Saturday, June 18, 2011

Link: Death, Disease, and Mourning in antebellum Louisiana

While we are on the subject of mourning during the Civil War, I found this fascinating page about death, disease, and mourning in antebellum and wartime Louisiana, with relevant artifacts pictured.

What does mourning have to do with women in arsenals, you may ask? Well, after catastrophic explosions in some of them, the family members of the deceased - and surely, much of the community where they occurred - were plunged into mourning. Since much of those women who worked in arsenals were of the lower classes, their families would likely have kept with social expectations of mourning as best they could, perhaps dying their dresses black and buying as much crepe as they could afford. However, if such women needed to work to support their families, many of them could not stay home as long as their upper-class sisters and needed to get back to work (family members often worked together at the arsenals).
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