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New Haven, Connecticut

Grave of Arthur Twining Hadley

A Yale University president wears full samurai garb in one of America’s oldest cemeteries. 

A prominent economist and Yale’s 13th president, Arthur Twining Hadley was buried in samurai costume after his death in 1930.

A New Haven local, Hadley attended Yale University and was a member of the 1876 delegation of Skull and Bones. He later taught economics at the school, worked as a railroad expert for President Taft, and served as Yale’s president from 1899 to 1921.

In 1930, Hadley died of pneumonia while visiting Japan, and his body was shipped back to New Haven. When the coffin was opened to verify Hadley’s identity, inspectors found that he had been given a long gold robe, breastplate, helmet, and samurai sword. He was then buried at Grove Street Cemetery, which is located on Yale’s campus.

Operating since 1796, Grove Street is the resting place for many historic figures, including founding father Roger Sherman, cotton gin inventor Eli Whitney, and rubber inventor Charles Goodyear. Hadley is the cemetery’s only resident buried as a samurai.

Grove Street Cemetery also features an Egyptian Revival entrance inscribed with a quotation from Corinthians— “The Dead Shall Be Raised.” President Hadley once joked, “they certainly will be, if Yale University wants this land.” Since his death, the cemetery has not moved. But if Yale tries anything, Hadley will be ready to put up a fight, samurai sword in hand. 

Know Before You Go

Go through the Grove Street entrance, take a left, and then take a right onto Locust Avenue. The grave is just beyond the intersection with Myrtle Path, under a tree.

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