November 22, 2018 | ° F

COMMENTARY: Support New Brunswick's Elmwood Cemetery Association


The past four years at Rutgers University have been enormously influential and have given me the opportunity to dedicate my time to an area of study that I am very passionate about. The Department of American Studies has provided me with invaluable mentors who taught me to pursue the things in life that I truly love. Many of the classes I have taken during my academic career allowed me to explore the possibility of seeking a career involving historic preservation. I have always been an eager student of history, and I want my future to consist of exploring and preserving sites, objects and information of great value to this country's history.

I have also had the great opportunity to become an intern with the Elmwood Cemetery Association in New Brunswick, and have been working with Elmwood for the past year. During my time as an intern I have worked as both a researcher and a tour guide, sharing the rich history of the area and the stories of the lives of those buried in the cemetery. My job includes researching notable figures and writing tour scripts that are both entertaining and educational, as well as presenting the tours to people of all ages. A little less than a year ago I began working with another intern from Rutgers in order to write a Rutgers history tour to celebrate our 250-year anniversary. Elmwood Cemetery is the burial place of a number of influential men and women who are affiliated and connected to Rutgers University, including notable members such as Dr. Anna Spiesman Starr, David Murray, George Hammell Cook, William Henry Campbell and Theodore Sanford Doolittle, among others.

One of the main reasons I wanted to work at Elmwood was to help keep the stories and contributions of the men and women buried here accessible and relevant for the New Brunswick community. Many members of the community do not even know that the cemetery exists, even though Elmwood has been located at the end of Commercial Avenue since 1868. The Rutgers 250 historical walking tour allows visitors to walk through the beautiful, park-like grounds of Elmwood, visit the grave sites and hear the stories and contributions made throughout the lifetime of each of the figures buried there.

Those who work in the fields of history and historic preservation are some of the most important contributors to our society. Without the hard work and dedication of these people, we would lose our most treasured past. At each of the stops on our tour we dedicate a moment of remembrance to important aspects of Rutgers history, including the first Daily Targum issue of 1869, the first college football game where Rutgers defeated Princeton University (GO RU!), the establishment of the Alumni Association, the beginnings of the Rutgers University Glee Club and so many more. By remembering these important contributions to the school, our visitors become part of Rutgers history and are then able to share what they have learned so that the information takes on new life and importance.

We have scheduled this tour for 10 a.m. on May 13. We would love to have your support in visiting our cemetery on that date and accompanying us on this tour, as well as circulating this information to others who might be interested in attending the tours as well.

Anna Mortillaro is a School of Arts and Sciences senior majoring in American studies.


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Anna Mortillaro

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