48. Mary and Alfred Munroe, ca. 1895. From a mounted albumen print, presented by Mrs. Egbert S. Newbury, Jr., 1984.
Mary and Alfred Munroe were two of the nine children of Concord cabinetmaker and pencilmaker William Munroe (or Monroe) and his wife Martha (Patty) Stone Munroe. (William Munroe, founding benefactor of the Concord Free Public Library, was their oldest sibling.) From 1811 to 1821, the Munroes lived in the White Cottage on the Church Green. In 1821, they moved to the house on Barrett's Mill Road that had earlier belonged to Patty Munroe's father (now 222), and in 1844 to a home on the corner of Main Street and Academy Lane (the present 185 Main).
Alfred Munroe—sixth child and fourth son of the elder William—was born in 1817. He entered the dry goods business in Boston when he was sixteen and subsequently earned his living in various commercial enterprises in Boston, London, New Orleans, and New York. He returned permanently to Concord (to the Main Street house where his sisters Eliza and Mary lived) in 1877. Observant, aesthetic, and devoted to his native town, Alfred Munroe photographed Concord and its inhabitants during the final twenty-five years of his life. He was a member of Concord's Library Committee and Cemetery Committee, of the Concord Antiquarian Society, and of the Social Circle. The author of Concord Out of Door Sketches (1903), a world traveler as well as a devoted son of Concord, Munroe died here in July of 1904, the result of a carriage accident.
Mary, the Munroes' seventh child and third daughter, was born in 1819. She was a charter member of the Old Concord Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, an active member of and Sunday school teacher at the Trinitarian Congregational Church, and a member of the Women's Christian Temperance Union. She died in 1909 at the age of ninety.
This photograph of Mary and Alfred Munroe in their Main Street garden highlights the good fortune that these two old Concordians enjoyed. They were blessed with mental acuity, relatively good health, leisure, and the wherewithal to indulge their interests and their taste for beauty. At over seventy-five years of age, Mary Munroe wears the exaggerated leg-of-mutton sleeve at the height of fashion in 1895.