1928 - Alderson High School - 1968



Mourning in America

North House Museum & Archives
301 West Washington Street
Lewisburg, WV 24901

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 America.

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 museum@greenbrierhistorical.org or call 304-645-3398.

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