RIP Mary Rhinelander McCarl #GloucesterMA

Condolences to Mary’s family and friends.

Mary Rhinelander McCarl Obituary


Mary Frederica Rhinelander McCarl died of heart failure on Monday, June 7, in Gloucester, Mass., at age 81. Born on May 3, 1940, in Abington, Pa., to Constance Templeton Rhinelander and Frederic William Rhinelander, M.D., she came of age in Boston. A proud graduate of the Winsor School for girls in 1957, she finished her bachelor’s degree in history magna cum laude at Radcliffe College in 1961. Over the next three decades, she earned three master’s degrees, in history (Harvard), library sciences (Simmons College), and archival sciences (UMass/Boston). She also completed the coursework for two history doctorates: the first in medieval studies in the 1960s at Harvard, and the second in the 1980s and 1990s in the History of the Book program at Boston University.

She was a gifted cook and artist specializing in watercolors, acrylics, fiber art, and collage. She was also a published scholar. In her 1997 book The Plowman’s Tale, she proved that published versions of Geoffrey Chaucer’s fourteenth-century Canterbury Tales contained a forgery written by radical Protestants centuries later during England’s religious wars. Her articles on colonial New England include histories of Salem’s witchcraft crisis (1692) and medical knowledge. Her historical activism includes her leadership in funding restoration of Gloucester’s 1876 city hall building. In 2015, she won a Citizenship Award from the Gloucester Unitarian Universalist Church.

Her first marriage, to John S. C. (Jack) Morgan, ended in divorce. Preceding her in death are her parents; her brother, John B. Rhinelander; and her stepdaughter, Kathy Maisel. She is survived by her husband of 34 years, Henry Newton McCarl; her daughter, Francesca Morgan (Charles Steinwedel) of Evanston, Ill.; two stepchildren, Patricia McCarl (Sussi Shavers) of Atlanta and Fred McCarl (April) of Oneonta, Ala.; two brothers, Frederic W. T. Rhinelander (Patricia) and David H. Rhinelander (Ann W.), and sister-in-law Jeanne C. Rhinelander, all of Gloucester; ten grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews including Edward L. Widmer.

Her family will announce a memorial service in Gloucester at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to the Constance T. Rhinelander Performance Fund, Sawyer Free Library, 2 Dale Avenue, Gloucester, MA, 01930, 978-325-5500. Please specify the Rhinelander Performance Fund on all checks. Arrangements by the Campbell Funeral Home, 61 Middle Street, Gloucester.

4 thoughts on “RIP Mary Rhinelander McCarl #GloucesterMA

  1. This is about Mary McCarl’s obituary from June. I’m just making sure that Mary’s friends and fans in Gloucester know about her upcoming memorial service: Saturday, September 18, 11 am, St. John’s Episcopal Church, 48 Middle St, Gloucester. Henry and I look forward to greeting you.

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    1. Good morning, Gloucester, here’s to you. I’m reconfirming Mary’s memorial service this coming Saturday 9/18, 11 am at St. John’s.

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