Skip to main content

tv   The Civil War Mourning During the Victorian Era  CSPAN  August 18, 2018 6:00pm-6:41pm EDT

6:00 pm
also, the acceptance of me as an equal, and others as their superior, allowed me to know that i can negotiate with the best of them. >> we will hear from helen bentley, barbara cannoli, nancy johnson, and lynn woolsey. at 10:00 a.m. eastern on american history tv on c-span3. a talk about mourning during the victorian era. she describes the rituals for men, women, and children when a family member died and how the civil war impacted radius norms. the gettysburg heritage center hosted this talk. any further introduction, i would like to present --
6:01 pm
she has been a friend of mine for a number of years. ,or those of you not familiar she is a native new yorker and move to gettysburg 20 years ago. after managing to military history bookstores, she is happily retired and continues her research and writing and caring for a number of battlefield adopted position sites. today, she will speak to us about life in the midst of death, mourning rituals in 19th century america. thank you. [applause] happy to see so many familiar faces here today. before we start, i would like to thank the heritage center for this, and for c-span being here and filming this, and most especially kevin drake from
6:02 pm
gettysburg publishing, who really took a chance on me with a very unusual topic that has skyrocketed. i am very pleased about it. thank you, kevin. ok. 1800s, death was a constant companion to life. people died in agricultural by taking poisonings medicines they should not have been taking, but most importantly was the infant mortality rate. children died. babies died. mothers died during childbirth. this is all reflected in the mourning ritual. it was part of daily life. start -- i am sorry, can you go back?
6:03 pm
with queen victoria. she set the stage for mourning in england when prince albert .ied in 1861 the civil war had just begun a few months before in the united states, america at the time, so they turned around and she set the stage for mourning rituals. what ever went on in england became popular in america. if you ever notice they came namedor freedom and they the rivers after kings, towns after queens, everything was still related to the british, even though they wanted to have free reign here in america. ok. of princesketch albert on his deathbed, something that was very popular at the time, that you had to make -- it was a dramatic thing.
6:04 pm
time, soraphy at the they would have the family have it around the bed, and that would lead to the good death and the art of dying, which is fascinating in itself. people would meet and surround their loved ones, and sometimes the loved one were thinking they were dying, but some lived longer than expected, so this could be a long ritual. the last words were so very important in death. they tried not to give any pain inducing drugs. they wanted the person to die in pain, but with a clear mind. now it is going to be your turn. famous last words. .tonewall jackson right.
6:05 pm
port in lastn words were for them back then? we know it today, 100 years later, we remember his last words. the most important ink about the wouldeath is the family have comfort knowing that he died at home surrounded by loved ones. they would have a clean conscience. they would have closure. died, we had to wake and the funeral. which was interesting. back then homes would be trade in black crêpe off windows, doors. there would be a black wreath on the door to let the community know that somebody had passed away.
6:06 pm
the person would be laid out inside the house. they did not have funeral parlors back then. so you had to have a loved one for a friend willing to lay you out in the house. the parlor would be filled with flowers to mask the odor of death, because the in bombing balming was not big back then. that is an antique clock. they would stop the clock at the time of the death, and resume it after the burial. "sad time ore top, hour."ment, sad someone would sit and hold a vigil with the course 24/7.
6:07 pm
if it was a wealthy family, it ,as usually a servant or made had to sit there to make sure anying harmed the body or nasty things like vermin or rats would come in or anything like that, ok? now we are going to go into the cemetery, where they would be buried. early 1800s,and ruralad little, churchyards. they were crowded, unsanitary. smells were awful, and at times they would have to exhume a body to bury a new body, so the old bodies would go into the bone house, and the new bodies would be buried. earlysomewhere during the 1800s, somebody thought about the idea of how about a nice
6:08 pm
big, rural cemetery. the cemeteries resembled nature parks. they were filled with beautiful ,tatues that were graves beautiful statues, benches, walkways, ponds, gardens. people would go there and have a picnic. you could sit next to your loved ones grave and enjoy nature, enjoy art, and visit with your loved ones. it was a nice remembrance for them. menmid-1800s, when young would get there great site, they would have their monument put up ahead of time, and they would take their girlfriend to the cemetery and show them, look what i had. this is where we are going to go when we die. that was considered a status symbol.
6:09 pm
very interesting. these days not maybe i have a maserati or something like that. back then, the bigger the stone, the more popular you were. [laughter] >> ok. go into a going to little bit about women in mourning. take out the dirty end of the stick. they had to follow those little etiquette books and rituals. the more money you had, the more you had to follow. if you were poor, you probably had to go back to daily life and you had to work in the farm and do things, but the women mourning would go through the stages. they would have to stay in mourning for the death of a yearsnd for two to two and a half years, although queen victoria remained in mourning for the rest of her life because she was such a stoic individual and would not
6:10 pm
let albert rest. she did not attend weddings or anything. she went nowhere. she stayed home. class.ed upon social the richer you were -- these women probably have a little bit more money because they have real mourning dresses, ok? here are a few more i just love. dressp photo is how to fancy. obviously she is not in mourning . whoever passed away at was not a relative or loved one who had left her money. the two widows next to her are crying. we have one of a husband and wife in mourning together, which is wonderful. the one with the ladies facing away from the camera was because of the graven image. many people did not want the graven image. they would stare away from the
6:11 pm
camera. they did not want their faces showing. they did that with covering mirrors also during wakes and funerals. the mirrors would be covered with crêpe. a lot of that is done in the jewish religions still today. , i haven'tthe middle quite a clue if they are twins or mother and daughter, but i just love the photo. i think they came to the funeral just to get some funeral pie. they were just waiting for the food. now the same thing again, men in mourning. , theould wear an arm band left arm. do you know why it was on the left arm? where your heart is. your heart on your sleeve, the whole bit. grant one of ulysses s. which will probably pop up again
6:12 pm
wearing a morning badge for abraham lincoln after he was assassinated, and of course now another image without the faces showing. also wore hats, the top hats. they would tie crêpe around them and have long streamers on the back. a were called weepers. that is have you knew the man was in mourning when he was in public. he would either have the armband or the weepers with streamers on his hat. men were free to get married right away. as the woman was not allowed to get remarried. they would remarry because they had a bunch of kids and needed a new mother, so they had the freedom to visit people, do what ever they wanted, and the women
6:13 pm
had to stay at home. ok? militaryare some more ones. this is my buddy william tecumseh sherman wearing a .ourning for abraham lincoln he was mourning the death of a cornel. he has his accoutrements and armband on. -- colonel. he has his accoutrements and armband on. they mostly wore sashes. some wore armbands. these were the different stops trainhe lincoln funeral went through. this is what they would see, groups of men wearing their mourning attire.
6:14 pm
ok? children in mourning. this is sad because many of the children are in mourning because their mother passed away giving birth to them. they had no idea what was going on. whitehe boys, they where dresses with black ribbons on them. the bed sheets would have black ribbons on them. as the kids got older, they would wear gray or black like the adults, but the children all more black ribbons and bows. but the thought of mourning, a baby mourning the death of their mother because they were born is a very sad thing. ok? ok. civil war. civil war altered the rules of
6:15 pm
mourning. people were used to having a comfortable death at home. they had a body. they had closure. they would have the wake. they would have the burial. they would visit the grave. civil war had young men dying and had theme potential of never being returned to their families. ritual the mourning unresolved. .hey had no one to mourn they had to have a body to mourn . it made life difficult for those who missed their loved ones. occasionally someone would come to the battlefield and try to find their son or husband to no avail. we have so many unknown grades in the national seminary here and in other parts
6:16 pm
of the country. ok? ok, the art of grieving. is of theoto here original stonewall jackson grave , which is in that cemetery, but he was moved to a different spot. there are women and everybody surrounding his grave. he was such an icon of the time. his death made him more popular. they would take photos like this around the grave. womane where there is a grieving at a grave of a loved one, yet in the background there are two ghostly figures, north and south, shaking hands, making amends. and, of course, my favorite is called -- it is george washington welcoming abraham lincoln into heaven.
6:17 pm
these were sold in mass lawyer after lincoln's assassination -- volume after lincoln's assassination, as well as cards,ts, mourning ribbons. there was a lot of money made from lincoln's death. ok? is one of my most interesting parts, postmortem photography. is anybody familiar with this? they actually are doing this again in hospitals when little , ores are born stillborn when they die shortly after they onlyorn, and it is the memory you are going to have of that child. this is what postmortem photography was all about. industry was in its infancy at the time, so many
6:18 pm
people had no photos of anyone in their family. so after they passed away, they would either taken by wagon to a local photographer, or the photographer would come to their house and take a photo of the child, either mother and father embracing the child. children would not be photographed in a coffin. they would be photographed in a natural state buying on a couch, sitting on a chair, or being held by their mother. these are some of the saddest photos i have ever seen. it touches the heart strings to lose a child. it is not an easy thing. thing, very unnatural but back then there were a lot of diseases and we didn't have all the surgeries and all those great things that would keep babies alive today. ok? one is one of my favorites.
6:19 pm
it is in a book by dr. stanley burns called "sleeping beauties." , very three of them out pricey, very limited edition. i have all three. this is possibly the only photo of a soldier deceased with his parents. died fromellow starvation, intestinal disease, and just a few days after the surrender, so he did not make it. the look on the parents faces is so sad. they were the lucky ones. they had their child back home with them. that was a very, very important thing, to be able to bury and remember him properly.
6:20 pm
now this is the fun part. -- and afterlife. it was a belief that you could communicate with your deceased loved ones. it took the east coast big-time, boston, new york, very popular. the three ladies there are the fox sisters, maggie, kate, and leah. they started in upstate new york where they claim they could talk to the dead, knocking zone skyrocketed into séances. the wealthy really enjoyed going to séances and believed in it, especially mary todd lincoln. big into they spiritualism and afterlife, ok? ok, this is something i thought was funny. it is sheet music.
6:21 pm
look at what it is called,. wrappings. -- spirit wrappings. thateven wrote music about , and the séances, people gathered round the table, held hands, and talk to the dead. like i said before, mary todd lincoln and queen victoria were really big into spiritualism, and i believe that mary todd lincoln kind of learned it from queen victoria, because they wrote to each other and discuss this in depth. ok. ok, here we go. this is some spirit photography. the man at the end is named william -- photography,irit
6:22 pm
which is essentially double exposures. someone would come in and described their loved one and he would find someone who looked like them, take a photo. they looked happy thinking that was their loved one with them. is definitely end looks like a sheet. somebody believed it was true. he capitalized on spirit photography and made a lot of money from it. ok that one is really bad. the ghost with the sheet on it, at the one next to it is classic. that is mary todd lincoln in spiritg with a very dim of abraham lincoln behind her, and she really believed it was him. i am sure she paid dearly for it, ok? ok. , does anybodyide
6:23 pm
know who that man is? yes, pt barnum, the master of humbug, trickster, huckster, confidence man. he knew how to get over on the public, entertain them and make money. he devised his own spirit photography pictures. he confrontsnd and the other photographer and says, you are a fraud. a fraud telling a fraud he is a fraud, ok? all of a sudden the other photographer is taken into court in new york city for fraud. the key person to testify is pt barnum. [laughter] he testifies against him. it is amazing. he claims he had letters from -- photographer
6:24 pm
stating it was all a fraud and how he did it with the double exposures, but when he gets on the stand, he has nothing to prove it, because it all burned in the fire had his museum. so, the case gets thrown out. the photographer continues to do his spirit photography. do you want to click? that was may 8, 1869. they made the headlines in harpers weekly, all the players involved there. of like abably kind trial of the decade-type thing. it was interesting. it was fun. people enjoyed listening to it, reading about it. the photographer was exposed, but they still bought his products. ok? jewelry andning
6:25 pm
collectibles. at one time nobody wanted any of this stuff. .t was creepy, morbid it is worth a lot of money now. does anybody here collect it? besides me? [laughter] , they werehere tributes to the dead. people would take the hair from a loved one and have it woven into a brooch or into a watch fob or a bracelet even. they were pretty interesting. jet, whichade from was found in england. it was water soaked and would turn black. it was very easy to carve. that was the expensive stuff. there was the poor man's
6:26 pm
jet. another material was used for it. anything black would work. was most popular of the people who did not have a lot of money. does anybody know what it is used for today? you got it, but it is pink. the stuff they made mourning jewelry out of, they now use in your root canal. you have a memorial tooth. [laughter] like i said, it is quite collectible today. young ladies before the civil war would actually take classes in hair weaving. they would learn how to do this, not only for the debt, but for friendship bracelets and a
6:27 pm
little memento, like sometimes we where half a heart and the other one has the other one. it was pretty neat. during the civil war, women were more involved in the war effort. they would mail the hair out to have the jewelry made. they would mail a nice patch of red hair and get back blonde hair or brown hair. it was all a fraud. these things were premade. there was so much fraud during this stretch of the mourning per iod, it was pretty sad. it is what it is, ok? here is some lovely jewelry. those your rings are made from human hair. the weeping willow tree, the willow branches, our hair, more bracelets, the feather plumes are all hair.
6:28 pm
they were all memorials. up hereve some these are. . these are the original thing. ok? here we go with some other ones, sepia and jet brooches. be careful. when you have a grandmother or great grandmother, they may have some of these things in the jewelry box when they passed away. quite a lot.h it is actually worth more to the family itself to keep these keepsakes come up because that is what they were created for. of course we have the mourning memorabilia, which a lot of like i said, i collect a lot. this is just a sample of it. from mourning
6:29 pm
ns had jet onpi the tip. a lot of women did not have a lot of money, so they would take pieces of crêpe and pin to the address. dress.r sash, all kinds of mementos, even the chips, which i have a number of. black, the the deeper in mourning they are. little -- have a
6:30 pm
these are memorial cards, we still have them today. home, they would turn around and make these up. these were a little bit more dramatic, very victorian. these are in high demand right now also. it was easy enough to slip one in an envelope and mail it to a loved one. along with postmortem photography, they could put them in the mail in an envelope that had the black trim around it and then is somebody knew they were getting bad news in the mail when they got the envelope and it had the picture of the dead uncle on it. here is a few more of them. there is one of the envelopes
6:31 pm
that i was talking about. it had black trim on it. householdoing on at a -- out of a household that was going through mourning had to have that kind of trim on it. black trim all around it. you had to show that you are grieving your loved one. it was the etiquette of the time. if you did not show that kind of love for them, you would be ostracized in the community. i also have a calling card. this was the type of card somebody would leave when visiting somebody. it would be a normal card if they were not home, they would leave it in the basket on the table in the doorway. this is a mourning card. he would carry this card with
6:32 pm
him and leave it on the table, or the front door to let them know they were paying a visit. back to queen victoria. begins withurning queen victoria. the victoriand ritual of mourning the dead. the onset of world war i, and of course the roaring 20's when the skirt lines when up, people were not thinking way anymore.g this it was too reserved for them. it had served its purpose. people got through a death and
6:33 pm
some people never got over the death like queen victoria. she died loving albert, and that never changed. by today's standards, this whole thing of a morning -- mourning seems to be a strange practice. thele were comforted by mourning ritual and they showed a for their loved ones. act then, children new -- back everythingren knew about death. schoolbooks had a stories about parente brother dying, a dying. this was everyday life to them. death surrounded them. they lived more for debt than they did for life at that time. toay, most of us do not talk
6:34 pm
our children about death. i know i really didn't. it was hard to explain. act then, they did not talk to their children about sex. it is just the opposite now. kids know everything there is to know about sex, but they don't know anything about death. ny dies while they're at school you tell them it ran away. purpose, we its wear black sometimes when we go to funerals, i know i do. the flowers and all of those other things, we do not confine ourselves to the home anymore as the women did of that time. thank you so much, i want to leave some time for questions and answers. please, anybody. was it just for the wealthy
6:35 pm
or get her people have it? bernadette: people did have it but it would not be made from the same material. it would be made from the rubber . later on in the early 1900s, there was a plastic that they made them out of. jewelry,l had mourning it was just inexpensive. you didn't say anything about the bells. cutadette: i was trying to this short, are you talking about saved by the bells? >> was initiated in this area? bernadette: back then they had a lot of grave robbers. he wanted to have bodies to examine them and learn how the body works, maybe what they could do to save a somebody's
6:36 pm
life. some cemeteries put cages over the graves so nobody could take the bodies out. watch -- they had grave watch. people who were afraid they would be buried alive with a string on their finger and a bell above ground. if they woke up you would be saved by the bell. >> [inaudible] they ended up dying but i had seen at the museum of mourning in a drexel hill. they reentered a body elsewhere,
6:37 pm
they opened the coffin and there markslaude marks -- claw on the lid. they were trying to get out. robert e lee's mother, they thought she was dead and a header in a mazza li m, she wasn't. she was just breathing really shallow. they were waiting to see if they woke up. nobody knew about checking pulses and things like that. else? that's it, well thank you. i do have a few artifacts appear he want to come take a quick look for the next program. thank you so much. [applause] learn more about the people
6:38 pm
and events that shaped the civil war and reconstruction every saturday at 6:00 p.m. eastern on american history tv, here on c-span3. on tuesday we will be live at 9:00 p.m. eastern with arizona state university professor to facebooks, tweets, and questions on andrew jackson's presidency. he looks at jackson and says i never thought i would say this andrew but thank you. oh clay, i am not done. you mean you are not done, jackson says there's one other thing. the bank. it is funny you mention that andrew because i was thinking
6:39 pm
that maybe we would go ahead and recharter the bank a little early, why not? we don't need to wait until the last moment. let's recharter this bank. you are on board with that, right mr. president? well, not only am i not on board mr. clay, but i am ready to wage war against this bank of the united states. and you have it, the bank war, one of the most dramatic events in united states history. >> post your questions on andrew jackson on our facebook or twitter pages and join us tuesday night at 9:00 p.m. eastern on c-span3 when the professor answers your questions and takes your calls. our tour of presidential
6:40 pm
homes continues as we stay in the virginia countryside with a visit to james monroe's high .and close to jefferson's monticello, the fifth president lived here from 1793 until his death. >> i call it a presidential cold case. there were always questions about this house. architects look at the little house and say that does not really look like a wing of a president's house. there are formal similarities to other dependency buildings from other plantations. the questions were lingering. when i got here, there were answers to questions i


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on