Sweet Auburn: The Magazine of the Friends of Mount Auburn The Art of Memory: Monuments Through Time - Page 5

the Art of Memory victorian Symbolism Beginning in the mid-19th century, Victorian symbolism and ornamentation celebrating family relationships adorned many monuments at Mount Auburn. Flower arrangements, lambs, sleeping infants, grieving women, and angels were accompanied by the inscriptions “Father,” “Mother,” “Child.” Growing sentimentalism led to the idea of the “domestication of death,” based on universal salvation and family reunion in heaven. Children under the age of five represented a third of all burials at the Cemetery before the 1850s, indicative of the high mortality rate of this period. Photo, Kathleen Fox, 1992 Emily Binney, (1835 – 1839), Lot 681 Yarrow Path Although this fragile marble statue has not survived, the memorial in honor of four-year-old Emily Binney, created by Henry Dexter, was the earliest monument at Mount Auburn in the form of a representational figure. John Albee noted in his remembrance to Dexter that “as a work of art, [the monument] is faultless.” 5 The touching effigy, carved from a single block of marble, lay in an open temple with four columns designed by local carver Alpheus Cary. An inscription on the base of the sculpture read: “Shed not for her the bitter Tear,/Nor Give the Heart to Vain Regret,/’Tis but the Casket that Lies Here–/The Gem that Fled It Sparkles Yet.” Engraving, Nathaniel Dearborn, Dearborn’s Guide Through Mount Auburn Cemetery, 1852 Thatcher Magoun, (1775 – 1856), Lot 1792 Fir Avenue The family lot of Medford shipbuilding magnate Thatcher Magoun is graced with a marble sculpture of a mourning mother and daughter on a high pedestal base. The mother kneeling protectively over her daughter in a tender embrace is one of the most evocative depictions of grief found at Mount Auburn. Guidebooks of the time titled the monument simply, “Grief.” The beloved statue, erected in the early 1850s, has been documented in engravings, woodcuts, daguerreotypes, and stereo views. Photo, Alice Donaldson, 1991 Fall 2013 | 3