Mt. Auburn Cem

Jun 1

A Stately Walk through a Victorian Necropolis

The first garden cemetery founded in the United States, Mt. Auburn Cemetery is typical of a nineteenth century trend that started in France. As cities grew as a result of bureaucratic centralization and industry, the traditional churchyard burial plots were unable to keep up, despite the longstanding practice of digging bones up after twenty years, to use the ground for fresh corpses. But beyond practicality, the garden cemeteries catered to the sensibilities of the era: Romanticism’s high valuation of both human emotion and natural beauty found expression in these places where the dead might rest for centuries while the living strolled along paths laid out to provide a vista for somber thoughts. In Paris the Père Lachaise Cemetery opened in 1804 and Montmartre Cemetery in 1825; in London an 1838 act of Parliament established seven cemeteries on the outskirts of London. Cambridge’s Mount Auburn was dedicated in 1831, and is a superb instance of the form, a rolling landscape with ornamental plantings and filled with tasteful monuments.

Busses depart from Miles Standish Hall at 2:00 on Tuesday, Jun 1. Return bus leaves at 4:00, with an expected arrival BU at 4:30

Remote: Via Prof Rhodes’ Zoom at 2:30 on Tuesday, Jun 1

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