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bizzilizzit
12-06-2006, 09:30 AM
LAUREL HILL CEMETERY & THE FRIENDS OF LAUREL HILL
present THE LANGUAGE OF THE DEAD: VICTORIAN FUNERARY SYMBOLISM


Victorian Philadelphians loved visual symbolism, and even their
simplest
grave markers are likely to be ornamented by ivy (for eternal life),
lilies
(for resurrection) or hour glasses (for brevity of life). Oftentimes,
the
symbolism is both lavish and individualized. A civic reformer is
memorialized with a bas-relief showing the Schuylkill Canal and the
Philadelphia Water Works. A prison reformer is celebrated with a grand
model of Moyamensing Prison. A shattered column, a cavalry officer's
sword
and a pair of spurs mark the resting place of one of the first soldiers
to
die at the Battle of Little Big Horn, infamously known as Custer's Last
Stand. A mother who died in childbirth is compellingly depicted
clasping
her two dead babies. Nineteenth-century Philadelphians understood
Laurel
Hill not only as a cemetery, but also as a vast sculptural garden and
retreat. Accordingly, they came by the thousands to read the symbolic
messages that the dead had left for the living.

The Language of the Dead, a walking tour of Laurel Hill Cemetery, will
take
place on Sunday, December 10th at 2:00pm. The tour will be guided by
Michael Brooks, Ph.D., a professor at West Chester University and board
member of the Friends of Laurel Hill.

The program cost is $15 per person, with discounts for students and
members;
children are free. Laurel Hill Cemetery: The Underground Museum is
located
at 3822 Ridge Avenue in Philadelphia. For information or reservations,
call
215-228-8200, or visit www.theundergroundmuseum.org.


Gwendolyn A. Kaminski
Manager of Education and Outreach
Laurel Hill Cemetery & Friends of Laurel Hill
3822 Ridge Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19132
215-228-8200


Elizabeth