The Lively Place

April 5, 2016

We are excited to announce the publication of

Mount Auburn, America’s First Garden Cemetery,
and Its Revolutionary and Literary Residents

by Stephen Kendrick

Lively Place

Illustrations by Matthew Longo
Cover images by Richard Cheek
Beacon Press, April 2016

When Mount Auburn Cemetery was founded, in 1831, it revolutionized the way Americans mourned the dead by offering a peaceful space for contemplation. This cemetery, located not far from Harvard University, was also a place that reflected and instilled an imperative to preserve and protect nature in a rapidly industrializing culture–lessons that would influence the creation of Central Park, the cemetery at Gettysburg, and the National Parks system. Even today this urban wildlife habitat and nationally recognized hotspot for migratory songbirds continues to connect visitors with nature and serves as a model for sustainable landscape practices. Beyond Mount Auburn’s prescient focus on conservation, it also reflects the impact of Transcendentalism and the progressive spirit in American life seen in advances in science, art, and religion and in social reform movements. In The Lively Place, Stephen Kendrick celebrates this vital piece of our nation’s history, as he tells the story of Mount Auburn’s founding, its legacy, and the many influential Americans interred there, from religious leaders to abolitionists, poets, and reformers.

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Stephen KendrickStephen Kendrick is senior minister at the First Church in Boston, Unitarian Universalist. He is the author or coauthor of Holy Clues: The Gospel According to Sherlock Holmes, Sarah’s Long Walk: The Free Blacks of Boston and How Their Struggle for Equality Changed America, Douglass and Lincoln, and the novel Night Watch.


Reading Stephen Kendrick’s The Lively Place is like having a seance with the great minds of New England’s past. From Henry Wadsworth Longfellow to Buckminster Fuller and Bernard Malamud, Harriet Jacobs and Julia Ward Howe to Mary Baker Eddy, they’re here as conversing, vibrant presences in Kendrick’s telling. Even if not buried in the nation’s oldest garden cemetery, eminences like Emerson and Thoreau pass through, or like Margaret Fuller, find representation in monuments. The Lively Place is both education and inspiration, like Mount Auburn Cemetery itself.

Megan Marshall, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Margaret Fuller: A New American Life

Purchase A Copy

Copies of The Lively Place are now available for purchase at the Mount Auburn Cemetery Visitors Center and through our online store.

Listen To Stephen Kendrick talk about The Lively Place

Click below to view the recording of The Lively Place book launch, held in Story Chapel at Mount Auburn Cemetery on April 7, 2016.

Upcoming Speaking Events with Author Stephen Kendrick

Monday, June 6, 5:30 reception, 6 PM talkMassachusetts Historical Society.  The fee for this program is $20 and no charge for MHS fellows and members.  Books will be available for purchase.  Registration is required.  Please call 617-646-0578 or register online.  This event takes place at Massachusetts Historical Society, 1154 Boylston Street, Boston MA 02215.

Past Events

Thursday, April 7, 5:30 PM reception, 6 PM talk – Mount Auburn Cemetery, Story Chapel.

Tuesday, April 12, 7 PM – Watertown Free Public Library
Co-sponsored by the Watertown Free Public Library and the Historical Society of Watertown.

Tuesday, April 26, Noon – State Library of Massachusetts.  The talk is free and open to the public, and copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing at the event. Please register online.  This event takes place at the State Library of Massachusetts, State House, Room 341, 24 Beacon St. Boston, MA 02133

Thursday, April 28, 10:30 AM – Tour of Mount Auburn with Titcomb’s Bookshop. Reservations are $20 and include a copy of the book. For questions or to make a reservation call the bookshop at 508-888-2331.  This event takes place at Mount Auburn Cemetery.


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