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Campus News

Obituary: Barbara Rotundo

(March 4, 2005)

Barbara Bristol Rotundo, 83, a former associate professor of English at UAlbany and a pioneering educator and scholar, died Dec. 24 in Laconia, N.H.

A 1942 graduate of Mt. Holyoke College, she was the wife of Joseph Rotundo, a professor of economics and government at Union College. Widowed in 1953 with three children, she worked as the first peacetime female professor at Union College. After earning a master's degree in English at Cornell University and a Ph.D. in American Literature from Syracuse University, she served as associate professor of English at the University at Albany. She founded one of the first university writing workshops in the country and wrote a grammar text at UAlbany. Rotundo was widely respected for her work on 19th century Boston and on the historical study of cemeteries and gravestones. Her manuscripts and essays include a celebration of Boston's golden age in American Heritage, an official history of Mt. Auburn Cemetery, and articles about the origins of the rural cemetery movement in America, Shaker funeral customs, and bronze grave markers as art. A resident of Schenectady, N.Y., for 46 years, Rotundo is survived by three children, one sister, one brother, and several grandchildren. Services will be at Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Mass., on April 9 and at later dates in Schenectady, N.Y., and Gilmanton Iron Works, N.H.