Sweet Auburn: The Magazine of the Friends of Mount Auburn Lives of the Past Informing the Future | Page 3
sweet auburn | 2019 volume ii
he articles in this issue of Sweet Auburn comprise a wonderful collection of
stories about people buried at Mount Auburn and their accomplishments,
beginning with Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story, who was also Mount Auburn
Cemetery’s first president. Some are well-known and some are virtually unknown, but all
had an impact on America that is still being felt today. As pointed out by Jennifer Johnston
and Cambridge City Councilor Denise Simmons (p. 5), “with more than 100,000 people
buried or memorialized at the Cemetery, there are countless voices to learn from going
forward” and “Mount Auburn Cemetery holds history in its hands.” Indeed, we are fortunate Dave and our new Purple Beech
to have an amazing amount of valuable history in our archives, capably watched over by
across from Story Chapel.
Curator of Historical Collections Meg Winslow. Meg and her dedicated team of volunteers
have made great progress curating and digitizing the records of Mount Auburn’s residents
and making this information more accessible to families and researchers. This issue of Sweet
Auburn owes much to the Cemetery’s archives. Please take advantage of the Family Digitization Project (see p. 21), funded by
a National Endowment for the Humanities grant, to scan photographs and documents about loved ones to ensure that these
stories are preserved.
It has been fun working with Mount Auburn’s third artist-in-residence, playwright Patrick Gabridge, to host “The Nature
Plays” (pp. 10–11) this past spring and “The America Plays” (pp. 6–9) this fall. These plays have brought to life stories of Mount
Auburn’s residents in a way that celebrates our role as a cultural institution as well as a cemetery. In “The Nature Plays,” even
Mount Auburn’s resident trees spoke their piece. As noted in the last issue of Sweet Auburn, we lost the magnificent 140-year-old
purple beech across from Story Chapel: trees, like people, do not live forever.
While my last President’s Corner included photos of the lost beech tree, I was pleased to be photographed for this issue with
the new purple beech that was planted in April. It has happily taken root in its prominent new location near Asa Gray Garden,
between our two historic chapels. It was an honor for Mount Auburn to be recognized in May with the Frederick Law Olmsted
Award from Preservation Massachusetts (see p. 19) for our recent improvements to Bigelow Chapel and Asa Gray Garden that
respectfully honor Mount Auburn’s rich history. We will continue to do all that we can to preserve our history and the stories of
those interred here while also embracing the future as an active cemetery serving families at their time of need.
Thanks for your support of Mount Auburn, and I hope to see you out on the grounds this fall!
David P. Barnett
President & CEO
Dave and our new Purple Beech
with Asa Gray Garden and Bigelow
Chapel in the background.