The American cemetery

Authored by: Albert N. Hamscher

The Routledge Companion to Death and Dying

Print publication date:  May  2017
Online publication date:  May  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138852075
eBook ISBN: 9781315723747
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315723747.ch26

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Abstract

Cemeteries are a valuable source for investigating a broad range of subjects concerning the collective values and attitudes of generations past. The inscriptions and images on tombstones, monuments, and other objects of funerary art provide insights into views on death, the relationship between the living and the dead, religious beliefs, and gender and class distinctions. Ethnic influences are often evident, as is the desire of planners and local authorities to offer citizens opportunities for cultural enrichment and to instill civic pride and patriotism. The physical design of a cemetery can reveal as much about prevailing business practices as it does the evolution of the landscaper’s craft. One observes as well regional differences in cemetery design and traditions of memorialization.

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