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Friends of Hope to Celebrate 150 years with "Roses and Remembrance"

Sunday, June 6, 11 am to 4 pm


Hope Cemetery will be 150 years old this spring and a celebration sponsored by the Friends of Hope Cemetery will take place Sunday, June 6 from 11 am until 4 pm. Called “Roses and Remembrance, a Celebration of Hope Cemetery,” the day will feature self-guided tours of our most historic sites and mausoleums. Local nurseries, florists, and private donors will provide spectacular arrangements and new plantings to dress up the graves and the landscape.

    In addition to the self-guided tours, several special events are planned.


Bill Wallace, Director of the Worcester Historical Museum, will conduct an annotated walking tour entitled, “An Introduction to Hope Cemetery.” A gravestone rubbing workshop for beginners will be held and volunteers from the Women’s history Project will conduct a tour with historical notes about the women buried at Hope.

    At one o’clock, City officials will cut a giant birthday cake which will be served with punch for the remainder of the afternoon. The day promises to be fun and informative for all and Hope Cemetery will be decked out for the festivities! We encourage you to bring your family and friends. The event is free and open to the public.


Almost a Member of the Family -

An Appreciation of Victorian Pets

and Their People


    An enthusiastic group of pet lovers joined the Friends of Hope Cemetery on Sunday, February 22 to hear social historian and volunteer for the Friends of Mt. Auburn Cemetery, Deirdre Morris. Ms. Morris spoke about the Victorian era and the introduction of animals into the middle-class household. She used slides of art, advertising and family portraits to illustrate the role of animals in the home as companions.

    Ms. Morris also spoke about the emerging animal humane movement, noting especially the work of Boston lawyer, George Thorndike Angell. In 1868, Angell, outraged at the newspaper report of a 40-mile horse race resulting in the death of the two horses, recruited the support of Boston’s Beacon Hill society women and established the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Children’s literature of that period, such as Black Beauty and Beautiful Joe, also began to promote kindness to animals.


Mary Johnson, Sally Talbot, and Deirdre Morris with a pet portrait.


 And advertisers began to utilize companion animals to sell anything from victrolas to laundry soap. The Victorians demonstrated their new relationships with their pets by using animal statuary in family cemetery plots. Ms. Morris illustrated this trend with examples from Boston area cemeteries.

     We are grateful to the Victorians for uplifting the lot of animals and making pets “almost a member of the family.” Ms. Morris entertained us with the history of this phenomenon and we look forward to having her visit us again. 

Letter From the President

Recently, you may have seen an article on the front page of the New York Times entitled “Histories Vanish Along with South’s Cemeteries.” The neglect and disappearance of small cemeteries is an increasing problem, not just in the South, but all over the United States.

    It is unlikely that a large urban cemetery like Hope Cemetery would disappear under a canopy of weeds and vines but last summer we noticed the early stages of neglect in an increased amount of tall grasses and unwanted saplings. In response, one person commented, “I walk through the cemetery and I hear them [the dead] crying out for help. Please don’t forget us.”

    Although Commissioner O’Brien has issued a report on how the city will restructure the workforce and improve the maintenance at Hope, we still must do our part to help get this problem solved. As Friends, we must continue our diligent volunteer efforts for restoration and beautification. We need to work with the city and offer support and counsel when necessary, and we need to expand our membership to involve more people in caring for Hope Cemetery. It is important that Hope be a fine, historic garden cemetery 150 years from today.


Ann C. Nelson


Trees are an integral part of the beauty at Hope Cemetery
Photo by Mari Seder


3rd Annual Arbor Day Celebration

Friday, April 30th at 10a.m. at Hope Cemetery


    J. Sterling Morton, a newspaper editor in Nebraska, championed the idea of a celebrated Arbor Day in 1872. Since that time, organized efforts to plant trees across the United States have been held to honor Morton’s efforts and, in 1882, schools nationwide adopted the celebration. This year the nation’s observance of Arbor Day will be celebrated on Friday, April 30th. The Friends of Hope Cemetery will once again host their own celebration with a tree planting at the cemetery.

    City officials will be invited to attend and our student friends from Worcester’s Gates Lane Elementary School will entertain us with songs and poems and will help plant the tree.

    Please join us at 10 a.m. to help us celebrate.

Click here to view The Hope Report, Winter 2003