New Publication: The Art of Commemoration and America’s First Rural Cemetery: Mount Auburn’s Significant Monument Collection

December 22, 2015

The Friends of Mount Auburn is delighted to announce a new publication:

The Art of Commemoration and America’s First Rural Cemetery:
Mount Auburn’s Significant Monument Collection
Written by Melissa Banta with Meg L. Winslow
Introductory essay by David B. Dearinger
Foreword by Dave Barnett, President and CEO of Mount Auburn Cemetery

Before the establishment of Boston’s public art museums, Mount Auburn Cemetery, founded in 1831, offered one of the few venues where the public could behold the work of European as well as the first generation of American sculptors and monument carvers. The first large-scale designed landscape open to the public in the country, Mount Auburn was a virtual outdoor museum—an interwoven tapestry of art and nature—featuring memorials by artists such as Thomas Crawford, Stanford White, and Edmonia Lewis.

This elegant volume explores Mount Auburn Cemetery’s monuments within the context of the development of American commemorative art in the mid-nineteenth century as Boston was becoming a center of patronage for sculpture. The meticulously researched publication includes a guide to each of the Cemetery’s thirty significant monuments, from the first life-size bronze statue cast in the United States to a delicate, vernacular carving of a child’s cradle. Among the individuals commemorated are poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, architect Charles Bulfinch, abolitionist Rev. Charles T. Torrey, religious founder Mary Baker Eddy, tailor and fugitive from slavery Peter Byus, art collector Francis Calley Gray, and Civil war hero Robert Gould Shaw.

The book is beautifully illustrated with black-and-white and color photographs by Greg Heins, Alan Ward, and Jennifer Johnston, and includes a glossary of memorial design types and symbolism.

Books can be purchased at the Cemetery Visitor Center or website.
The book is also available at Porter Square Books, Harvard Book Store & The Harvard Coop, Cambridge MA.
Price: $12.50/$10 Friends of Mount Auburn members

This project is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services Grant number: MA-30-13-0533-13



  1. Judy Comeau-Hart says:

    How might I order a copy of this book? I looked on your website and could not find a link to your gift shop.


  2. Pingback: A Brooklyn Cemetery Is a Resting Place Rich in History – New York Times – Darwin Survival

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