Sleepy Hollow Cemetery

8.?.06 ~ Concord, Massachusetts
8.?.06 ~ Concord, Massachusetts

The one in Concord, Massachusetts. Not the “original” one in Sleepy Hollow, New York. In August 2006 my daughter Larisa and I visited the one in Concord, which, as far as I know, does not have its own website.

Julie left a beautiful poem – written by Louisa May Alcott about doves – in the comments on yesterday’s blog. The poetry made me recall the visit with my daughter to Orchard House, also in Concord, where the author and poet lived. We weren’t allowed to take pictures at Orchard House, but we got quite a few when we went to locate Louisa’s grave along the Author’s Ridge path in Concord’s Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. Thoreau, Hawthorne, and Emerson lie buried there as well.

8.?.06 ~ Concord, Massachusetts
Author’s Ridge ~ 8.?.06 ~ Concord, Massachusetts

The unpretentious gravestones reflect the ideas of these Concord neighbors, writers who were prominent transcendentalists, naturalists, pacifists, philosophers, abolitionists and teachers. Louisa’s father, Amos Bronson Alcott, founded of the Concord School of Philosophy, and a building was constructed behind Orchard House to serve as a place for the public to attend the summer lectures offered about transcendentalism. Louisa’s parents rest on Author’s Ridge as well.

8.?.06 ~ Concord, Massachusetts
Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888) ~ 8.?.06 ~ Concord, Massachusetts

Larisa and I were so touched by the little stones people left in tribute. People from all over the world come here to pay their respects to the dearly loved writer. We were curious what people might have said in the notes they left, but chose to respect their privacy.

My father taught in the wise way which unfolds what lies in the child’s nature, as a flower blooms, rather than crammed it, like a Strasbourg goose, with more than it could digest.
~ Louisa May Alcott

Alcott family marker ~ 8.?.06 ~ Concord, Massachusetts

All the beauty and advantages of Conversation is in its bold contrasts, and swift surprises… Prose and logic are out of place, where all is flowing, magical, and free.
~ Amos Bronson Alcott (1799-1888)

Wherever I turn I see the yoke on woman in some form or other. On some it sits easy, for they are but beasts of burden. On others, pride hushes them to silence; no complaint is made, for they scorn pity or sympathy. On some it galls and chafes; they feel assured by every instinct of their nature that they were designed for a higher, nobler calling than to drag life’s lengthening chain along.
~ Abigail May Alcott (1800-1877)

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) ~ 8.?.06 ~ Concord, Massachusetts

Direct your eye right inward, and you’ll find
A thousand regions in your mind
Yet undiscovered.
Travel them and be
Expert in home-cosmography.
~ Henry David Thoreau

8.?.06 ~ Concord, Massachusetts
Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864) ~ 8.?.06 ~ Concord, Massachusetts

It is to the credit of human nature that, except where its selfishness is brought into play, it loves more readily than it hates.
~ Nathaniel Hawthorne

8.?.06 ~ Concord, Massachusetts
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) ~ 8.?.06 ~ Concord, Massachusetts

Respect the child. Wait and see the new product of Nature. Nature loves analogies, but not repetitions. Respect the child. Be not too much his parent. Trespass not on his solitude.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Another grave I’d like to visit one day is that of Emily Dickinson, which I think is located in Amherst, Massachusetts. A day trip sometime… Maybe with Larisa??

In this quiet valley, as in the palm of Nature’s hand, we shall sleep well, when we have finished our day.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

8.?.06 ~ Concord, Massachusetts
Barbara ~ 8.?.06 ~ Concord, Massachusetts

10 thoughts on “Sleepy Hollow Cemetery”

    1. Thanks for stopping by! As a genealogist I’m drawn to cemeteries, and as fan of these authors, this cemetery in particular. Graveyards tell us a lot about the community they’re found in…

  1. Beautiful pictures. But I just wanted to tell you that the quotation you attribute to Emerson (and which has also been attributed to Thoreau on the Internet) is really by Henry Stanley Haskins (1875-1957) from his anonymously published Meditations in Wall Street (New York: William Morrow & Co., 1940) p. 131.

    1. Thank you, Jeff! I stand corrected and appreciate you taking the time to point out my error. I’m usually more careful about the quotes I collect, often using Google Book Search to check and make sure they’re attributed accurately. I will edit my post shortly.

      I have a feeling it’s not just the Internet that perpetuates mistakes, though. We visited Concord four years ago so I no longer have the pamphlets on hand, but I’m pretty sure I found that quote attributed to Emerson in the reading material I brought home with me.

      For anyone curious about the quote in question, it is: “What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters to what lies within us.”

  2. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it in printed form. I work at the Thoreau Institute at Walden Woods and we see errors get perpetuated on the Internet, then get quoted by journalists, and eventually printed in books, and then quoted in pamphlets or other pieces, and before you know it, there is no fixing it. Next time you’re in Concord, please stop by.

    1. I found the fantastic Walden Woods Project website last night and enjoyed exploring all the pages. The “The Henry D. Thoreau Mis-Quotation Page” in the Library was of particular interest to me. 🙂 Definitely will stop by someday when I get a chance. You are doing a wonderful job making accurate knowledge about Thoreau available in an attractive and very easy to navigate format. Thank you!

  3. Barbara, were we visiting cemeteries together on the same day? If not, we posted on the same day… Would love to have stopped by this cemetery, that’s for sure.

    1. Just got back from your post, Kathy, and I’m still mopping up the tears.

      Larisa and I went to Concord four years ago, and it was so moving seeing the little tiny stones, pine cones and notes left on the simple gravestones that I cried there, too.

      Like you, I visit my grandparents and mother in the cemetery on Cape Cod every time I’m up there. Maybe I’ll write a blog about that one of these days. Your blog was a touching memorial to your dear ones, and I thank you for letting us get to know how special and wonderful they are.

  4. Barbara, thank you (and Mr. Cramer) for the education. I really enjoyed this blog. I also would have wondered what people wrote in their notes left behind. Did you and your daughter leave notes as well? In the spirit of leaving Louisa a note I thought about it and here’s mine. It may not be left at her grave site with a small stone placed on top but I actually cant think of a better place to leave my note than your blog Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.


    In gratitude for expressions
    put in play.
    Shaped by a loving hand and a brilliant mind.
    In a way only Louisa could paint,
    then say.
    On parchment leather bound,
    so kind.
    With dreamy thoughts that take,
    my day.
    I honor the inheritance you left

    1. Oh what a lovely poem, Julie! You’re a poet!!! A good one, too!! I’m honored to have your poem left here. (If I ever go back there I will print it out and bring it with me to leave on Louisa’s grave.) Thank you!

      Louisa really did have a gift for making the simple things in life so magical. Her stories gave us, and millions of others I learned that day, many hours of pleasure. We didn’t come prepared to leave notes – it was kind of a spontaneous side trip after we toured her house. It was a more meaningful experience than we ever could have anticipated. If we ever go again I’m sure we will bring a token of our love and appreciation.

      To me, what I saw that day impressed on me the importance of the written word. How we can leave our thoughts behind us when we leave this world, and how others can come to know us and learn things from us, even long after we’re gone.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

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