Mourning Customs of the Victorian and Edwardian Age


May 8, 2001
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Thanks for the link on "Victorian Lace". Was there much of the afternoon. Really enjoyed the link for the "babies" page. Reminded me of a story I was told as a young child. My grandma stayed in bed for a week after birth, like she was told, and nearly died from a blood clot.
Anyhow, back to the mourning customs.
 
Apr 11, 2001
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It's been awhile since we gave a thought to this topic- but today's date brought it to mind. Just two years after the dreadful events of 9/11 in New York City, it seems the contemporary world has greatly altered the patterns of grief from the times we discussed in depth in postings above. I turned on the television this morning expecting much coverage , and indeed there was a short service, bringing out the flag, Amazing Grace on the bagpipes, a moment of silence, and then some poems read out by family of the disaster victims. Still, I half-expected the President might visit the site at Ground Zero, perhaps radio stations might play suitable music for the hour between the two airplane crashes into the Towers, churches might have a service. No, instead the radio announcer bombarded our ears with drivel about Ben and Jen 's cancelled wedding (a couple who I am sincerely coming to dislike hearing of, -and for whose fortunes I could give a fig about), rock music blasted away, life goes on with hardly a pause. I opened the door at the church where I work and a group of students asked if there would be a service. "No, the Vicar is away-" I said, but opened the chapel and put a single candle on the altar. All morning people have wandered in looking numb, sat down in the chapel which I can see from my office, and walked out in silence. Clearly there is a need for remembrance, if not mourning. This is what I still say to people who find it very hard to understand why people still become emotional about Titanic.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Easley South Carolina
>>No, instead the radio announcer bombarded our ears with drivel about Ben and Jen 's cancelled wedding (a couple who I am sincerely coming to dislike hearing of, -and for whose fortunes I could give a fig about), <<

Join the club!

>>..., rock music blasted away, life goes on with hardly a pause.<<

I wonder if that might not be the greatest tribute of all however. Getting on about our business and going on with our lives must surely have OBL and his joyboys screaming in frustration. They want us reacting to them in a certain way and we're just not going by their playbook.
 

Lee Gilliland

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Feb 14, 2003
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It has been said with some truth that we have replaced "the" taboo subject of sex with death and dying - it was considered much more of an accepted thing in earlier eras, possibly because most children had at least one of their siblings die before their fifth birthday.
 
Jun 19, 2004
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>>Filigree jewelry to contain cre- mains
(cremated remains) are STILL available. Picture this- shall I wear granny or grampy tonight with my ballgown???<<

You think that is creepy I know there is a company out there (I can't seem to remember the name and hence I can't find the website) who will take the cremated remains of a loved one and turn them into a laboratory made diamond!
 

Lee Gilliland

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Feb 14, 2003
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Not too sure about that - have you noticed the color of the things? They look a lot more like topaz than diamond, at least in my eyes.
 
Apr 11, 2001
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They sure do- diamonds come in colors too. Who can forget Jay-Lo's pink one from old Ben? It was a huge thrill for me last April to meet Betty Blake, Lucille Carter's daughter by marriage #2. Betty Blake was married to Ned MacLean for a time, his society "A" List" mother being Evelyn Walsh MacLean who owned the infamous Hope diamond. It is actually blue-I've seen it in the Smithsonian. Although why anybody would want to own it with the reputation it carries for bad luck.. I'm surprised nobody has thought of a way to link that to the Titanic along with the mummy!
 

rob scott

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May 4, 2004
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Pls forgive my butting into the gilded age forum amidst all you experts... so I'll ask a question rather than postulate some drivel you would see thru and denounce in an instant... ;)
(my first ever post in this high-falutin' forum?)

?: in a mourning or memorial service for a varied group of Titanic victims, probably held in N.S. or N.B., what kind of religious ceremonies or rituals would have been included (or omitted)?

I ask because I was a US Navy brat for many years, attended navy services of various kinds including memorials, knew two navy chaplains personally (who being Presbyterian and Methodist included mostly those two types of rituals in their 'multidenominational' services), and so I probably got a slanted or narrow experience.

The Titanic victims were of course a varied lot including catholic, episcopal, methodist, Presb, and other folks even from eastern Europe and beyond - but the services may have included Brit officials and that nation does have a rather 'state' church, eh? - but many of those services were in Canada?
So if I were standing there in Nova Scotia and listening, what might I hear?
[ hope this isn't too maudlin or even worse, morose ... ]
happy.gif
 
Apr 11, 2001
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Rob- what a great question which I don't think we have ever pondered, hard to believe as we have dissected about everything else here at one time or another. I know Rev. Cunningham on the Minia was Anglican, from St. George's parish, which is rather the Church of England in America/Canada and his prayers for the Halifax victims were eloquent. Montmagny had Rev. Prince who was from St. Paul's Anglican and Father McQuillan was there from Saint Mary's Roman Catholic Basilica. In the United States the National Cathedral in Washington D.C. is Episcopalian, where Reagan's recent memorial service was held and where many services for departed American dignitaries seem to take place.
On May 2nd, four of the unidentified Halifax bodies were determined to be Roman Catholic and were sent to Mt. Olivet, a Rabbi (M. Walter) came to the morgue and claimed nine bodies as probably Jewish and so they were sent to Baron De Hirsch with suitable preparations in that faith. The Brunswick Methodist Church had a service on May 3rd for the "unidentifiable many" who went on to Fairview. This service was the one attended by White Star Line officials , local government and military people, including the ushers who were sailors from the HMCS Noble. The church was draped in traditional colors of mourning, black and purple and the Union Jack and the American flag were in front of the pulpit. When I tried to re-create something along the lines of this memorial service back in 1991 at Fairview, I read many newspaper articles on the services, and learned Mrs. Rood, who lost her husband, had given pink and white carnations for so many of the services, including this one at the Methodist church, and so the wreaths I made were as closely copied, including black and purple ribbons, as possible. There was also a presbyterian speaker at that 1912 service. While the service was in progress, the bodies were taken from the Mayflower rink and sent over to Fairlawn for burial services scheduled for 3 p.m. and was attended by clergy of several denominations for the commendation of the souls graveside. The crowd, which may have been as large as 800 sang Nearer Ny God to Thee at the close, accompanied by the Royal Canadian Regiment Band. Later one body from Fairview was exhumed as it was found to be Roman Catholic, and was moved to Mt. Olivet. The other four Catholics were remembered at a service at Saint Mary's Basilica in a solemn requiem Mass, also attended by White Star officials who followed after to the interment at Mt. Olivet. The last service was one of Evensong (in the Anglican-Episcopal tradition) given for the last body recovered, at All Saints Cathedral, for James McGrady who was recovered by the Algerine on June 6th, This service was held on June 11th and he was intered on the 12th at Fairview. The group of clergymen of various faiths formed what they called the "Evangelical Alliance" to make sure all the victims were represented in their own religious belief. Every effort was made to assure that aim. At Saint Paul's Anglican in Halifax, which is beautiful and still standing- an impressive service was held on Sunday, April 21st at St. Paul's and Rev, Prince prepared that Order of Service. Some of the best memorial coverage, including some amazing photographs of these proceedings can be found in Alan Ruffman's book, TITANIC REMEMBERED-The Unsinkable Ship and Halifax. Also well worth having is Blair Beed's book TITANIC VICTIMS in Halifax Graveyards. To get an idea of the Burial Service for the Anglicans, the Book of Common Prayer has the service, just make sure you get the right year as the book has had several revisions!
 
Feb 2, 2004
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"On May 2nd, four of the unidentified Halifax bodies were determined to be Roman Catholic...." "a Rabbi (M. Walter) came to the morgue and claimed nine bodies as probably Jewish...."

Hi Shelley, If the bodies were "unidentfied" what determined their religious status?
 
Apr 11, 2001
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Well, in the case of Franks Aks, the baby which was claimed by two women aboard Carpathia, it was the fact that he was circumcised. I would assume that this was also the case for the bodies in Halifax. Routine circumcision was not widespread among non- Jewish males, but absolutely mandatory according to Jewish custom. It is done on the eighth day after birth and is called a "brise". In the case of Mr. Navratil, of course we know an error was made, due solely to his last name listed as Hoffman he was sent to Baron De Hirsch.
 
Mar 20, 2007
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A few years ago, I bought a book, 'Lantern Slides', which is a compilation of the diaries and letters of Violet Bonham-Carter (nee Asquith), the daughter of the British Prime Minister, between 1904 and 1914. Violet (in her late teens at the outset) offers a lively commentary on the social and political events of her day - and, given that her address during this period was No. 10 Downing Street, it must be admitted that her perspective was fairly unique!

In April 1912, she is away from London on a country-house weekend and a friend (going from memory, I believe it might even have been her future husband) writes to her about the Memorial Service for the 'Titanic' which he has just attended at St. Paul's. This, it seems, was the focal point of national mourning and was absolutely packed out, with crowds waiting on the street outside, unable to find seats. The letter-writer describes the incredible solemnity of the service, with the funereal roll of the drums rumbling through Wren's great baroque space and the deep voices of the male choir raising the hairs on the back of his neck (although he is personally disappointed that no boys are included). This appears to have produced a physical effect on many members of the congregation and several women fainted. Carlisle, the designer of the 'Titanic', is also said to have collapsed - 'poor man, how heavy his burden must be'.
 
Mar 20, 2007
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Having just made this post, I'm now thinking of another occasion for national mourning - the burial of the 'Unknown Soldier' in Westminster Abbey in 1920. Coming so soon after the Great War, emotions were still painfully raw and this event really did transcend every barrier of class, creed and colour. Of course, there were dissenters - those who criticised the very idea of 'an Unknown', for reasons political, social or even aesthetic - but, by and large, the public reaction was quite overwhelming. The highest in the land came to do homage to this one man without a name and the entire country ground to a halt as Great Britain paid her last respects to an individual who, for so many, might - just conceivably - have been a lost loved one. I suppose the difference with this event was that not a single individual had remained untouched by the War and personal resonances across the nation were inevitable. Neil Hanson has recently written a splendid book on the subject of 'the Unknown' and I frankly confess that, at several points during his descriptions of the funeral procession and the burial service, I choked - the little girl who wrote to Lord Curzon, begging for a seat in the Abbey, because the dead man 'could be my daddy'; the elderly cleaning lady who brought a crumpled bunch of roses to the graveside with a card reading simply, 'My Alec'. Nothing has ever brought home to me more effectively the individual, agonising grief of so many millions lying behind the grandiose ideas of patriotism, sacrifice and duty.
 

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