library of Columbia University, thanks to a UUP Professional Development and Quality of Work Life Award, and a Fredonia Scholarly Incentive Award. A Fredonia Summer Undergraduate Fellowship was also important in having a German treatise on column monuments translated by a German-speaking Fredonia student. And thanks to Fredonia's Daniel Reed Library interlibrary loan service, he was able to amass copies of hundreds of articles and book chapters regarding individual monuments.

Over a 20-year period Reiff in his travels, and by enlisting the help of colleagues, friends, and family, amassed a collection of several thousand photographs of commemorative column from cities in 36 different countries throughout the western world ̶ including Cairo, Alexandria and Istanbul; Athens, Rome, Venice and Vicenza; St. Petersburg, Warsaw, Cracow, Vienna and Berlin; Madrid, Paris, London, and Edinburgh; and beyond. In America monuments in Boston, New York, Buffalo and Washington, D.C.; and westward to Cleveland, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Salt Lake City and San Francisco, are included ̶ as well as Toronto, San Juan, Mexico City, Guatemala City, and Buenos Aires (it also includes the Massoud Monument of 2002 in Kabul).

After his retirement from Fredonia in 2004, Reiff began work on the project; with the help of Dr. Darling, who conducted extensive additional research and co-wrote all the essays, the book was completed in six years. For ordering information: (7l6) 754-2788 or online

Reiff and his wife Janet, '73, who works as a librarian at the Buffalo History Museum, reside in Kenmore.

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