SLEEPY HOLLOW, N.Y. – For many couples, the power of love continues even after death. Buried within Sleepy Hollow Cemetery are many stories of love and loss throughout the past century from famous couples, to poets, to past Tarrytown residents.
“I never knew a day I did not love you” is the inscription that lies on the grave of Leona Helmsley.
Helmsley and her husband Harry are one of the more famous couples interred within the cemetery. Harry Helmsley died in 1997 at the age of 88 and was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx. A dispute with cemetery officials over a community mausoleum lead to Leona Helmsley moving her husband to Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. She joined him in 2007 at the age of 87.
Harry Helmsley's grave carries an inscription that reads, “I wait for the time when we can soar together again, both aware of each other.”
Tarrytown resident and poet, Minna Irving, can also be found in the cemetery. Cemetery Historian Jim Logan notes that Irving's claim to fame includes writing love letters to sailors in the Navy. After a few letters, Logan said Irving would write “I'm short on cash, can you send some money?”
Irving was also well known to local police, as she would report seeing packs of wild monkeys in the village. Logan said she was also quick to call police and report intruders when tree branches would scratch at her windows.
Journalist and film producer Mark Hellinger and former Ziegfeld showgirl Gladys Glad are also buried in the cemetery. Logan said the pair met while Hellinger judged a beauty contest in which Glad was a participant.
Hellinger picked Glad to win and then “picked her up,” Logan said. The two were married in 1929, divorced in 1932 and wed again in 1933. They stayed married until Hellinger's death.
Broadway producer William A. Brady and his wife the Broadway actress Grace George are buried together in the cemetery. Logan notes George performed the same evening that Brady died—a true “the show must go on” moment.
Steel magnate Andrew Carnegie and his wife Louise did not want death to keep them separated, Logan said. Andrew died first and was buried in a supposedly tamper-proof crypt because of fears that his grave would be disturbed by anarchists.
Louise was also buried in a tamper-proof crypt, Logan said, but the couple made sure that the two crypts were connected by a small passageway.
The poet Francis Saltus is also interred in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. Logan notes Saltus did write some love poetry, although it was rather florid, even for the time.
“Saltus's true love was absinth, which he consumed in great quantity at Billy Moulds cafe on Manhattan's University Place,” Logan said.