Monthly Archives: December 2016

Chinese burials in Boston

Memorial Altar at Mount Hope Cemetery. Photo by Aaron Knox,

This year I was sorry to miss a festival my family has participated in annually since my childhood. During the fall, two Chinese festivals commemorate ancestors: the Ghost or Hungry Ghost Festival and the Double Ninth Festival. The Ghost Festival occurs on the fifteenth night of the seventh month in the Chinese lunar calendar (typically held sometime between mid-August and mid-September), and the ghosts of ancestors are said to be visiting their living descendants, who offer meals and material items for their enjoyment. The Double Ninth Festival that my family observes occurs on the ninth day of the ninth month (some time during the month of October), and we honor our ancestors at the cemetery. Continue reading Chinese burials in Boston

‘In this busy world’

[Author’s note: This series, on Mrs. Gray’s reading habits, began here.]

PP231.236 Regina Shober Gray. Not dated.
Regina Shober Gray by [Edward L.] Allen, ca. 1860. Courtesy of the Maryland Historical Society, Item PP231.236
Regina Shober Gray[1] turned forty-five at the end of 1863; her children were growing up. At the same time, her younger sister Sue – unmarried and a ruthless flirt – worried Mrs. Gray, while changes wrought by the Civil War gave her some hope for the future:

61 Bowdoin Street, Boston, Sunday, 6 September 1863: Yesterday was Frank [Gray]’s[2] 17th birthday – how time flies. He is back at Harvard looking to a year of hard study. His chum, Abthorpe,[3] has not appeared yet, nor has he written to F., who hears from some that A. will not go on at Harvard another year; meanwhile Frank cannot settle in his new quarters till he does hear from Abthorpe – the poison-cold,[4] which has troubled F.C.G. for many years, 5 or 6, at this season, is far lighter in its attack now than ever before, and we hope it may be wearing out of his system.

Sunday, 13 September 1863: … Frank hears to-day that Abthorp is not coming back to Harvard – so he has lost his chum. We dined at Sallie Gray[5] on Tuesday and had a pleasant day. And on Monday p.m. took tea with Hepsa B[radlee][6] at Medford. Continue reading ‘In this busy world’