Book List: Escape with a Book

May 5, 2020

During this time of the Covid-19 pandemic we are all staying home and close to home.  So why not travel across the globe and through time and take an adventure through reading?  We recommend these 10 books to help you escape from Cape Cod to Paris and over mountains and oceans!  These books can be found at your local library or Independent Bookstore such as Porter Square BooksHarvard Book Store, and Belmont Books.

Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

In this epic poem, Evangaline: A Tale of Acadie by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1847), follow a woman in her search of her lost love whom she was separated from during the Expulsion of the Acadians.  Travel through the “forest primeval…”  Longfellow (1807 – 1882) is buried on Indian Ridge Path.

The Natural by Bernard Malamud (1952)

If you’re missing baseball, read The Natural by Bernard Malamud.  Malamud’s first novel, The Natural remains in the eyes of many to be the finest novel ever written about baseball.   Pulitzer Prize-winning author Bernard Malamud (1914 – 1986) is buried at Mount Auburn on Azalea Path.

Looking Backward 2000-1887 by Edward Bellamy (1888)

Travel backwards and forwards in time in this classic novel, Looking Backward 2000-1887 by Edward Bellamy.  In it a 19th century Bostonian wakes up in the year 2000.  Boston has changed immensely into a socialist utopia.  A brief mention of Mount Auburn on Decoration Day (the precursor to Memorial Day) is our connection to this influential book.

Two Years Before the Mast: A Sailor’s Life at Sea by Richard Henry Dana, Jr. (1840)

Richard Henry Dana, Jr. wrote this account about his experiences on a two-year sea voyage at the age of 19. Two Years Before the Mast: A Sailor’s Life at Sea is a riveting account of traveling around Cape Horn to the California coast. Although Dana Jr. (1815 – 1882) is buried in Rome, there is a memorial to him at Mount Auburn in his family’s lot on Jonquil Path.

Sea of Glory: America’s Voyage of Discovery, the U.S. Exploring Expedition 1838 – 1842 by Nathaniel Philbrick (2003)

Take a voyage with Sea of Glory: America’s Voyage of Discovery, the U. S. Exploring Expedition 1838-1842 by Nathaniel Philbrick. The U. S. Exploring Expedition is credited with the discovery Antarctica, the mapping of hundreds of Pacific islands, the Oregon and Washington coasts, and 100 miles of the Columbia River. The Expedition met with tragedy in Fiji, where members were killed during a bloody war with natives. A monument was erected at Mount Auburn on Hyacinth Path to honor those men.

The Oregon Trail: Sketches of Prairie and Rocky Mountain Life by Francis Parkman (1849)

Travel with Francis Parkman in his book The Oregon Trail: Sketches of Prairie and Rocky Mountain Life.  Valued as both literature and history, Parkman’s account of touring the West provides us with rich descriptions of the landscape and hunting buffalo with Native Americans. Parkman (1823 – 1893) is buried on Indian Ridge Path.

Escape from Lucania: An Epic Story of Survival by David Roberts (2012)

Escape from Lucania: An Epic Story of Survival by David Roberts is a gripping tale of two talented mountaineers and Harvard classmates, Bob Bates and Brad Washburn and their expedition in the Yukon Territory through unbelievable conditions and obstacles.  Escape from Lucania recounts Washburn and Bates’s determined drive toward Lucania’s 17,150-foot summit under constant threat of avalanches, blinding snowstorms, and hidden crevasses. Against awesome odds they became the first to set foot on Lucania’s peak, not realizing that their greatest challenge still lay beyond.  Bates (1911 – 2007) is interred on Amethyst Path and Washburn (1910 – 2007) on Oak Ave.

The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris by David McCullough (2011)

Take a trip to Paris in the years between 1830 and 1900 with The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris by David McCullough.  Oliver Wendell Holmes, Charles Sumner, Winslow Homer, and Margaret Fuller are just some of the Mount Auburn notable residents who appear in this book about Americans who spent time in France to achieve their creative goals. As David McCullough writes, “Not all pioneers went west.”

House on Nauset Marsh: A Cape Cod Memoir by Wyman Richardson (1947)

Take an arm-chair journey to Cape Cod through Wyman Richardson’s House on Nauset Marsh: A Cape Cod Memoir.  A classic of Cape Cod literature and a great piece of nature writing, The House on Nauset Marsh is a lyrical, poignant and often humorous work of a much-loved land and the people who called it home in a simpler time.  Wyman Richardson (1896 – 1953) was a physician, medical school professor, naturalist and is buried at Mount Auburn on Wisteria Path.

Poolside with Slim Aarons (2007)

Poolside with Slim Aarons offers images of jet-setters and the wealthy, of beautiful, glittering people living the glamorous life. Escape with this collection of stunning photographs of the rich and well-connected “doing attractive things.”  From the Caribbean to Italy and Mexico to Monaco, Poolside with Slim Aarons whisks the reader away to an exclusive club where taste, style, luxury, and grandeur prevail.  George A. “Slim” Aarons (1916-2006) is regarded as one of the most influential magazine photographers of his generation and is buried on Magnolia Ave.

Memorial Day 2020

May 4, 2020

Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, we regret to announce that we will not be accepting orders for Floral Tributes this Memorial Day.  We do apologize for the inconvenience.

If you live locally, we do welcome you to bring a tribute purchased elsewhere for placement at graves and lots between 4pm and 6pm each day.

Join the Friends of Mount Auburn

May 2, 2020
Cherry tree at Mount Auburn

Please join the Friends or 1831 Society to ensure that Mount Auburn continues to thrive.

As the current lockdown continues, our goal remains the same: to keep Mount Auburn a space of comfort, inspiration, tranquility, and beauty, ready to welcome everyone back when it is safe to do so.

With that in mind, our staff has been working carefully under new safety protocols to maintain the grounds, preserve monuments, and perform essential Cemetery duties, as well as adapt our public programming to the virtual realm. Thanks to the generous support of members and friends like you, we have been able to adapt to reduced programming income, maintain all staff salaries, and keep the Cemetery beautiful. By becoming a member or donating to a special project, you can not only show your support for Mount Auburn during this time but help ensure our sustainable future once our gates can reopen at last.

For more information, please contact Peter Schlaht, Annual Giving Manager, at Thank you for your support!

An Invitation to Help Transcribe Our History — From Home!

May 1, 2020

Mount Auburn is pleased to announce an exciting new transcription project that welcomes your participation in making our history more accessible. The Cemetery’s Historical Collections & Archives staff have preserved our most significant archival documents, but many of these are hand-written 19th-century letters and reports that are not easy to read. By transcribing these materials, researchers will be able to read and search across thousands of pages for the first time. That’s where you come in!

We are launching an innovative web platform that will bring you into direct connection with digitized documents that tell the story of Mount Auburn: the decisions and discourse among the founders, trustees, superintendents, sculptors, gardeners, and lot proprietors relating to the design and daily care of the Cemetery’s landscapes and memorials. By clicking:\mountauburncemetery from your own computer you will be able to choose from a variety of Mount Auburn documents such as superintendents’ letters and trustees’ meeting minutes. Transcribers will find a treasure trove of content including 19th-century sculpture commissions, the Sphinx, Mount Auburn’s first greenhouse and nursery, and Bigelow Chapel stained glass.

We welcome members of the Mount Auburn community as well as interested historians, archivists, and members of the public to help transcribe these records. Your collective contributions will help unlock the secrets of our history and make the completion of this large-scale project possible. Future researchers will be able to read and search these materials, deepening the understanding of Mount Auburn’s role in our country’s history.

1877 letter about finding spring bulbs
December 1877, Superintendent James Lovering wrote that the Gardener was unable to find spring bulbs.

“There’s nothing more exciting than the thrill of deciphering a letter written hundreds of years ago, discovering its contents, and then being able to share it with researchers and the public,” says Curator of Historical Collections & Archives Meg L. Winslow. Winslow thanks consultant Thom Burns, who spearheaded the project. Burns explains, “This program not only fills the immediate need to continue to make our collection available, but it brings Mount Auburn into the forefront of innovation and research. It will allow volunteers, docents, employees, and the public to directly access our most important historical materials. The best thing is that anyone with an internet connection can help transcribe and access our archival collections.”

With your help, a wealth of new content relating to these rich, historical documents will be unlocked—providing new insights into America’s first rural cemetery and the first designed landscape open to the public in North America.

Interested to learn more?

Go to and click “Sign-Up” in the top right corner.

After you have created an account you can return to our landing page,, or search Mount Auburn in “Find a Project.” Now you’re ready to start transcribing! At the bottom of each page you will find an easy-to-follow set of transcription guidelines and a place to leave comments. For more detailed directions email us at:

Lead photo: September 1854, Secretary Henry M. Parker recorded the Mount Auburn trustees vote to purchase three marble statues of “persons distinguished in American History.” The statues were commissioned by Mount Auburn for Bigelow Chapel and today are in the collection of the Harvard Museum.