Cemetery of Architects • Monuments
and Their Makers • Public
Figures and Private Eyes • Baseball
and Boxing Greats • Merchants
and Inventors • Who
the Dickens is That?
in the Dickens is that?
You might recognize
some of these names, or you might not. But while each is vastly different from
the next, they all add to Chicago’s fascinating history – and they
each have Graceland Cemetery to keep their stories alive.
Dickens, 1827 – 1866, could have been a character in his much
more famous brother’s writings. The younger brother of Charles Dickens,
Augustus was well educated, but fated for as much obscurity as his brother was
for fame. The facts of his life suggest that he emigrated to America to escape
a wife, and, in fact, brought with him a different woman. He appeared in plays
based on his brother’s writings, entertained Chicago’s leading citizens,
failed in business, and until recently, his Graceland plot was unmarked. Dickensian,
1799 – 1881, was one of the early settlers of Chicago, when the population
numbered a mere 200. He ran a store, made money in real estate, built a hotel,
became active in civic affairs, and died wealthy. Above him is a typical Victorian
monument, a vine-covered woman holding a cross. On either side of him are his
first and second wives.
1753 –1828, was the first permanent white settler of Chicago. The oldest
gravestone in the cemetery, it marks the fourth and final resting place for
a man who moved around in life, as well. A native of Quebec, he came here in
1804, settled in the homestead that Jean Baptiste du Sable had built, but was
forced to leave for Michigan by the War of 1812. Originally interred in Fort
Dearborn, he was moved to Chicago’s north side burial grounds, then to
the lakefront cemetery, where the Lincoln Park project forced him to move one
last time. Resting in peace, finally.
Rockefeller McCormick, 1872 – 1932, was a woman of great wealth
– until the Depression. The daughter of John D. Rockefeller and daughter-in-law
of Cyrus McCormick, Edith died virtually penniless, a result of the crash, lavish
spending and unsound real estate investments.
Brown Clark, 1801 – 1849, was another early settler of Chicago,
and another example of someone who had a fortune and lost it. He came here in
1835, sought and found his fortune as a partner in a hardware firm and director
of the Illinois State Bank. But his businesses failed in the Panic of 1837,
and from then until his death of cholera, he supported his wife and six children
by hunting and farming.
Mary Hastings Bradley, 1882 – 1976, was a prolific author of mysteries, travel books, short fiction and novels most notably the Old Chicago series of historical novels. Frequently asked to lecture on her travels, she was inducted into the Society of Women Geographers, whose membership included, Amelia Earhart, Margaret Mead, and Eleanor Roosevelt. Mary was also one of the few female presidents of the Society of Midland Authors as well as an active clubwoman in Chicago.
While traveling in Egypt Mary was inspired to write “The Palace of Darkened Windows” and “The Fortieth Door” detailing the life of the veiled and secluded women of Egypt. Both of these stories were later made into films.
In 1921 and 1922 Mary, her husband Herbert and daughter Alice traveled to Africa and the Belgian Congo with Carl E. Akley of the American Museum of Natural History, for specimens of the mountain gorilla for display in the museum. These expeditions were depicted in her books, “On the Gorilla Trail”, “Alice in Jungleland” and “Alice in Elephantland”. As a war correspondent for Colliers Magazine in 1945 Mary took on the difficult task of reporting on women in the military in Italy, France, and Germany. At the close of the war she recounted her tour of concentration camps in a magazine feature series on the Holocaust.