Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Widow's Weeds and Weeping Veils - Revised Edition!

A few years ago I had the great pleasure to read an review and short, but terrific, booklet, Widow's Weeds and Weeping Veils: Mourning Rituals in 19th Century America by Bernadette Loeffel-Atkins.  You can read the review and my interview with Bernadette here.

I'm pleased to let readers of the blog know that Bernadette has recently released a revised edition of the book through Gettysburg Publishing.

In my original review I wrote:

Widow’s Weeds is slim at less than forty pages, but is packed with information on period customs for wakes and funerals, cemeteries, undertakers, caskets, post-mortem photography, spiritualism and philosophies of the afterlife, mourning art, clothing, jewelry, and etiquette, and funeral food (including a period recipe for “funeral pie”). The booklet includes a nice bibliography to prompt further reading as well as more than eighty illustrations, including photographs of many period mourning artifacts from Bernadette’s collection.

That's all still true...and now there is even more to like!

The book:
  • Has a handsome glossy cover and is printed in a more durable format
  • Is more than 20 pages longer
  • The reproduction of the photographs - one of the outstanding features of the book - is OUTSTANDING!
  • I counted at least twenty more illustrations in this edition, many of them from the author's personal collection
  • Several new sections - on the song, "Vacant Chair"; on "Tear Bottles"; and more recipes to the funeral cakes section - are great additions
  • An excellent addition in the revised addition is several pages of a glossary on Gravestone Symbolism
 All this, and the informative book is a bargain at $9.95 and is available directly through Gettysburg Publishing (order here).

Well done Bernadette!  Thank you for sharing your love of history and expertise in Victorian era mourning practices in this wonderful work!

Bernadette is also the proprietor of the Battlefields and Beyond book store in Gettysburg.  Check out their website here!

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