Mount Auburn is full of elaborate monuments, so it's hard for any individual monument to stand out. Regular old angels and marble lace won't cut it.
What will draw attention? A 25-foot edifice embellished with a man-sized urn, giant mastiff, and marble relief panels depicting mail delivery.
This is the grave of William F. Harnden, founder of one of America's first private express companies. In 1839, when Harnden sent his first package, the United States was expanding tremendously, both geographically and economically. Many historians have pointed toward twin revolutions in transportation and communications to explain this growth. Harnden brought both together in his express company — he shipped packages via railroad and steamship. He died in 1845 at age 31.
In order to commemorate Harnden's important work, his family depicted elements of his business on his memorial.
The other relief is a bit more difficult to decipher, but no less interesting:
Is this image meant to show the interior of a house? Of a store? Is our female customer struggling to drag her offspring to the local post office to retrieve her package? Or is the man in the background her husband, waiting wistfully for someone to come and carry his packages away? Is the woman Harnden's wife, harassed by daily cares while he daydreams about deliveries? I don't know, but I'd appreciate any insight you might have. It's worth noting that the woman is still the focus of the image.
In addition to these panels, the monument has several other striking features.
11th Pennsylvania's mascot, Sallie, and demanded to visit her statue on every visit.
Brighid and Sallie:
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