Mount Auburn Cemetery and its importance to the history of anesthesia

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Anesthesiology



Document Type


Medical Subject Headings

Anesthesia; Anesthesiology; Cemeteries; History, 19th Century; Massachusetts


Anesthesiology | History of Science, Technology, and Medicine


Boston, Massachusetts, is home to many sites related to the first public demonstration of ether, including the Ether Dome, the Ether Monument, and several homes in which William T. G. Morton lived. Notably, many of the participants in Morton’s successful demonstration of ether are buried in nearby Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Here we explore how changing burial customs in early 19th-century America brought so many of these individuals to rest in one location. We explain how Mount Auburn Cemetery was established, the difficulties it faced, how it evolved, and the role it plays today. Moreover, we describe some of its remarkable features and explore some unusual structures located within this institution so very closely associated with the history of anesthesia.

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Citation: Bull Anesth Hist. 2012 Oct;30(2):25-9, 32. Link to article on publisher's site

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