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Jeb Hawthorn
04-26-2007, 08:24 PM
I'm going to be a soldier, but I wanted my impression to have some back story. I'm about to be 19, so obviously I have no trade experience (other than washing dishes) but I'd like to portray what I'd like to do in life. I want to be a mortician: Apprentice Undertaker that is. But I'm having a lot of trouble finding imformation about pre-embalming era practices, as Southern undertakers during the war were not trained in embalming nore did they have the equipment and chemicals. Any help you can provide will be greatly appreciated.

ElizabethClark
04-26-2007, 08:50 PM
At 19, you could well have several years of work experience under your belt mid-century, so don't discount your options there. :)

I've not read extensively on the topic, but I'd suggest further reading on funeral practices from about 1820 forward. One very interesting book I have read was called "Buried Alive: The Terrifying History Of Our Most Primal Fear" by Jan Bondeson. It has a lot of great information, and is generally interesting to read, too, even for those not interested in undertaking.

You might also ask your mortuary professors or mentors for historical resources.

Jeb Hawthorn
04-26-2007, 08:57 PM
Thank you for the book recomendation. So far I have discovered that most undertakers were also cabinet makers and they built their own coffins. Up until know the only undertaker example I've had are the stereotyped ones in westerns following people around with a tape mesurer. Hehe.

Micah Trent
04-26-2007, 09:05 PM
I'm going to be a soldier, but I wanted my impression to have some back story. I'm about to be 19, so obviously I have no trade experience (other than washing dishes) but I'd like to portray what I'd like to do in life. I want to be a mortician: Apprentice Undertaker that is. But I'm having a lot of trouble finding imformation about pre-embalming era practices, as Southern undertakers during the war were not trained in embalming nore did they have the equipment and chemicals. Any help you can provide will be greatly appreciated.

You are only the second person I have heard of to take on that special impression. The other fellow I met was in Bardstown, KY a few years back. I asked him where he got the information to help with his impression and he stated that he mainly went around and asked several morticians throughout the region, college seminaries, search engines on the net, and the local State Hisotrical Society.
Good luck on search!

MO Badger
04-26-2007, 10:20 PM
Perhaps " The Victorian Celebration of Death " by James Stevens Curl might help you. The library I work for offers this synopsis of the book:

" Professor Curl has fashioned an absorbing, lucid and entertaining book describing the Victorian response to the only certainty in life--death. It includes disposal of the dead, landscaped cemeteries funerals and more. "

Good luck with your research!

Rick Gath

WestTN_reb
04-27-2007, 12:53 AM
There was a gent in Elmwood Cemetary last year doing an undertaker's impression. He discussed the equipment and crude embalming practices available at the time of the war. Plus the dummy on the table was very lifelike from a distance.

bizzilizzit
04-27-2007, 11:13 AM
http://deathonline.net/

http://www.roadsideamerica.com/attract/TXHOUfuneral.html

http://www.funeralmuseum.org/

http://www.nfda.org/pressRelease.php?eID=260&PHPSESSID=a630c7b00378b7cb4759f7e111b13

http://www.deathreference.com/En-Gh/Funeral-Industry.html

The History of American Funeral Directing
by Robert W. Habenstein (Author), William M. Lamers (Author)

Here's some places to get you started on your research!
Happy digging...
Elizabeth

sbl
04-27-2007, 01:09 PM
I'm impressed that they have a gift shop!

http://www.funeralmuseum.org/

EFA
05-02-2007, 01:56 PM
I currently have a friend who is an Apprentice Funeral Director and I could ask her about the the funeral practices of the time. I'm sure she'd have a book or two that she could reccommend.
What an interesting impression!

Justin Runyon
05-02-2007, 06:22 PM
Purdue University in West Lafayette Indiana has a class devoted to 19th century funerary practices. One thing I have done in the past with classes I have not had the time to take is to acquire the course sylabus from the prof. and get the books and articles required for the course on my own. Having the sylabus also gives you a convienent structure to your reading and study if you choose to adhere to what the prof. saw fit to schedule. It should'nt be too hard to find the prof's email adress by poking around Purdues course catalog, the books should then be easy to find on amazon or via I.L.L. and the articles can be dug up using something like J-Store or Academic Search Elite provided your institutions library has a subscription to such a database.

Jeb Hawthorn
05-02-2007, 11:11 PM
thank you, I would very much appreciate that.