Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Post-Mortem Portraiture

I debated whether to link to this gallery of Victorian post-mortem photographs, but then recalled that I have no scruples. I think the photos reveal something about our 19th-century ancestors, though exactly what I couldn't say.

I have in a box somewhere the last photograph ever taken of my great-grandfather as he lay in his casket in 1968. My mother had thrown it away, but I rescued it from the trash because I'm a family historian and it's my job to preserve the trash of my relatives. I would never publish it online (Hey, maybe I do have scruples!), but I can't help thinking it might come in handy someday. Perhaps, someday, the story of how I rescued it could serve as an amusing anecdote to finish off a disturbing blog post.

[Hat tip: Boing Boing]

Randy Seaver

My first thought when I saw the babies and children was "how macabre is this?" Then I realized that the picture was taken so that they could remember their little one.

Deaths of babies and children happened frequently - my grandfather's older brother died at about 9 months old and it devastated the family - they spoiled my grandfather terribly.

Cheers -- Randy


I wonder what the children forced to pose with their dead siblings thought of the experience. Several of them look rather uncomfortable. I bet their parents gave them the "You'll thank us for this someday" speech.

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