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Funeral History #5

Mourning Gifts & Colonial Undertakers

Mourning Gifts It was a tradition to give these to people who attended funerals. It was a way of paying respect to the dead and thanking people for attending.
Scarves, Gloves, Rings These were commonly given mourning gifts. Many people would collect these gifts.
"Extraordinary Expense at Funerals" Massachusetts courts passed a law prohibiting these extraneous funeral expenses. These laws were passed in 1721, 1724, and 1742.
"Monkey Spoons" This was a tradition brought over by the Dutch. These gifts were given to pallbearers. The handles had a picture of a saint. Over time, reproductions became distorted and the saint began to look like monkeys.
The 3 Functions of Colonial Funerals Sociability - these were social events. Religiosity - these were religious services. Reaffirmation - affirming the position in life of the dead.
2 Definitions of "Funeral Directing" They provided tasks to care for body and dispose of it. They assumed responsibility for personal services and began to operate a business enterprise.
First use of the Term "Undertaker In 1768 the American Colonial Newspaper first used this term. This became a profession in the 18th Century.
Tradesman Undertaker As the public began to hire others to take over funeral tasks. This person, by virtue of his trade, provided one item or service.
Furnishing Undertaker This person provided various goods or services to the Funeral Undertaker. They would gather the goods and services from other specialists.
Layer Out of the Dead In the 19th Century, these people would wash, dress and lay out the bodies of the dead. They were usually nurses or mid-wives.
Sexton Undertaker This role expanded to include laying out the bodies, coordinate funerals, direct the funerals and was "in attendance."
Inviters to Funerals This person invited people to funerals. He was municipally appointed, was licensed and received a fee.
John Van Gelder He was the first Inviter to Funerals, in New York City.
Aanspreecker This individual was a licensed official who directed ceremonies and and could also be an Inviter to Funerals.
Created by: kellyrb