Mark A. Anderson Collection of Post-Mortem Photography (1840s-1970s, bulk 1840s-1920s)

Collection processed and finding aid created by Cheney J. Schopieray, 2009, 2016
Graphics Division, William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan

Summary Information

Title: Mark A. Anderson Collection of Post-Mortem Photography
Creator: Anderson, Mark A.
Inclusive dates: 1840s-1970s
Bulk dates: 1840s-1920s
Extent: 962 items
The Mark A. Anderson collection contains 956 photographs, ephemeral items, documents, manuscripts, printed items, and realia pertaining to the visual history of death and bereavement between the 1840s and the 1970s. Photographs make up the bulk of the collection.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site:

Access and Use

Acquisition Information

2002-2016. F-83.3, F-223, F-232, F-275.6, F-306, F-443, F-445, F-612, F-635, F-847, M-3460.1, P-2156, F-932, F-980, F-1001, F-1049, F-1080, F-1082, F-1083, F-1091, F-1117.

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Preferred Citation

Mark A. Anderson Collection of Post-Mortem Photography, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


The collection has been arranged first by format and preservation needs, and second by major subject theme. As a result, the intellectual order of the collection is not directly reflected by the physical order.

See the "Box and Folder Listing" for a box-by-box listing of the collection's contents.

See the "Additional Descriptive Data" section for the list of subjects and in which boxes related materials are located.



American death practices underwent dramatic changes in the 19th and early 20th century, with corresponding changes in society's attitudes and sentiments related to death and bereavement. During the Victorian period, some one in five children did not reach adulthood; one in four soldiers died during the Civil War; and urbanization with its crowded conditions and poor sanitation increased morbidity and mortality rates. With the advent of modern medicine, an increase in public health and hygiene, the rise of the modern funeral industry, and other factors, the prospects of an early death decreased and the care and disposition of the corpse moved from the family to professional workers. These and other changes altered the ways people confronted the practical and psychological aspects of death and bereavement.

Memorial Photography

Post-mortem photographs are images taken of people after death. Memorial or post-mortem photography was common from the birth of the daguerreotype in 1839 to the 1930s. Deaths were frequent in the 19th and early 20th centuries and many people -- especially children -- had no photograph taken of them while living. Post-mortem photography allowed people to have a likeness of their deceased family members; they used them to remember and mourn loved ones.

The roots of memorial photography are partly in the European tradition of painted miniatures. Small portraits of the deceased were made into necklaces or pins. Often hidden beneath clothing, these personal images allowed the wearer to grieve or to remember absent family or friends. With the technological innovation of photography in the 1830s, the bereaved were able to acquire an actual likeness of their mother, father, brother, sister, friend, etc. rather than an artist's rendering.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Mark A. Anderson collection contains 961 photographs, ephemeral items, documents, manuscripts, printed items, and realia pertaining to the visual history of death and bereavement between the 1840s and the 1970s. Photographs make up the bulk of the collection. Mr. Anderson assembled this collection from dealers, antique shops, and individuals. His motivation stemmed from a desire to document and to provide historical perspective on various end-of-life practices which, in the 20th century, fell into taboo and disfavor.

The majority portion of the photographic items in the collection are neither dated, nor attributed, although approximate dates can often be determined by when particular photographic formats were in use (see timeline at Consequently, the materials have been organized first to accommodate their sizes, formats, and preservation needs, and second to reflect major subject themes present, though scattered, throughout the entire collection. These non-mutually exclusive subjects are as follows:

  • Post-mortem portraits
  • Post-mortem scenes
  • Funeral tableaux
  • Funerals and funeral processions
  • Floral arrangements and displays
  • Memorial cards and sentimental imagery
  • Cemeteries and monuments
  • Funeral industry
  • Mourning attire
  • Unnatural death

The first three subjects - post-mortem portraits, scenes, and funeral tableaux - all depict the recently deceased, and so fall into the narrowest definition of a post-mortem photograph. Their distinction into three separate subjects is a partly arbitrary decision, made to break up what would otherwise be a large and unwieldy grouping of photos, but also to roughly shape the order of the collection (post-mortem portraits without décor tended to date earlier chronologically than broader, beautifying scenes).

Post-mortem portraits :

The post-mortem portrait photographs, comprising 203 items in the collection, depict the bodies of dead family members and friends. These images show the deceased, sometimes posed with living family members, and for the most part do not include elements of a larger scene, such as floral arrangements, banners, or other décor.

These portraits include the earliest photographic images in the collection, including 27 cased daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, and tintypes. Fifty-eight cabinet card photographs date from the late 1860s to around the turn of the century. Among many notable cabinet cards are two images of Frances Radke, taken and retouched by R. C. Houser, showing her image before and after Houser's post-capture work (3.1 and 3.2). Also of note is a framed crayon enlargement of infant Adelaide Banks by photographer/artist Edward Stuart Tray (26).

Post-mortem scenes :

The post-mortem scene photographs, 141 items, are similar to the portraits described above, except that they show the deceased as part of a larger environment, whether in a private home, a funeral home, or out-of-doors. Most of these views are mounted photographic prints from the 1880s to the early decades of the 20th century, frequently centering on the corpse, lying in a casket or coffin, amidst an abundance of floral arrangements, banners or flags, family members or friends, and/or personal belongings. Their caskets are often lined with white cloth.

Many of these images have unique qualities; several examples illustrate the variety of postmortem scenes in the Mark Anderson collection. Six photographs by W. Jakubowski and Co. and Jos. Ziawinski, of Detroit, Michigan, include five wedding photographs (of the bride and groom, bridesmaids, and family members) and one post-mortem scene of the wife. She appears to have died within a short time following the marriage; the funeral home scene image contains one of the wedding photographs and a banner marked "Dearest Wife" (18.5-18.10). One mounted photograph depicts a dog, laid on linen, in a homemade casket (14:17). The collection also contains examples of different persons on display in the same funeral home/parlor (e.g. 18.1-18.4). A set of two cabinet card photos of a child in a buggy is accompanied by one of the buggy's metal lanterns (23.1-23.3).

Funeral tableaux :

The collection's 31 funeral tableau photographs show the deceased in an open casket or coffin, typically in front of a church or homestead, with a posed assembly of funeral attendees or mourners. They often show a large group of family and friends, and so are frequently large format prints. Group portraits of this sort were occasionally framed and displayed in the home. Most of the examples in this collection are large prints (many of them mounted), with smaller examples, including a real photo postcard, two snapshots, and one cabinet card. Of note are a tableaux on the steps of the Church of The Descent of The Holy Ghost in Detroit by Thomas Hoffman (27), and a photomontage image of a nun's funeral (28).

Funerals and funeral processions :

The 60 items depicting or pertaining to funeral gatherings show various aspects of the movement of the deceased from the home or funeral home to the cemetery and funeral and burial ceremonies. This group is comprised of real photo postcards (22 items), snapshots (13 items), and a variety of other formats. Examples include an albumin print depicting the Plymouth Church, decorated for Henry Ward Beecher's funeral in 1887, and snapshot and postcard photographs of a burial at sea.

Floral arrangements and displays :

Additional documentation of funeral decoration may be found in the collection's 162 still life portraits of floral arrangements and other decorations. A portion of the floral display photographs include pre- or post-mortem photos of the deceased either incorporated into the display or added to the image after printing. One particularly fine example is a large format photograph of a floral arrangement for the funeral of Joshua Turner Mulls; the display included a cabinet card photo of Mr. Mulls and a modified enlargement of the cabinet card. Accompanying the floral arrangement photograph is the cabinet card depicted in the display, with artist's instructions for coloring the enlargement (22.1-22.2).

Memorial cards and sentimental imagery :

The collection includes 97 memorial cards and ephemeral items bearing sentimental imagery. Memorial cards were created as tributes, often displaying birth dates, death dates, and other information about the deceased. Many of these cards include border designs and some bear photographs of the departed. Black-fronted memorial cards gained popularity from 1880 to 1905. Of many interesting examples, the collection includes two examples of memorial cards which haven't yet been personalized (4.306-4.307) and two reflecting World War I related deaths (4.316 and 4.317). Materials with sentimental imagery include items such as a photograph of an illustration entitled "Momma is in Heaven," a memorial book dedicated to Olive C. Partridge in 1897, and other items.

Note: an advertisement for the Memorial Card Company of Philadelphia is located in the 'Funeral Industry' section of the collection (14.35).

Cemeteries and monuments :

Sixty photographs, printed items, and realia explicitly pertain to cemeteries, burial markers, or monuments. Some of the cemeteries and monuments are identified, such as the Garfield Memorial at Lakeview Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio (4.1-4.3). The collection includes examples of cemetery-related realia, including an ovular, porcelain headstone photograph (pre-mortem) of the deceased.

Note: cemeteries may be seen as background for many photographs throughout the collection.

The funeral industry :

The Mark Anderson Collection of Post-Mortem Photography holds a diverse selection of photographs, ephemera, and printed materials related to the business aspects of death, dying, and bereavement. This group includes receipts (1896-1956); various types of advertising (an undertaker's advertising card, a church fan, a thermometer, and other items); and 118 coffin sales photographs (illustrating a massive selection of different casket models offered by the Boyertown Burial Casket Company of Pennsylvania).

Two photograph albums, that of Clarence E. Mapes' furniture store and funeral home (and that of the Algoe-Gundry Company funeral home, provide visual documentation of a rural and an urban funeral home (respectively) in Michigan in the first half of the 20th century:

The photo album and scrapbook of Clarence E. Mapes' furniture store and funeral home in Durand, Michigan, dating from ca. 1903-1930, contains interior and exterior photographs of the furniture and undertaker portions of the shop. The album includes photographs of casket showroom display mechanisms; an example of a "burglar proof" metallic vault; a posed photo of the embalmer standing over a man on the embalming table; images of carriage and motorized hearses; business-related newspaper clippings; and various family and vacation photographs. Several prints, dated August 1903, appear to depict the aftermath of the Wallace Brothers Circus train wreck on the Grand Trunk railroad at Durand. Among these photographs are carriage hearses, a horse-drawn cart carrying ten or more oblong boxes (for transportation and perhaps burial of victims of the wreck), a man standing in an alleyway near three stacked boxes, and a large group of persons standing in a largely unearthed section of a cemetery. The Mapes album is accompanied by a C. E. Mapes Furniture advertising fly-swatter.

The Algoe-Gundry Company album dates from ca. 1924 to 1960 and contains (almost exclusively) 8"x10" photographs of this Flint, Michigan, funeral business. The album includes images of the exterior and interior of Algoe-Gundry buildings, hearses, ambulances, and billboard advertisements.

Mourning attire :

In America, mourning attire tended to follow trends set in Europe. The bereaved wore mourning clothing according to current fashion trends and societal expectations. Mourning clothing styles, often dark-colored and somber, depended on how close the mourner was to the deceased and local societal expectations. Seventeen portrait photographs show men and women wearing mourning attire without the deceased present. This group includes cabinet cards, a 1/9 plate ambrotype of an adult woman, two tintypes, and one carte-de-visite.

Note: persons wearing mourning attire may also be found scattered throughout the other sections of the Mark A. Anderson collection. While most are concentrated in the funeral photographs, mourners are also present in postmortem portraits, postmortem scenes, and cemetery photos.

Unnatural death :

Forty-three photographs (mostly snapshots) depict "unnatural deaths," deaths not caused by age or naturally occurring disease, such as suicides, accidents, murders, and war. The larger portions of the snapshots are mid-20th century police photographs of crime or accident scenes.

Nine Indiana State Police photographs show a train-automobile accident; a group of eight unmarked photos depict the body of woman, apparently violently murdered, at the location of her death and in a morgue; fourteen are of a man struck down, beneath a train; two are of a rifle suicide; and the others are of varying accidents. One World War I-era real photo postcard appears to show a man, shot dead in a foxhole. A stereoscopic card, by photographer B. W. Kilburn, shows the burial of Filipino soldiers after the Battle of Malolos, Philippine Islands [ca. 1897].

Note: The photograph album/scrapbook of the Clarence E. Mapes furniture and undertakers shop contains several photographs of what appear to be the aftermath of the Wallace Brothers Circus train wreck, Durand, Michigan 1903 (see above description in the 'Funeral Industry' section of this scope and content note).

Subject Terms

  • Photographs shelf.
Subjects - Visual Materials:
  • Advertising--United States.
  • Advertising cards.
  • Bereavement--United States.
  • Burial.
  • Burials at sea.
  • Cemeteries--United States.
  • Coffin industry--United States.
  • Coffins.
  • Commercial photography.
  • Death--United States--Photographs.
  • Infants--Death--Photographs.
  • Floral decorations--United States--Photographs.
  • Funeral decorations--United States--Photographs.
  • Funeral homes--Michigan.
  • Funeral processions.
  • Funeral rites and ceremonies--United States.
  • Funeral service.
  • Funeral supplies industry.
  • Furniture industry and trade.
  • Grief.
  • Hearses (Vehicles)--Photographs.
  • Memorial rites and ceremonies.
  • Michigan--Business, industries, and trades--Undertakers.
  • Monuments.
  • Mourning customs--United States--History--19th century.
  • Mourning customs--United States--History--20th century.
  • Mourning etiquette--United States.
  • Postcards--United States.
  • Postmortem photography--United States--History--19th century.
  • Postmortem photography--United States--History--20th century.
  • Railroad accidents--Michigan--Durand.
  • Sepulchral monuments.
  • Suicide--Photographs.
  • Undertakers and undertaking--United States.
  • Algoe-Gundry Company, Funeral Directors (Flint, Mich.)
  • Boyertown Burial Casket Company (Boyertown, Pa.)
  • C. E. Mapes Furniture Store and Funeral Home (Durand, Mich.)
  • Memorial Card Co.
Genre Terms:
  • Advertising cards.
  • Ambrotypes (photographs)
  • Black-and-white photographs.
  • Business records.
  • Cabinet photographs.
  • Card photographs (photographs)
  • Cartes de visite (card photographs)
  • Cased photographs.
  • Color photographs.
  • Cyanotypes.
  • Daguerreotypes (photographs)
  • Interior perspectives.
  • Patents.
  • Photograph albums.
  • Photomontages.
  • Photographic prints.
  • Photographs.
  • Realia.
  • Receipts (financial records)
  • Snapshots.
  • Studio portraits.
  • Tintypes (photographic prints)

Contents List (Request Materials)

Request materials for use in the Clements Library
Container / Location Title
Box   1  
Daguerreotypes [series]
Post-mortem portraits
1.1. R. N. Keely, Philadelphia. 1/6 plate; elderly man seated upright.
1.2. 1/6 plate; woman lying.
1.3. 1/4 plate; young woman, lying, c. 1853.
1.4. 1/6 plate; young man, laid in a coffin.
1.5. 1/6 plate; living man, holding deceased infant.
1.6. 1/6 plate; female child, lying.
1.7. 1/16 plate; female child, lying.
1.8. 1/6 plate; pre-mortem photograph of an aged woman, arms crossed, c. 1850.
1.9. 1/6 plate; older man, lying beneath heavy blanket.
1.10. 1/6 plate; child, lying (blue colored shoulder ribbons)
1.11. 1/6 plate; child, lying
Mourning attire
1.11.1. 1/6 plate; young woman in mourning dress, holding daguerreotype
Ambrotypes [series]
Post-mortem portraits
1.12. 1/6 plate; child, lying, holding flowers (tinted cheeks and flowers).
1.13. 1/6 plate; adult man, lying (only half of image extant).
1.14. 1/6 plate; female child in a cradle.
1.15. 1/6 plate; child, lying, holding flowers (tinted cheeks and flowers).
1.16. [Montgomery P. Simons, Philadelphia]. 1/4 plate stereoscopic image; female child, lying, holding flowers (tinted cheeks and flowers, in a Mascher's stereoscopic case).
1.17. 1/6 plate; child, lying in a coffin (in a thermoplastic case with an oval viewing window).
1.18. 1/6 plate; infant, lying (tinted cheeks and arms, in a thermoplastic case decorated with elk).
Box   2  
Ambrotypes (continued) [series]
Post-mortem portraits (continued)
2.1a. 1/6 plate; female child, lying (tinted pink dress).
2.1b. 1/6 plate; man, lying (tinted cheeks).
2.1c. 1/6 plate; child, lying against a pillow (tinted cheeks).
Mourning attire
2.1d. 1/9 plate; adult woman in mourning garb.
Cased tintypes [series]
Post-mortem portraits
2.1. 1/6 plate; infant, lying in a coffin, holding a book.
2.2. 1/6 plate; infant, lying in a cradle (tinted cheeks).
2.3. 1/4 plate; infant, lying.
2.4. 1/6 plate; living adult woman holding deceased child (tinted decorations on child's shoulders), c.  1864-1866.
2.5. 1/6 plate; adult woman, sitting, in bonnet, with hand warmers.
2.6. 1/6 plate; child in buggy (tinted cheeks).
2.7. 1/6 plate; male child, lying, with hanging sheet backdrop (in a thermoplastic case).
2.8. 1/4 plate; child in buggy.
2.9. 1/6 plate; young woman, lying, holding flowers.
2.10. 2.5"x3 7/8"; two male children, Samuel and Georgie Marquett, lying, with flowers.
2.11. 1/2 plate; child, lying, holding flowers (tinted flowers).
2.12. 1/6 plate; child lying on floral blanket/cloth (tinted blanket/cloth).
Box   3  
Cabinet cards [series]
Post-mortem portraits
Example: 3.1 and 3.2: R. C. Houser, Michigan City, Indiana, photographs of Frances Radtke (aka Franciska Radke), 1894. One of these images depicts Frances with her eyes closed and hair disheveled. The other has been altered by the photographer to make her eyes appear open and her hair appear neat.
Example: 3.3: J. W. Black & Co., Boston, Massachusetts, photograph of a female child lying in a buggy and holding a ball. This image is striking for its clarity and its composition.
Example: 3.4: L. C. Abbey, Kalamazoo, Michigan, photograph of an African American woman.
Example: 3.5: C. J. Cary, Lansing, Michigan, photograph of Barnard McParland in his coffin. This photograph is paired with a separate cabinet card image of his floral display (3.105).
Post-mortem scenes
Funeral tableaux
Floral arrangements and displays
3.58-3.102: Photographs containing an image of the deceased
Example: 3.58 and 3.59: G.W. Edmondson, Norwalk, Ohio, photograph of Ralph Osborne's floral display accompanied by the portrait photograph of Osborne depicted in the floral arrangement.
Example: 3.60 and 3.61: Towne, Shelby, Michigan, photograph of an infant's floral display accompanied by the portrait photograph of the infant depicted in the floral arrangement.
3.103-3.152a: Photographs without an image of the deceased
Memorial cards
3.153-3.161: Memorials with images of the deceased
3.162-3.203: Memorials without images of the deceased
Box   4  
Cabinet cards (continued) [series]
Cemeteries and monuments
Example: 4.1-4.3 depict the Garfield Memorial in Lakeview Cemetery, Cleveland, Ohio.
Funeral industry
4.10-4.12: furniture manufacturer/undertaker storefronts
Mourning attire
Snapshots [series]
Post-mortem portraits
Post-mortem scenes
Funeral tableaux
Funerals and funeral processions
Floral arrangements and displays
Cemeteries and monuments
Unnatural death
Tintypes [series]
Post-mortem portraits
Floral arrangements and displays
Mourning attire
Stereoscopic images [series]
Post-mortem portraits
Post-mortem scenes
Funerals and funeral processions
Floral arrangements and displays
Memorial cards and sentimental imagery
Cemeteries and monuments
Unnatural death
Real photo postcards [series]
Post-mortem portraits
Post-mortem scenes
Funeral tableaux
Funerals and funeral processions
Floral arrangements and displays
Memorial cards and sentimental imagery
Cemeteries and monuments
Funeral industry
Unnatural death
Cartes de visite [series]
Post-mortem portraits
Floral arrangements and displays
Memorials and sentimental imagery
Funeral industry
4.288: This CDV depicts a carriage hearse in front of C.E. Weeks & Co. Undertakers, Jamestown, New York (photographers H. & A. Malin).
Mourning attire
Small format printed cards [series]
Memorial cards
4.290-4.305: Memorials with images of the deceased,  1898-1934
4.306-4.321: Memorials without images of the deceased,  1862-1919
Example: 4.306 and 4.307: Two different examples of memorials which have not yet been personalized.
Example: 4.316 and 4.317: these two memorial cards reflect World War I related deaths including "In Loving Memory of The Poor Victims who lost their lives by hostile aircraft on September 7, & 8th, 1915" by London printer Burgess; and "In Loving Memory of Miss Edith Cavell, The Heroic Nurse who was Murdered by the Huns for Doing her Duty as an Englishwoman, on October 12, 1915" by printer H. P. Such.
Box   5  
Small-sized mounted photographs [series]
Post-mortem portraits
Example: 5.1 and 5.2: Two different views of child Gladys Christy, taken by Miller in Greenville, Pennsylvania
Example: 5.3 and 5.4: One image of a (living) unknown man sitting beside a young woman; the other a photograph of the young man, deceased, propped upright in a chair, wearing a burial suit. 5.4 was taken by C. G. Anderson, Kansas City, [Missouri].
Example: 5.5 and 5.6: Two different views of the same infant; in 5.5 she has been laid on furs and in 5.6 she has been laid on white lace.
Box   6  
Small-sized mounted photographs (continued) [series]
Post-mortem portraits (continued)
Example: 6.4: This photograph, by Novelty Photo Studio, shows an elderly man in a coffin with a glass window.
Box   7  
Small-sized mounted photographs (continued) [series]
Post-mortem scenes
Box   8  
Small-sized mounted photographs (continued) [series]
Post-mortem scenes (continued)
Funeral tableaux
Funerals and funeral processions
Example: 8.11: 18x23cm. albumin print, Plymouth Church in Brooklyn, New York, decorated for the funeral of Henry Ward Beecher, 1887.
Box   9  
Small-sized mounted photographs (continued) [series]
Floral arrangements and displays
9.1-9.10: Photographs containing an image of the deceased
9.11-9.18: Photographs without an image of the deceased
Box   10  
Small-sized mounted photographs (continued) [series]
Floral arrangements and displays (continued)
10.1-10.7: Photographs without an image of the deceased
Memorial card and sentimental imagery
10.7a: Photograph of an illustration, "Momma is in Heaven."
Cemeteries and monuments
Funeral industry
Small-sized non-mounted photographs and snapshots [series]
Postmortem scenes
Funeral tableaux
Funerals and funeral processions
Memorials and sentimental imagery
10.23-10.27 (17 items,  1855-1985)
Funeral industry
Unnatural death
10.31 (3 items, Bob Fedewa, 20 year-old, post-mortem scene in funeral home following an automobile accident)
Box   11  
Photograph album (small-sized) [series]
Funerals and funeral processions
11.1.: Photograph album: 15 photographs by Joe Varkula of Detroit, Michigan, showing the funeral home scene, floral arrangements, tableau, funeral procession, and burial ceremonies for a military veteran. Seven additional photographs of different deaths, same funeral home, scenes and tableaux. Not imprinted with Varkula.
Box   12  
Ephemera and printed materials (small-sized) [series]
Funerals and funeral processions
12.1: Templar Burial Service (Detroit, Mich.: Raynor & Taylor, n.d.)
Memorial cards
12.2: Memorial booklet (5 pages), In Memory of… Olive C. Partridge, 1897. Contains images of Olive and her husband, Charles, scripture, and obituary.
Cemeteries and monuments
12.3: Halligan, C. P. and H. K. Menhinick. The Rural Cemetery (E. Lansing, Mich.: Michigan State College, Special Bulletin No. 175, 1928)
Funeral industry
12.4: Calendar and partially printed order book, distributed by the National Casket Company; includes some manuscript notes, Homeworth, Ohio, 1898.
12.5: Illustrated folding fan, suggested for advertising, Undertaker's Supply Co., Chicago, Illinois, pat. January 1928.
12.6: Advertising calendar, Nellars Funeral Home, Lansing, Michigan. Includes color image of a floral arrangement, 1938.
12.7: Solomon, Benjamin F. Memorial Prayers (Mass.: Solomon Funeral Home, [1949 ?]). Includes rules for mourning and images of the funeral home. In English and Hebrew.
12.8: Goerge's Funeral Home, Fowler, Michigan. Two different sets of (blank) partially printed account statements.
12.9: Motor Car Arrangement (Lansing, Mich.: Jarvis-Estes Co., n.d.). Partially printed booklet, including some filled-in portions for the funeral procession of five-day old May Ann Elsesser. Includes casket advertisements, Springfield Metallic Casket Company, Springfield, Ohio.
12.10: Belmont (Columbus, Ohio: Belmont Casket Manufacturing Co., n.d.). Booklet advertising Lead-Coated-Steel Caskets, with advertising images.
Box   13  
Medium-sized mounted photographs [series]
Post-mortem portraits
Post-mortem scenes
Example: 13.2: Young African American woman in a casket, interior scene. H.C. Jackson, Detroit, Michigan, c. 1920s.
Example: 13.3: Image of an unknown religious official; very elaborate decoration and display at the front of a large sanctuary.
Funeral tableaux
Funerals and funeral processions
Box   14  
Medium-sized mounted photographs (continued) [series]
Floral arrangements and displays
14.1-14.11a: Photographs containing an image of the deceased
14.12-14.15: Photographs without an image of the deceased
Cemeteries and monuments
Medium-sized non-mounted photographs and snapshots [series]
Post-mortem scenes
14.17: Image of a dog laid on linen in a homemade coffin.
Funeral tableaux
Funerals and funeral processions
Floral arrangements and displays
14.32: Composite photograph of a grave adorned with flowers (possibly not in a cemetery) and an ovular portrait of the deceased.
Memorial cards and sentimental imagery
14.32a: Group portrait of 15 men and women, with a vacant chair covered by a black cloth and bearing the words "Gone to Rest."
Ephemera, manuscripts, and printed materials (medium-sized) [series]
Funeral industry
14.33: Six partially printed receipts for the purchase of funeral services: F. P. Vorhis Funeral director and embalmer, St. Charles, Illinois,  1896 G. R. Brass Co., stock certificate,  1907 Hamilton & Hamilton furniture dealers/funeral directors,  1932 Swem Funeral Home, Buchanan, Michigan, 1957.
14.34: Four items: partially printed document, Novi Burial Association, for the purchase of a cemetery lot, Novi, Michigan,  1873 George Bachelor ALS to Harriet Rineheart and family,   December 22, 1882 Speaker, Michigan, on the death of his father; two printed envelopes, Peninsular Casket Co., Detroit, Michigan, and Detroit Metallic Casket Co., Holly, Michigan.
14.35: Two printed items: Advertisement (2 pages) for the Memorial Card Company, Philadelphia and Theodore Schroeder & H. Wuest patent (3 pages, with technical illustration) for a "Life Detector," 1871.
Box   15  
Ephemera, manuscripts, and printed materials (medium-sized)(continued) [series]
Funeral industry (continued)
15.1: Erie County Funeral Directors Association, Inc., pre-printed account ledger,  1933-1963. Containing the Erie County (N.Y.) organization's constitution and bylaws, relevant state laws, and advertisements. An unidentified funeral home utilized the volume to keep track of the kind and manufacturer of caskets ordered for the deceased.
Photograph albums (medium-sized) [series]
Funeral industry
15.2: Algoe-Gundry Company, Funeral Directors, Flint, Michigan: 58 photographs, c. 1933-1974. This album contains interior and exterior photographs of the Algoe-Gundry Funeral Home buildings, billboard advertisements, and hearses.
Box   16  
Photograph albums (medium-sized) (continued) [series]
Funeral industry (continued)
C. E. Mapes Furniture Store and Funeral Home, Durand, Michigan: 41 photographs, plus newspaper clippings and printed advertisements, ca.  1910-1934. This album includes interior photographs of their sales-floors and their embalming room, several images of a mass funeral, plus additional travel and camping photographs. A C. E. Mapes advertising fly-swatter accompanies the album.
Box   17  
Ephemera and realia [series]
Cemeteries and monuments
17.1: Ovular porcelain headstone photograph of the deceased (photograph of the man while alive).
17.2: Metal casket plate, Anna Bengtson, 1918.
17.3: Metal casket plate, "At Rest,"  undated
Funeral industry
17.4: Advertising thermometer, Sparks-Griffin Funeral Home and Ambulance Service, [Pontiac, Michigan, after 1947].
Box   18  
Large-sized mounted photographs [series]
Post-mortem scenes
18.1-18.2: East Side Studio, Toledo, Ohio. Two different scenes in the same room (different deceased individuals, arrangements, wall hangings and window curtains).
18.3-18.4: Two photographs of the same scene from different angles.
18.5-18.10: Six photographs by W. Jakubowski and Co. and Jos. Ziawinski, Detroit, Michigan. Five wedding photographs (bride and groom, bride and bridesmaids, couple and family) and one postmortem scene of the wife.
Box   19  
Large-sized mounted photographs (continued) [series]
Post-mortem scenes (continued)
Box   20  
Large-sized mounted photographs (continued) [series]
Post-mortem scenes (continued)
Example: 20.7b: Post-mortem view of a mother and her (stillborn?) child in the same casket.
Funeral tableax
Box   21  
Large-sized mounted photographs (continued) [series]
Funerals and funeral processions
Floral arrangements and displays
21.2-21.7: Photographs containing an image of the deceased
21.8-21.9: Photographs without an image of the deceased
Cemeteries and monuments
Ephemera and printed material (large-sized) [series]
Sentimental imagery
Funeral industry
Box   22  
Oversized mounted photographs [series]
Floral arrangements and displays
22.1-22.2: Floral arrangement for the funeral of Joshua Turner Mulls; the image includes a cabinet card photo of Mr. Mulls and a modified enlargement of the cabinet card. Accompanying the floral arrangement photograph is the original cabinet card; the back of the cabinet card contains instructions for making the enlargement.
Box   23  
Realia (and associated cabinet cards) [series]
Post-mortem scenes
23.1-23.3: Two cabinet card photographs of a young child in a buggy; accompanying the photographs is a lantern from the buggy in the image.
Box   24  
Sales photographs [series]
Funeral Industry
118 casket sales photographs, Boyertown Burial Casket Company, Boyertown, Pennsylvania. Each photograph depicts a single casket; the backs of many of the items have precise options available for the model shown on the fronts.
Framed materials [series]
Post-mortem portraits
Framed item   25  
"Our Darling." Photographic print of infant in baby carriage and related silver casket plate, in ornate carved frame 13" x 14."
Framed item   26  
Adelaide Banks. Crayon enlargement by photographer/artist Stuart Tray, in gilt frame, 29" x 25."
Funeral tableaux
Framed item   27  
Church of The Descent of The Holy Ghost in Detroit by Thomas Hoffman
Framed item   28  
Photomontage tableaux of funeral for unidentified nun, with additional figures and drapery added 16" x 19".
Memorial cards
Framed item   29  
"In Affectionate Rememberance of John Bayles." Embossed memorial card, Romaldkirk Church, Durham, England,  1871 in wooden frame 16" x 14."

Additional Descriptive Data

Mark Anderson Box List, organized by subject:

  • Postmortem portraits (203 items)
    • 1.1-1.11 (daguerreotypes)
    • 1.12-2.1c (ambrotypes)
    • 2.1-2.10 (cased tintypes)
    • 3.1-3.54e (cabinet cards)
    • 4.26a-e (snapshots and paper prints)
    • 4.122-4.133c (tintypes)
    • 4.138 (stereoscopic images)
    • 4.165-4.172c (real photo postcards)
    • 4.235-4.282d (cartes de visite)
    • 5.1-5.15 (small-sized mounted photographs)
    • 6.1-6.12a (small-sized mounted photographs)
    • 13.1a-b (medium-sized mounted photographs)
    • 13.1c (medium-sized non-mounted photographs)
    • 25 (small framed photo and casket plate)
    • 26 (framed photo enlargement)
  • Postmortem scenes (141 items)
    • 3.55-3.56 (cabinet cards)
    • 4.27-4.60a (snapshots)
    • 4.139-4.141 (stereoscopic images)
    • 4.173-4.186a (real photo postcards)
    • 7.1-7.13 (small-sized mounted photographs)
    • 8.1-8.6 (small-sized mounted photographs)
    • 10.15-10.18 (small-sized non-mounted photographs)
    • 13.2-13.20a (medium-sized mounted photographs)
    • 14.17-14.24a (medium-sized non-mounted photographs)
    • 18.1-18.10 (large-sized mounted photographs)
    • 19.1-19.11 (large-sized mounted photographs)
    • 20.1-20.7d (large-sized mounted photographs)
    • 23.1-23.3 (realia and associated cabinet cards)
  • Funeral tableaux (31 items)
    • 3.57 (cabinet card)
    • 4.61-4.62 (snapshots)
    • 4.187 (real photo postcard)
    • 8.7-8.10 (small-sized mounted photographs)
    • 10.19 (small-sized non-mounted photographs)
    • 13.21-13.25 (medium-sized mounted photographs)
    • 14.25-14.29a (medium-sized non-mounted photographs)
    • 20.8-20.15a (large-sized mounted photographs)
    • 27-28 (oversize framed materials)
  • Funerals and funeral processions (60 items)
    • 4.63-4.75g (snapshots and paper prints)
    • 4.142-4.145 (stereoscopic images)
    • 4.188-4.208a (real photo postcards)
    • 8.11-8.15 (small-sized mounted photographs)
    • 10.20-10.22 (small-sized non-mounted photographs)
    • 11.1 (photograph album, small)
    • 12.1 (ephemera and printed material, small)
    • 13.26 (medium-sized mounted photograph)
    • 14.30-14.31 (medium-sized non-mounted photographs)
    • 21.1 (large-sized mounted photograph)
  • Floral arrangements and displays (162 items)
    • 3.58-3.152a (cabinet cards)
    • 4.76-4.78 (snapshots)
    • 4.134-4.135 (tintypes)
    • 4.146-4.151a (stereoscopic images)
    • 4.209-4.212 (real photo postcards)
    • 4.283-4.285 (cartes de visite)
    • 9.1-9.10 (small-sized mounted photographs, with images of the deceased)
    • 9.11-9.18 (small-sized mounted photographs, no image of the deceased)
    • 10.1-10.7 (small-sized mounted photographs, no image of the deceased)
    • 14.1-14.11a (medium-sized mounted photographs, with an image of the deceased)
    • 14.12-14.15 (medium-sized mounted photographs, no image of the deceased)
    • 14.32 (medium-sized non-mounted photograph)
    • 21.2-21.7 (large-sized mounted photographs, with images of the deceased)
    • 21.8-21.9c (large-sized mounted photographs, no image of the deceased)
    • 22.1-22.2 (oversized mounted photographs)
  • Memorial cards and sentimental imagery (97 items)
    • 3.153-3.161 (cabinet cards, with images of the deceased)
    • 3.162-3.203 (cabinet cards, without an image of the deceased)
    • 4.152-4.153a (stereoscopic images)
    • 4.213 (real photo postcard)
    • 4.286-4.287a (cartes de visite)
    • 4.290-4.305 (small format printed cards)
    • 10.7a (small-sized mounted photographs)
    • 10.23-10.27 (small-sized non-mounted photographs, 17 items)
    • 12.2 (ephemera and printed material, small-sized)
    • 14.32a (medium-sized mounted photograph)
    • 21.11-21.12 (ephemera and printed material, large-sized)
    • 29 (small framed memorial card)
  • Cemeteries and monuments (60 items)
    • 4.1-4.19 (cabinet cards)
    • 4.79-4.83a (snapshots)
    • 4.154-4.163 (stereoscopic images)
    • 4.214-4.227 (real photo postcards)
    • 10.8-10.12 (small-sized mounted photographs)
    • 12.3 (ephemera and printed materials, small-sized)
    • 14.16a-b (medium-sized mounted photograph)
    • 17.1-17.3 (ephemera and realia, custom-sized)
    • 21.10 (large-sized mounted photograph)
  • Funeral industry (147 items)
    • 4.10-4.12 (cabinet cards)
    • 4.228-4.233 (real photo postcards)
    • 4.288 (carte-de-visite)
    • 10.13-10.14 (small-sized mounted photographs)
    • 10.28-10.30 (small-sized non-mounted photographs)
    • 12.4-12.10 (ephemera and printed materials, small-sized)
    • 14.33-14.35, 15.1 (ephemera, manuscripts, and printed materials, medium-sized)
    • 15.2 (photograph album, medium-sized)
    • 16 (photograph album, medium-sized)
    • 17.4 (ephemera, custom-sized)
    • 21.13 (ephemera and printed material, large-sized)
    • 24 (sales photographs)
  • Mourning attire (18 items)
    • 1.11.1 (daguerreotypes)
    • 2.1d (ambrotypes)
    • 4.13-4.25 (cabinet cards)
    • 4.136-4.137 (tintypes)
    • 4.289 (carte-de-visite)
  • Unnatural death (43 items)
    • 4.84-4.121 (snapshots)
    • 4.164 (stereoscopic image)
    • 4.234 (real photo postcard)
    • 10.31 (small-sized non-mounted photograph)

Alternate Locations

The Mark Anderson collection arrived with a selection of reference literature, which has been cataloged as part of the Clements Library's book holdings. Additional titles have been added by the Library:

Burns, Stanley B. Sleeping Beauty: Memorial Photography in America.... Altadena, Calif.: Twelvetrees Press, 1990.

Burns, Stanley B.; Elizabeth A. Burns. Sleeping Beauty II: Grief, Bereavement, and the Family in Memorial Photography.... New York: Burns Archive Press, 2002.

Burns, Stanley B.; Elizabeth A. Burns. Sleeping Beauty III: Memorial Photography: The Children. New York: Burns Archive Press, 2011.

The Casket, v. 35, no. 11. Rochester, N.Y.: S. Wile, November 1910.

Casket & Sunnyside, v. 65, no. 4. New York, N.Y.: Casket, Inc., April 1935.

The Commercial Photographer, v. 8, no. 32. Cleveland, Ohio: C. Abel, Inc., 1932.

The Embalmers' Monthly, v. 12, no. 1, 3, 5; v. 17, no. 1-12. Chicago, Ill.: Trade Periodical Co., 1899, 1904.

Georgia Marble Company. Design Book No. 6: That Memory May Live Forever. Atlanta, Ga.: Ruralist Press, c. 1930.

Habenstein, Robert Wesley. The History of American Funeral Directing. Milwaukee: Bulfin Printers, 1955.

Hohenschuh, W. P. The Modern Funeral: Its Management.… Chicago: Trade Periodical Co., c. 1900.

National Casket Company. Complete Price List and Telegraph Code Accompanying Catalogue.… [New York?]: National Casket Co., 1892.

Norfleet, Barbara P. Looking at Death. Boston: D. R. Godine, 1993.

Pierce, Sally. Whipple and Black: Commercial Photographers in Boston. Boston, Mass.: Boston Athenaeum, c. 1987.

The Professional Embalmer, v. 12, no. 6. Chicago: Undertakers Supply Co., June 1935.

Ruby, Jay. Secure the Shadow: Death and Photography in America. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, c. 1995.

Tennell, Charles N. Selling Photographs to Funeral Directors. Cleveland, Ohio: C. Abel, 1932.

Van Der Zee, James. The Harlem Book of the Dead. Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.: Morgan & Morgan, c. 1978.

Related Materials

At the Clements Library :

The William L. Clements Library holds a large selection of 18th-19th century family papers. Scattered throughout these collections are letters of mourning, funeral announcements and invitations, funeral-related financial records, and post-mortem photographs. One particularly notable half-plate daguerreotype arrived with the Lamb-Sykes Family Papers, depicting wealthy Philadelphian Harriet Lamb (d. 1853). The photograph is accompanied by photographer Marcus Aurelius Root's partially printed receipt for the service and a bill for the complete funeral from William H. Moore & Son.

The David V. Tinder Collection of Michigan Photography contains numerous post-mortem photographs in cased, carte de visite, cabinet, and mounted print formats.

The Clements Library also houses a large selection of 19th century printed, sentimental sheet music with an especial focus on mortality. The sheet music covers are frequently enlivened with lithographs or engravings, including depictions of mourning scenes and sepulchral monuments.

At other repositories :

As post-mortem photography was common among persons who could afford the service, many Special Collections libraries contain selections of post-mortem photographs or death/bereavement-related materials as parts of family papers. Archival collections specifically dedicated to the subjects of death, dying, and bereavement may also be found at a variety of institutions, for example:

The "Death and Memorial Collection" within the Burns Archive (the collection of Dr. Stanley B. Burns, New York City) is an important non-institutional collection of post-mortem and memorial photography.

Jay Ruby Collection on the Photographic Representation of Death, 1840-1993, Historical Collections and Labor Archives, Special Collections Libraries, University Libraries, Pennsylvania State University.

Death and Dying Historical Photograph Collection, 1860s-1920s. North Dakota State University, Institute for Regional Studies.


Burns, Stanley B. Sleeping Beauty: Memorial Photography in America. Altadena, Calif.: Twelvetrees Press, 1990.

Burns, Stanley B.; Elizabeth A. Burns. Sleeping Beauty II: Grief, Bereavement, and the Family in Memorial Photography.... New York: Burns Archive Press, 2002.

Burns, Stanley B.; Elizabeth A. Burns. Sleeping Beauty III: Memorial Photography: The Children. New York: Burns Archive Press, 2011.

Habenstein, Robert Wesley. The History of American Funeral Directing. Milwaukee: Bulfin Printers, 1955.

Laderman, Gary. Rest in Peace: A Cultural History of Death and the Funeral Home in Twentieth-Century America. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.

Laderman, Gary. The Sacred Remains: American Attitudes Toward Death, 1799-1883. New Haven [Conn.]: Yale University Press, 1996.

Norfleet, Barbara P. Looking at Death. Boston: D. R. Godine, 1993.

Van Der Zee, James. The Harlem Book of the Dead. Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.: Morgan & Morgan, c. 1978.