I hope to share research, information, tips, and a little of my family history with others following the path to greater genealogical awareness. Let the search for enlightenment continue...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: Jacob Riis, Riverside Cemetery, Barre, MA


(Original Image and Text, Copyright (c) 2010 Cynthia Shenette) Last spring I read The Other Half: the Life of Jacob Riis and the World of Immigrant America. It was an interesting biography of Jacob Riis--journalist, photographer, and author of How the Other Half Lives: Studies Among the Tenements of New York. I was surprised to read that he had a farm in Barre, MA in the later years of his life. I was also surprised to learn Jacob Riis died in Barre on May 26, 1914 and is buried in the Riverside Cemetery. I forgot about this until started researching the Naramore family for my series of posts COG 97: Researching the "The Coldbrook Tragedy" (Part 1 of 4). Last week when I was out at the Riverside Cemetery searching for the Naramore memorial for my post, Tombstone Tuesday: The Naramore Children, Riverside Cemetery, I located the Riis marker. The marker is a simple field stone without any kind of inscription. I found it interesting that a man who spent so much time documenting the miseries of tenement life in turn-of-the-century New York, was laid to rest in a place so quiet, rural, and timeless.

See Also:

New York Times obituary for Jacob Riis.

6 comments:

Nolichucky Roots said...

Fascinating, Cynthia. And moving to consider that a man who documented so many anonymous lives chose anonymity himself. Thanks for sharing this.

Cynthia Shenette said...

Great point. I thought so too given memorial markers of the day were often large and ornate, particularly for the famous and well-to-do. I don't know if I would have even found the marker by myself. Another researcher who was familiar with the area told me where it was located.

Thanks for your comment!

Carol said...

Fascinating!

glamberson said...

Lovely, as usual.

Cynthia Shenette said...

Carol and Greg, thank you both so much for your comments!

STEELE66 said...

I live near Barre and went to the farm of Jacob Riis today. It is now owned by the state of Massachusetts and is conservation land. The farm has been out of commission since the early 60's (his wife still lived there at this time), but now the farm is a huge overgrown field, but beautiful and eerie at the same time, with great views. You can tell it's a haven for deer, plenty of flattened vegetation in random spots. There is a blue cross on a tree with Jacob Riis name on it and his year of death, and there are the foundations of two buildings.. Pretty sure very few people go up there anymore, it's in a very remote area. I walked all around this morning...not another person in sight.