Baxendale Legacy and Amrita Certified Pure® Coffee

Mrs. Baxendale Amrita Certified Pure® Coffee was formed to protect and preserve Amrita Island and other areas, as stated in Esther M. Baxendale’s will. The Baxendale Trust established a foundation devoted to furthering humane treatment of animals and fostering the education of people to appreciate the importance of animals throughout the world.

Mrs. Baxendale’s will stipulated that the property be left to Harvard University. Harvard University was to preserve the island and adjacent mainland as a permanent Baxendale memorial and establish a free summer school for the promotion of education in child and animal protection. Harvard University transferred the trust to the Animal Rescue League of Boston in 1934 as the provisions of the will did not align with the school’s curriculm.

Under the terms of the will, the Animal League of Boston established a free summer school on Amrita to train teachers in humane work. The league used Island Haven for conferences and constructed buildings on the mainland for educational purposes. Animal lovers and advocates came to Amrita from all over the United States. A free summer school for children was also established.

Over time, the island’s properties became too expensive to maintain so the property was divided up and sold. The league continued to operate the school for children on the mainland where they learned about animal care, dog obedience, pet shows, nature study and wood-working. The school was closed in 2007.

Friends of the Baxendales 1

Friends of the Baxendales 2

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Sadly the Baxendales’ one great desire was not to be fulfilled. Inscribed inside one of the bridge towers is “A Message to Our Successors,” written by Mrs. Baxendale. Quoting from the document; “We admonish all who may come after us to have respect and love the ‘Island Home’ which we have loved, and above all to deal tenderly with the dumb and helpless creatures who may seek refuge here.”

With the closing of the school, little remains of the Baxendales’ Legacy. Public access to the “Sunset Terrace” mausoleum is now closed. A portion of Lawrence Island was sold to the Bourne Conservation Trust in 1985. The Bourne Conservation Trust has preserved the land and built nature trails.

Today Amrita Certified Pure® Coffee is working towards preserving the Baxendales’ intent of animal education and protecting the area’s environmental resources.

While we can’t take back the seven magnificent cottages, bathing pavilions, carriage house and endowment dollars spent or the closing of the popular summer camp, we can strive to preserve the remaining 20 plus acres of land and ensure access to the “sunset terrace” mausoleum in a manner that is aligned with the Baxendales’ wishes.

To read more about Amrita Island, Lawrence Island, the surrounding properties and the Baxendales visit our Press page.