Mary Elizabeth Frye

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Mary Elizabeth Frye
Born Mary Elizabeth Clark
(1905-11-13)November 13, 1905
Dayton, Ohio
Died September 15, 2004(2004-09-15) (aged 98)
Baltimore, Maryland
Resting place Baltimore City, Maryland
Spouse(s) Claud Frye
(m. 1927–1964)[1]

Mary Elizabeth Frye (November 13, 1905 – September 15, 2004) was an American housewife and florist, best known as the author of the poem Do not stand at my grave and weep, written in 1932.[2]

She was born in Dayton, Ohio, and was orphaned at the age of three. She moved to Baltimore, Maryland, when she was twelve. She was an avid reader with a remarkable memory. She married Claud Frye, who ran a clothing business, while she grew and sold flowers. The poem for which she became famous was originally composed on a brown paper shopping bag, and was reportedly inspired by the story of a young Jewish girl, Margaret Schwarzkopf, who had been staying with the Frye household and had been unable to visit her dying mother in Germany because of anti-Semitic unrest.[1] Because people liked her twelve-line, untitled verse, Frye made many copies and circulated them privately. She never published or copyrighted the poem.[2]

The identity of the author of the poem was unknown until the late 1990s, when Frye revealed that she had written it. Her claim was confirmed in 1998 after research by Abigail Van Buren.[2]


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