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
Excerpt from Two Plume-bearing
Birds, by Mary B. Munroe, published in The Tropic
Magazine, Miami (Fla.), 1915..
"'Oh, the bird died a long
time ago!' That is the Florida Egret's obituary or what every woman says
when spoken to about wearing the plumes of the Egret and
It seems incredible that
to-day there should be in the United States any person able to read who is
not aware of the fact that the 'aigrette' is the nuptial plume worn by the
egret and snowy heron at the nesting time of the year, by both parents,
and that to procure them it is necessary to shoot the birds, which means
that the young are left to slowly die of starvation.
in Florida defend themselves by telling how they bought the plumes from
the 'poor Indians.' Would these same women give the Indians the exact
amount of money in sweet charity? And do they realize that if they would
stop buying and wearing the plumes the Indian would not have them for
But it is
not the Indian's sin: it is the women who demand the plumes, so that white
men have hunted the birds in such numbers that after a few more years of
such reckless slaughter during the breeding season the egret and snowy
heron will be classed among the extinct birds of the country."
Photograph of Mary Barr Munroe standing by a lime tree, ca.
Photo courtesy of
History Miami (formerly Historical Museum of Southern Florida), Ralph Munroe Collection.