daniell cemetery

While I was working on Woodlawn Cemetery Foundation Orders dating from the summer of 1940, I was intrigued to see a woman’s name heading a funeral director’s stationery, so I had to research her to see what I could find.

It turns out that Marion A. Daniels and her husband Orlander owned their own mortuary in the early 20th century, and were among the first black residents of Harlem.  When Orlander died in 1912, Marion took over the business and it became “Marion A. Daniels & Sons.”

The photo above came from a 2015 article in the New York Times that was written about Marion’s great-grandson, David Daniels, who is in the real estate business in NY.  By an incredible coincidence, a property he was given to sell turned out to be the site of Marion’s funeral parlor on 136th Street!

The story the NY Times did on David Daniels and his ground-breaking ancestor is linked here, and well worth the read.


The article makes mention of Madame C.J. Walker, another famous businesswoman from Harlem, who also rests in Woodlawn.

Here’s a photo I took of Mrs. Daniel’s monument in Woodlawn’s Cosmos plot: