Cover of Beyond the Dark Veil, which is a faux black leather cover with the title in gold

Beyond the Dark Veil: Post Mortem & Mourning Photography from the Thanatos Archive

by Sue Henger Author

Life and death are two sides of the same coin, but how often do we stop to consider death? How did our predecessors in the Victorian era grieve and remember loved ones? In a time when seances were common and photography was new, how did mourning change?

This book is a collection of images, newspaper clippings and more from that time period, documenting how the people of the Victorian era acknowledged and mourned their dead loved ones.

A compilation of more than 190 extraordinary and haunting photographs and related ephemera. “Beyond the Dark Veil” documents the practice of death and mourning photography in the Victorian Era and early twentieth century.

Supplemented with original newspaper articles, clippings, funeral notices, memorial ephemera and more, the collection is a journey through a part of our past that is fascinating, moving, and possesses a melancholy beauty. The images in “Beyond the Dark Veil” speak to us: they speak of love, loss, lives cut short, brave final hours, shattered families, and the depths of the human spirit. Contains 194 images of hand-colored photographs, albumen prints, ambrotypes, cabinet cards, carte de viste, daguerreotypes, gelatin silver prints, opaltypes, real photo postcards, stereoviews, tintypes, and supplementary articles and related ephemera.

ABOUT THE ARCHIVE:

Located in Woodinville, Washington, The Thanatos Archive houses an extensive collection of early post- mortem, memorial, and mourning photographs dating as far back as the 1840s. The online version of the archive, hosted at Thanatos.net since 2002, offers a searchable database of over 2,300 scanned images, with scans of new acquisitions being added on a regular basis. In addition to the main online archive, hundreds of additional images and material can be found in the community discussion forum, including hi-resolution enlargements, genealogical information, and more. 

Co-published by California State University, Fullerton, Nicholas & Lee Begovich Gallery, Grand Central Press, and Last Gasp.

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