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Rest in Peace
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Rest in Peace: A Cultural History of Death and the Funeral Home in Twentieth-Century America

Gary Laderman


Though it has often been passionately criticized—as fraudulent, exploitative, even pagan—the American funeral home has become nearly as inevitable as death itself, an institution firmly embedded in American culture. But how did the funeral home come to hold such a position? What is its history? And is it guilty of the charges sometimes leveled against it? This book traces the origins of American funeral rituals, from the evolution of embalming techniques during and after the Civil War and the shift from home funerals to funeral homes at the turn of the century, to the increasing subordination ... More

Keywords: funeral home, American funeral rituals, embalming, funeral director, Jessica Mitford, death, open casket, living

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2005 Print ISBN-13: 9780195183559
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195183559.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Gary Laderman, author
Emory University