William Brewster (1851-1919)

June 24, 2017

Born in Wakefield, Massachusetts, William Brewster was born on July 5, 1851, and went on to become a noted ornithologist.

A descendant of Massachusetts pilgrims, Brewster was educated in the Cambridge public school system and spent his childhood observing birds. He had planned to attend Harvard College, but his weak eyesight and poor health deterred him from pursuing a career in business. He instead studied ornithology and practiced taxidermy, the evidence of which can be seen at the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology.

Brewster recorded the diverse bird life in Cambridge, Concord, and greater New England, collecting local and international specimens. He helped organize the Nuttall Ornithological Club (1873) and the American Ornithologists’ Union (1883), serving as president for both groups. He later served as the first president of the Massachusetts Audubon Society following its formation in 1896.


Veterans Monument Preservation

May 8, 2017

Through a combination of words and imagery, veterans’ memorials found throughout Mount Auburn contribute to the telling of American history and the service of men and women in times of war. You can now access information about a group of nine veterans of the Civil War and World War I, and the details of their monuments at Mount Auburn, through our new mobile app.

York Lot 6228

The Friends of Mount Auburn is currently fundraising to conserve these memorials, all of which offer unique contributions to our understanding of Massachusetts and American military history. We have received a challenge grant of $7,500 from the Massachusetts Archives, and are seeking funds to match it one-to-one.

To support this project, please visit and select “Veterans Preservation” on the list of donation options. Thank you for helping us preserve these monuments to military heroes for future generations of visitors!

John Bartlett (1820-1905)

April 5, 2017

Educated in Plymouth’s public school system, John Bartlett was the grandson of Dr. James Thacher, a surgeon and historian of the Revolutionary era. He began working at the Cambridge University Book Store at the age of 16, where his love of books became evident. He was so knowledgeable about the contents of the books within the bookstore that customers seeking help were frequently referred to “ask John Bartlett” by the store’s other employees.

In 1849, Bartlett became owner of the store, and two years later married the daughter of a Harvard professor of Hebrew, Hannah Stanifield Willard, who became an influential figure on his work.

Familiar Quotations, originally published in 1855, grew out of a need to organize and record the various literary references, quotes, and passages that interested Bartlett.  Nine editions were published during Bartlett’s lifetime, and the book is currently in its 17th edition. Bartlett is buried at Mount Auburn in Lot 1108 on Ailanthus Path.

Adapted from the research of Judy Jackson and Cathy Breitkreutz, as published in Mount Auburn Cemetery’s Person of the Week: John Bartlett, 2000.

Author Talk: “Jordan Marsh: New England’s Greatest Department Store”

March 24, 2017

Join us in Story Chapel for an Author Talk by Anthony M. Sammarco on his new book, Jordan Marsh: New England’s Greatest Department Store

Founded in 1851 by Eben Dyer Jordan and Benjamin L. Marsh, Jordan Marsh who opened their first store on Milk Street in Boston selling linen, silk, calicos, ribbons and assorted dry goods to Victorian Bostonians.

Following the Civil War, the store moved to Winthrop Square and later to Washington Street between Summer and Avon Streets where in its new five story store designed by Winslow & Wetherell they unveiled the novel concept of “department shopping” under one roof. From the late 19th century on, Jordan Marsh was to offer a selection of goods that offered such things as clothing, furniture, children’s toys and a plethora of other goods that attracted shoppers six days a week. The store offered personal service, with the adage that the customer is always right, easy credit, art exhibitions, and musical performances. It soon became a treasured part of life for shoppers who went to town, especially during the holidays with The Enchanted Village of Saint Nicholas. By 1951 Jordan Marsh expanded to the suburbs with its first store at Shopper’s World in Framingham and by the 1970’s it was the largest chain in New England.

Many people mourned when Jordan Marsh was sold, and the Macy’s name went up on Jordan Marsh stores in 1995. Come hear about its fascinating history as Boston’s first department store by the author of the upcoming history of this once important department store.


Benjamin Lloyd Marsh, co-founder, and his brother Charles Marsh, a junior partner, of Jordan Marsh are buried at Mount Auburn Cemetery.



Funding for programs has been provided in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

Massachusetts Cultural Council