A Father’s Humble Plea

On February 25, 1877 a letter was sent to the Prefect of the Seine (then Ferdinand Duval) from an employee of the reconstituted civil status archives, Monsieur Legendre. Legendre had one simple request of the Prefect: that the expiring tombs of his two children be granted perpetual status free of charge.

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You Will Know Them by Their Works

The Austrian military officer and mathematician, Andreas von Riedel, died in Paris on February 15th, 1837 at the age of 89 and was buried in the 8th Division of Montparnasse Cemetery. His friend, the architect Henri Labrouste (1801–1879), would take on the design of his tomb monument, the plan of which is shown here. Labrouste would … Continue reading You Will Know Them by Their Works

A Little Box of Death

Tucked away in a corner of the Rijksmuseum, and at only a few centimeters high, this small sculpture of a skull in a little leather box is easy to miss. Each tooth has been delicately carved (about half of which are intentionally missing or cracked), and the custom case has been constructed carefully in three parts: a base, … Continue reading A Little Box of Death

Cookies for the Dead

Man dies to live, and lives to die no more...until then, we eat cookies. During an afternoon digging around the archives at Duke University, I came across this peculiar advertisement for funeral biscuits. Imploring the reader to prepare for death, the ad suggests that one's funerary arrangements simply cannot be complete without Hick's biscuits. Joseph … Continue reading Cookies for the Dead