Halloween in the Archives

Written by Aja Bain, Graduate Assistant

Happy Halloween, everyone! Since today is one of my favorite holidays, I jumped at the chance to write this week’s blog. But then I started thinking… what can I write about from the AGRC? Last year’s Halloween blog documented our collection of spooky holiday artifacts, so that was out. Are there ghosts and goblins in the archives? Vampires or zombies? As far as I know, we don’t house any particularly haunted collections. But I have been looking for an excuse to share these fabulous vintage technicolor illustrations of the evolution of the hearse found among the papers of a local funeral director:

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On that note, one Halloween topic we do have a lot of material on is cemeteries and funerals. Cemeteries are more than just settings for ghost stories or spooky places to avoid during the full moon — they are valuable sources of historical and genealogical information for researchers. We have directories and maps of many cemeteries in Middle Tennessee, including abandoned and hard-to-find graveyards. Check out these photographs of early nineteenth-century headstones in Rutherford County’s Canon/Cannon Cemetery:

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Funerals and their documentation can also lend insight into past social mores and customs. Take a look at these printed nineteenth-century funeral notices — what can they tell you about mourning rituals and the society that performed them?

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That’s all for today, folks. Have fun trick-or-treating tonight and be sure to come and visit us at the Albert Gore Research Center for all your spooky (and ordinary) research needs!

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One Response to Halloween in the Archives

  1. Angela Dixon says:

    Awesome article, as always!

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