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Monday, January 19, 2015

History of Post-Mortem

Post-Mortem Photography

This was a common practice of American and European culture in the 19th and early 20th centuries. It helped the grieving process.

Before the invention daguerreotype in 1839 they only was to have a picture of one self or family was to commission a painter to make a portrait, and this was costly.

In 19th century death commonly occurred in the home and was a part of everyday life. It became common to take post-mortem pictures especially of infants and children. It was usually the only photo they had of their loved one. They were keepsakes of their dearly beloved. In the Victorian Era the mortality rate among infant and children was was extremely high.

Later when Cartede Visite was invented you could have multiple pictures from a negative. 

In the beginning they would take close up pictures of their dearly de-parted, later pictures of loved ones in their coffins.

As time has gone on people would take pictures of the funeral and the grave site. 
Many people still practice this tradition.

I find this very important in our genealogy research. I do ask before hand if pictures can be taken out of respect for the direct family members. I have come to find that most are very accommodating and gracious.

Beware I have posted several post-mortem photo's below. They placed flowers around the bodies to keep smelling the decaying bodies.

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