Everglades Biographies

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

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 Snowy-Heron.

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.
Many women 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 sale?
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

Photograph of Mary Barr Munroe standing by a lime tree, ca. 1890.

Photo courtesy of History Miami (formerly Historical Museum of Southern Florida), Ralph Munroe Collection.



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