Gone to the Grave: Burial Customs of the Arkansas Ozarks, 1850-1950 by Abby Burnett 0000-00-00 00:00:00

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by Abby Burnett
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Gone to the Grave: Burial Customs of the Arkansas Ozarks, 1850-1950 by Abby Burnett
Author
Abby Burnett
Publisher
University Press of Mississippi
Date of release
Pages
352
ISBN
9781628461114
Binding
Hardcover
Illustrations
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PDF, EPUB, MOBI, TXT, DOC
Rating
5
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Before there was a death care industry where professional funeral directors offered embalming and other services, residents of the Arkansas Ozarks―and, for that matter, people throughout the South―buried their own dead. Every part of the complicated, labor-intensive process was handled within the deceased’s community. This process included preparation of the body for burial, making a wooden coffin, digging the grave, and overseeing the burial ceremony, as well as observing a wide variety of customs and superstitions.

These traditions, especially in rural communities, remained the norm up through the end of World War II, after which a variety of factors, primarily the loss of manpower and the rise of the funeral industry, brought about the end of most customs.

Gone to the Grave, a meticulous autopsy of this now vanished way of life and death, documents mourning and practical rituals through interviews, diaries and reminiscences, obituaries, and a wide variety of other sources. Abby Burnett covers attempts to stave off death; passings that, for various reasons, could not be mourned according to tradition; factors contributing to high maternal and infant mortality; and the ways in which loss was expressed though obituaries and epitaphs. A concluding chapter examines early undertaking practices and the many angles funeral industry professionals worked to convince the public of the need for their services.

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