Atlas Obscura

A Cemetery Plot Full of Famous Authors

The Thoreau family gravesite in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.

Photo: Bikeable/Wikimedia Commons/Creative Commons

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Nestled within the lovely expanse of Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord, Massachusetts, is a little plot that is full of the graves of a staggering number of famous authors.

Author’s Ridge is a scenic little corner of the large cemetery and is the final resting place of a laundry list of legendary authors and transcendentalists who once lived in the city of Concord. During the 19th century, Concord became a hot bed of forward-thinking transcendentalists who were eager to usher in a new age in American history. Many of the followers of the social movement would go on to pen some of the most indelible works of literature in the American canon. From Henry David Thoreau’s natural reflections in Walden to the essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson, their progressive ideals would help shape the direction of national thought.


Then, of course, they died.

The list of names of famous authors who died while living in Concord is impressive. There are Thoreau and Emerson, but also Nathaniel Hawthorne, Louisa May Alcott and her family, and William Ellery Channing, all interred near one another.

Author’s Ridge is a popular pilgrimage site for lovers of literature. Literary explorers routinely leave pens, poems, and little notes around the graves of their favorite authors. As it turns out, the transcendentalists’ greatest achievement may have been to leave a mark on American literature that transcends even their death. 

Submitted by Atlas Obscura contributor st7n.

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