HEBRON — The Victorian way of practicing and celebrating death and burial was the focus of a presentation titled “Grave Matters” at a recent Hebron Historical Society meeting. Androscoggin Historical Society director Beverly Robbins, dressed in period mourning costume, briefed the attendees with a screen projection presentation of photos. She explained how Queen Victoria’s grandiose mourning ceremony honoring her husband’s death in 1861 set the stage for what became the general rules for proper dress and practices for honoring the deceased. Americans soon after mirrored her image and practices. Women were to wear black for one year and a day and widows should not leave home without full mourning attire. She explained the process of caring for the deceased prior to embalming procedures and how photographs of the dead were modified to appear as living. Many deceased Civil War officers underwent new embalming procedures to delay their immediate burial. In 19th century Europe curtains were drawn in a house of mourning and clocks were stopped at the time of death of a loved one. Doors were draped with crape. WWI marked the beginning of the end for elaborate funerals and along with more stringent public health rules and a general aversion to death and dying the “Victorian” practices gradually diminished. Families became more removed from the responsibility of handling the funeral process. Grave monuments became smaller in size and cremations became more prevalent.

The next Society meeting will feature Larry Glatz speaking on the Maine Historical Atlas. This will be at the Hebron Town office, 351 Paris Road, at 7 p.m. on April 28. The public is invited.

HEBRON — The Victorian way of practicing and celebrating death and burial was the focus of a presentation titled “Grave Matters” at a recent Hebron Historical Society meeting. Androscoggin Historical Society Director

, dressed in period mourning costume, briefed the attendees with a screen projection presentation of photos. She explained how Queen Victoria’s grandiose mourning ceremony  honoring her husband’s death in 1861 set the stage for what became the general rules for proper dress and practices for honoring the deceased. Americans soon after mirrored her image and practices. Women were to wear black for one year and a day and widows should not leave home without full mourning attire. She explained the process of caring for the deceased prior to embalming procedures and how photographs of the dead were modified to appear as living. Many deceased Civil War officers underwent new embalming procedures to delay their immediate burial.

In 19th century Europe, curtains were drawn in a house of mourning and clocks were stopped at the time of death of a loved one. Doors were draped with crape. WWI marked the beginning of the end for elaborate funerals and along with more stringent public health rules and a general aversion to death and dying the Victorian practices gradually diminished. Families became more removed from the responsibility of handling the funeral process. Grave monuments became smaller in size and cremations became more prevalent.

The next society meeting will feature Larry Glatz speaking on the Maine Historical Atlas. This will be at the Hebron Town office, 351 Paris Road, at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 28. The public is invited.


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