|Birth: ||1852, USA|
Mary Barr Munroe, d. 1922
Mary Barr Munroe was a Miami pioneer who contributed much to the community life of Coconut Grove. In her effort to save the egrets from poachers, Mrs. Munroe founded the southern Tropical Audubon Society. As a member of the Florida Federation of Women's Clubs, she was instrumental in the establishment Royal Palm Park which later became Everglades National Park. Mrs. Munroe also started the Coconut Grove Library in 1895 and taught many children in Coconut Grove how to read. She strongly believed, and proved, that women can make a great difference.
On September 15, 1883 Mary Barr married author Kirk Munroe, and the couple took a three month cruise from St. Augustine to Lake Worth, Florida. A few years later, the Munroes cruised the great Florida reef, ending up in Biscayne Bay. They bought a property on Biscayne Bay in Coconut Grove which they name "Scrububs".
Mary Barr Munroe died in 1922. She was buried at the Woodlawn Park Cemetery on S.W. 8th Street in Miami.
Biography prepared by Gail Clement, Florida International University
Mary Barr Munroe was one of the most interesting and influential women in Miami's early days. She and her husband, Kirk Munroe, renowned author of boys books, moved from New York City to Coconut Grove in 1886 where she continued to live until her death in 1922. At that time, Coconut Grove was a mangrove swamp with one small Inn and thirteen wooden shacks made from the boards of shipwrecks.
Mary Barr Munroe was the daughter of Amelia Barr, who was a famous and prolific writer of romantic novels. Amelia Barr authored eighty-eight books and undoubtedly influenced her oldest child's development into an independent and outspoken woman. Loving Florida's exotic nature, feisty and fearless, Mary Barr Munroe was never neutral. She cared deeply about many things and once a supporter never wavered in her zeal to convince others to her point of view. She worked tirelessly to protect the environment. In 1915 she founded the first local chapter of the National Audubon Society in Coconut Grove and became its first President. In 1916 she was one of the leaders of a group of women who led the effort by the Florida Federation of Women's Clubs to create Royal Palm Park (the first effort to preserve the Everglades). Her crowning achievement was the establishment of Royal Palm Park, later renamed Everglades National Park. She sat on the bandstand when President Harry Truman dedicated Everglades National Park on Dec. 6, 1947.
Fighting for the preservation of egrets, she also worked to establish the Southern Tropical Audubon Society. One environmental movement in America began as a reaction to what was on the heads of women. In the late 19th century, hats worn by ladies of fashion teemed with the feathers, and sometimes the entire carcasses, of birds. The demand of milliners in New York and Paris created a lucrative market, and "plume hunters" eagerly supplied it. The swamps of southern Florida were their most abundant source. The breeding plumage, or "aigrettes," of snowy egrets and other wading birds at one time yielded more than their weight in gold, and gun-wielding hunters decimated one rookery after another, from St. Petersburg to the Keys.
As word of the slaughter slowly emerged, a small clutch of Americans became conscientious objectors in the war on birds. She helped lead the fight to protect plume birds and went so far as to snatch egret plumes from women's hats and lecture the startled women on what a whim of fashion was doing to the birds of the Everglades.
Kirk and Mary Barr Munroe had a warm, close marriage. She shared his enthusiasm for the outdoors and frequently accompanied him on his trips into the wilderness and around the world. Although the Munroe's never had any children of their own, they were favorites of local children. Every Sunday all the children from the Coconut Grove black community came to their house for storytelling and ice cream. Often she cared for black children while their mothers worked. Soon after the Civil War, among ongoing protests, she taught children of color how to read.
Mary Barr Munroe was a charter member of the Housekeepers Club of Coconut Grove founded 1891. She founded the Pine Needles Club for young girls in the community and along with her husband, helped them to establish Coconut Grove Library, the first public library in the Miami area, with books donated to her by Mrs. Andrew Carnegie.
The Munroe's worked diligently to better their community and they were responsible for many important civic projects throughout their lives.
She was a long time mentor to the cantankerous advocate for the Everglades, Marjory Stoneman Douglas publisher "Everglades: River of Grass" which became one of the most influential environmental books published in America.
Mary Barr Munroe also had writing talents and published many articles under her own name, although her chief occupation was as a helpmate to her husband.
The following article is taken from a handwritten manuscript found in the Library of Congress. It is part of a larger work she was probably preparing for publication. Her first hand contact with what Kirk Munroe called "The Forgotten Remnant" gives us a warm and personal view of
the Seminole culture. This manuscript, along with forty years of her diaries not only illuminates the late 19th and early 20th Centuries but also reveals the personality of an extraordinary woman - a woman ahead of her time.
Other works by Mary Barr Munroe:
The Seminole Women of Florida By Mary Barr Monroe and Two Plume-bearing Birds, by Mary B. Munroe, published in The Tropic Magazine, Miami (Fla.), 1915
Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr (1831 - 1919)
Charles Kirk Munroe (1850 - 1930)*
Woodlawn Park North Cemetery and Mausoleum
Created by: Karr
Record added: Dec 18, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 63059171
Forever loved, forever remembered, forever missed.|
Added: Dec. 18, 2010