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Allegany County
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Elizabeth Lloyd Lowndes, 1881-1963

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Miss Elizabeth Lloyd Lowndes (1881-1963)

Elizabeth was a member of the Emmanuel Parish (Emmanuel Episcopal Church) in Cumberland, Maryland. Her parents were Lloyd Lowndes (1845-1905), a Republican, who had served as Governor of Maryland from 1896 to 1900, and Elizabeth Tasker Lowndes (1842-1922).

It was Elizabeth Lloyd Lowndes who commissioned the "Rizpah" window at Emmanuel Episcopal Church. This was to be a Louis Comfort Tiffany window and is considered to be one of the world's earliest examples of an Art Deco designed stained glass window. Dedicated to her mother the window was officially dedicated on June 17, 1923. It is an unusual window, not just in the use of its purple and orange colors, but the dark theme of the subject matter. It is the story of a mother's courage and devotion to her children.

Rizpah is biblically portrayed and seen as a strong and fearless woman. Church officials believe this was the reason why Lowndes specifically chose "Rizpah" as the subject. Rizpah's two sons were among those sons of King Saul who were sacrificed by King David to end a famine. This was to atone for Saul's guilt in trying to destroy the Gideonites. They were impaled. Rizpah stayed with them during the entire harvesting season "to prevent the vultures from tearing at their bodies during the day and the wild animals from eating them at night," on which occasions she is portrayed as holding a blazing torch of fire. Upon learning of this King David was so moved he arranged for her sons' bones to be buried in the grave of Saul's father, Kish. The famine ended. (For a full accounting of the biblical story of Rizpah see the Second Book of Samuel).

Elizabeth Lloyd Lowndes never married and was considered to be a very independent woman. It is also believed by local historians that she was a Suffragette, and as such was a member of the Allegany County Woman's Suffrage Association.

The Church on the Fort - 150 Years of Emmanuel Parish, by Rev. H. Maunsell Richardson, 1953
"The Works of Louis Comfort Tiffany", a brochure of Emmanuel Parish of the Episcopal Church
2 Samuel:22, New International Version.


Text - Albert Feldstein

Photograph of the Rizpah window over the south door in the baptistery of the church by Albert L. Feldstein

Collection Location:
Allegany County

Allegany County (Md.)--Biography; Allegany County (Md.)--Women.

Allegany County, (Md.)

Western Maryland Regional Library
100 South Potomac Street
Hagerstown, Maryland 21740

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