The Greenbrier Historical Society’s
newest exhibit examines loss, remembrance and mourning traditions of
the 19th century.
Come to North House Museum and take a look back at the 1800’s and
the often surprising ways our ancestors dealt with death and
mourning. Discover grave robbers and coffin torpedoes, hair wreaths
and widow’s weeds. All will be revealed, from the practical to the
superstitious, from old timey do-it-yourself ways of dealing with
death at home to coping with vandals in city cemeteries.
Before the era of antibiotics, death was a too frequent visitor to
every home, respecting neither age nor social position. For all the
blood shed to free us of the tyranny of the King of England, America
has always been pretty obsessed with royalty, especially the British
royals. Queen Victoria set the style and was the go-to authority for
proper manners, fashion, Christmas decorating and rules for the
observance of mourning. She mourned her dead husband for forty
years, perhaps a world record. This had an enormous effect on
Americans, especially women, especially in the south where the ties
to England remained strong through family connections and the cotton
trade. The overwhelming numbers of casualties from the Civil War
finally brought an end to prolonged years of enforced grieving in
This exhibit will have a special Sunday afternoon opening on the
29th of March. Every room in the historic North House will be
decorated to reflect this Victorian theme of loss and remembrance.
At 2:00 and 4:00 there will be a special presentation in the parlor
featuring the scandalous widow, Mrs. Anderson. Light refreshments
will be served in the lobby.
The exhibit will be up through May 30th. Admission is free, but
donations are appreciated and make exhibits like this possible. For
more information e-mail
email@example.com or call 304-645-3398.