Guide to the Michael McDowell Death Collection

Collection Title: Michael McDowell Death Collection
Dates: 1616-2005
Identification: AS10
Creator: McDowell, Michael, 1950-1999
Extent: 76 Boxes
Abstract: Michael McEachern McDowell was the author of a number of horror novels, including The Amulet (1979), Cold Moon Over Babylon (1980), and The Elementals (1981), as well as six serialized novels known as the Blackwater series (1983).  He also has screenwriting credits for Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice and The Nightmare Before Christmas, and wrote for the TV series Tales from the Darkside.  The Michael McDowell Death Collection is comprised of 76 boxes, and spans the years 1616 – 2005.  The collection was assembled by McDowell based on his interest in the subject matter, and includes correspondence, photographs (including photographic prints, daguerreotypes, tintypes, ambrotypes, and stereographs), memorial cards, jewelry, hairwork, scrapbooks, ledgers, newsclippings, and artifacts.
Acquisition Information: Purchased from Laurence Senelick in 2012.
Processing Information: Benn P. Joseph, 2013.
Separated Materials: Books and a selection of other published materials from the Death Collection have been cataloged individually.
Conditions Governing Access: There are no restrictions on use of the materials in the department for research; all patrons must comply with federal copyright regulations.
Repository: Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections
Deering Library, Level 3
1970 Campus Drive
Evanston, IL,
Phone: 847-491-3635

Biographical/Historical Information

Michael McEachern McDowell was the author of a number of horror novels, including The Amulet (1979), Cold Moon Over Babylon (1980), and The Elementals (1981), as well as six serialized novels known as the Blackwater series (1983). He also has screenwriting credits for Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice and The Nightmare Before Christmas, and wrote for the TV series Tales from the Darkside. McDowell was born June 1, 1950 in Enterprise, Alabama, to an accountant and a social worker, and attended public schools in southern Alabama until 1968. He earned highest honors at Harvard University, graduating in 1972, and in 1978 was awarded his doctorate degree in English and American Literature from Brandeis University.

McDowell began writing in college, and after graduating worked to support himself as a teacher, a theater critic, and a secretary at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before royalties began paying his way. His first novel, The Amulet, won McDowell particular praise for his ability to balance mundane normality with supernatural activity. McDowell was adept at writing within many genres, and collaborated with Dennis Schuetz under the joint pseudonym “Nathan Aldyne” to write four gay detective novels between 1980 and 1986 (Vermillion, Cobalt, Slate, and Canary). McDowell preferred to work in such fiction genres as horror and detective stories, and also wrote under the pseudonyms Axel Young, Mike McCray, and Preston Macadam, the latter two related to men's novels about rogue mercenaries written in collaboration with John Preston.

McDowell moved to Medford, Massachusetts in November 1973. After becoming engaged with the film industry in Hollywood, McDowell began shuttling back and forth between Boston and Los Angeles in 1985. By 1986 he had rented a flat in West Hollywood, and co-founded Pecos Productions. McDowell found success in film and TV writing, penning scripts for Tales from the Darkside and Steven Spielberg’s Amazing Stories. In 1988 he co-wrote the screenplay for Beetlejuice with Warren Skaaren, which was based on an original story by McDowell and Larry Wilson about a dead couple returning home. He went on to write screenplays for Nightmare Before Christmas in 1993 and Stephen King’s Thinner in 1996.

By 1994 McDowell had returned to Boston full-time to stay with his partner, Laurence Senelick, and taught screenwriting at Boston University and Tufts University. McDowell continued to write commissioned screenplay treatments. Shortly after McDowell’s return to Boston, he was diagnosed with AIDS. He died in Boston on December 27, 1999, at the age of 49, from AIDS-related illness. Tabitha King, wife of author Stephen King, completed an unfinished McDowell novel, Candles Burning, which was published in 2006.

For McDowell, whose dissertation at Brandeis was titled “American Attitudes Towards Death, 1825-1865,” the Death Collection was a conscious accumulation. It was primarily acquired from antique stores and antiquarian dealers throughout the 1970s.

Scope and Content

The Michael McDowell Death Collection is comprised of 76 boxes, and spans the years 1616 – 2005.  The collection was assembled by McDowell based on his interest in the subject matter, and includes correspondence, photographs (including photographic prints, daguerreotypes, tintypes, ambrotypes, and stereographs), memorial cards, jewelry, hairwork, scrapbooks, ledgers, newsclippings, and artifacts.  In most cases the items in this collection were purchased by McDowell, or were given to him by friends and colleagues.

The collection is organized into nine series: correspondence, bills, and other documents; photographs and prints; memorial cards; jewelry and hairwork; materials relating to the funeral industry; documentation of psychic and spiritualist activities; scrapbooks and ledgers; newsclippings; and a variety of artifacts and oversize materials.

The Correspondence, Bills, and Other Documents series consists of three boxes and one oversize folder, and includes the majority of the paper documents in the collection. Included here are a variety of items, but the series contains numerous invoices, mostly for funeral-related services.  Some older invoices can be found that document digging graves or constructing coffins.  There are also a number of letters of condolence, written mostly to family members, as well as letters that notify the recipient of the death of a friend or family member.  These letters document the deaths of individual people in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and often describe the process in detail.  These letters were obtained by McDowell for their artifactual value, and do not relate to him or his family.

Also present in great number in this series are postcards, which depict images of executions, mass burials and burial sites, funeral processions, mummified bodies, and other death-related imagery.  Although these postcards were collected by McDowell for the images they presented, some include postmarks and contain messages written on the back.  These messages are not typically of great significance, although in some cases they do indicate that the sender of the postcard was present at the event depicted.  Additional items represented in this series include a death certificate, cemetery deeds, an undertaker’s license, funeral tickets and invitations, and a stay of execution document.

The Photographs and Prints series contains the majority of the photographic materials in the collection, and includes many formats.   The first box in this series (Box 5) contains a portion of loose photographs, consisting of various funeral scenes and dissection scenes, as well as numerous 1970s-1980s-era photos from Curley Fikes, a Jasper, Alabama-based photographer who also worked as the Walker County (Alabama) coroner sometime in the 1970s.  The “Curley” photos are in both color and black-and-white, and were primarily taken for police use.  Events depicted by Curley mostly include automobile and train accidents, as well as murder and suicide scenes, and are often very graphic images.

Following box 5, the next ten boxes contain photographs arranged topically using McDowell’s original descriptive scheme (“Accident scenes,” “Atrocities,” etc.).  Boxes 14-16 contains stereograph cards, which have an internal arrangement similar to the rest of McDowell’s descriptive terms.  Of note here is the section focused on “Dead babies and children,” which is the largest, and shows an extensive array of 19th-century post-mortem photography examples.  This section of photographs includes numerous carte-de-visite photographs and cabinet cards, as well as silver gelatin prints.

Next are the cased photographs, in boxes 17-20, consisting of daguerreotypes, tintypes, and ambrotypes.  These cased photos  also portray post-mortem subjects, both adults and children.

Lastly, the oversize folders 21-22 include prints on paper and silk, chromolithographs, and large photographic prints.  These materials portray funeral and mourning scenes, as well as other memento mori-style imagery.

The next series, Memorial and Funeral Cards, includes boxes 23 through 27, and contains individual memorial cards, announcements, and invitations to funerals dating from the 1830s up until c. 1990.  These bulk of these cards date between 1870 and 1930, and come from either the United States, Great Britain, or France.

The Jewelry and Hairwork series includes four boxes, and contains numerous examples of mourning brooches, pins, and ribbons.  These items of jewelry are typically black, and are fashioned from materials such as wood, metal, and glass.  The hairwork in this series includes actual hair wreaths along with smaller unwoven clippings.  Most, but not all of the hair samples found in this series were likely taken post-mortem.

Materials relating to the Funeral Industry are contained in three boxes, the most extensive of which contains headstone design samples in the 1960s-1970s.  These samples are presented in a catalog-type format, with manufacturer specifications usually included.  In addition to these samples, box 33 also includes a small number of burial gown advertisements from the Decatur Coffin Company, of Decatur, Illinois from the 1940s.  These advertisements are illustrations of women wearing funeral gowns, and also include manufacturer information.

This series also includes pamphlets and advertisements from coroners and funeral homes, mostly from the 1960s.  A small collection of matchbooks advertising these services can also be found here.  Of particular note in box 34 is the traveling salesman’s kit of tombstone designs, c. 1935, which is a small wooden case with a handle.  This case contains various small reproductions of grave markers that would have been used to assist customers in choosing a type of monument.  This box also contains flags and placards to be used on cars in funeral processions, as well as a package of white gloves from the “National Casket Company.”

The Psychics and Spiritualism series, which includes boxes 35 through 43, contains a comparatively extensive group of materials on the First Spiritualist Church.  This organization first formed in 1875 in Volusia County, Florida, about 25 miles southwest of Daytona Beach.  The materials found here are from later in the organization’s existence, range from 1901 to 1957, and include the group’s constitution and bylaws, as well as numerous photographs.

Also included in this series are a number of spirit photographs.  Although many of those found here do not include attribution information, a number of them are identified as the work of Edward Wyllie and William Mumler.  Also included here are spirit photos of the spiritualist Georgiana Houghton, which depict her with spirits and bear annotations.  These have been arranged at the end of box 40, with additional Houghton items in box 36.  Other spirit photographs are arranged  in albums, some of which include annotations.  Box 42 contains spirit photos as stereographs, as well as a selection of stereographs from the Lake Pleasant spiritualist campground in Montague, Massachusetts.  Box 39 contains photographs of Camp Chesterfield, in Indiana, as well as other unidentified spirit camps.

The next series contains Scrapbooks and Ledgers, and spans six boxes.  There are several items of note in this series, starting with boxes 45 and 46, which contain the business records of Joseph P. Crosby, Funeral Undertaker and Director, who was based in Roxbury, Massachusetts.  These ledgers include extensive information about each burial conducted by the business, including costs of various services, cause of death, and demographic information.  Some ledgers have been annotated by McDowell, and indicate areas of study that interested him.  Both ledgers in box 45 are the same, as one is a handwritten copy of the other.

Also of note in this series is “The Account of the Number of Persons that have Died in the Year 1744, Medfield,” which is an account of deaths in Medfield, Massachusetts dating back to 1744.  The ledger is handwritten and includes many names, including that of Hannah Adams, writer and historian of religions, who was born in Medfield.  Another notable item in this series is the scrapbook on the death and funeral of Sarah Cobb Rucker, which includes numerous photos, telegrams and letters of condolence from friends and family members.  Rucker was the wife of Tinsley W. Rucker and daughter of Gen. Howell Cobb.

The Newsclippings series is limited to just a single half-size box, and includes a wide variety of clippings that include advertisements for funeral-related services, obituaries, and topical articles related to mortality.  Also included here are a number of loose items and clippings from Free Lunch, a literary magazine.

The largest series in extent is Artifacts and Oversize Materials, which includes 25 boxes of items that take on a variety of formats.  Materials found in this series may share a topical similarity to items found in earlier sections of the collection, but have been stored separately due to their odd size or extensive need of conservation work.  This series includes a sizeable collection of coffin plates that range in date from 1851-1937, as well as numerous framed memorial designs and collages.  Some items of particular note in this series are a framed and hand-colored Kaddish calendar, a brass grave marker from the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and a framed memorial panel (painted paper on wood) dedicated to a large family, including death dates, all c. 1706-1727. Also of interest is a Spanish oil painting of a child, post-mortem, acquired from a shop in Kensington High Street, London in 1978, and probably done some time in the late 1500s or early 1600s.



Death care industry--United States--HIstory

Death--Social aspects--United States--History

Death--Symbolic aspects--United States

Mourning customs--United States--History

Mourning jewelry--United States

Spirit portraits

Container List / Contents

  • Correspondence, Bills, and Other Documents, 1616-1989
    • The Casket, handwritten draft of serial publication (with receipt for payment), 1850-1887Box 1, Folder 1
    • Cemetery deed, Mount Hope Cemetery, Belchertown, Mass., Oct. 1869Box 1, Folder 2
    • Certificate of Death, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Feb. 27, 1894Box 1, Folder 3
    • Deputization document, Edwin Hoyt execution, Bridgeport, Conn., May 13, 1880Box 1, Folder 4
    • Envelopes, n.d.Box 1, Folder 5
    • Family record, Thomason family, births, marriages, and deaths, 1829-1880Box 1, Folder 6
    • Funeral ticket (Hogarth, engraving by Thomas Cook), 1809?Box 1, Folder 7
    • “Grand Funeral March,” Charles Sumner, sketch for sheet music cover, n.d.Box 1, Folder 8
    • Invoice, American Burial Case Co., Cincinnati, Ohio, Dec. 18, 1876Box 1, Folder 9
    • Invoice, Byron Read, Funeral Director, Sept. 29, 1913Box 1, Folder 10
    • Invoice, burial and monument, Worcester, Mass., March 18, 1939Box 1, Folder 11
    • Invoice, C.H. Robinson Marble Monuments and Tombstones, Nov. 1, 1875Box 1, Folder 12
    • Invoice and check, “to bury the body of William Brozie who died this day in the Home of the Friendless”, Nov. 1879Box 1, Folder 13
    • Invoice, Edward E. Burns and Son Funeral Home, Nov. 4, 1947Box 1, Folder 14
    • Invoice for digging grave, Town of Newbury-Port (Mass.?), March 1789Box 1, Folder 15
    • Invoice for digging grave, Campton, N.H. (handwritten), July 2, 1827Box 1, Folder 16
    • Invoice, George H. Bellows, Undertaker and Coffin Maker, Troy, N.Y., Nov. 27, 1871Box 1, Folder 17
    • Invoice, Holy Cross Cemetery, Malden, Mass., May 16, 1921Box 1, Folder 18
    • Invoice, J.H. Mulville, Undertaker and Funeral Director, Dec. 4, 1901Box 1, Folder 19
    • Invoice, James H. Corcoran, Undertaker and Funeral Director, Lynn, Mass., Dec. 29, 1923Box 1, Folder 20
    • Invoice, John W. Burns, Undertaker and Coffin Maker, Troy, N.Y., Dec. 2, 1871Box 1, Folder 21
    • Invoice, Kimball Brothers Granite and Marble, Salem, Mass., Oct. 1, 1909Box 1, Folder 22
    • Invoice, Leonard Fairbanks, Undertaker, Milford, Mass., Aug. 1, 1879Box 1, Folder 23
    • Invoice, The London General Mourning Warehouse, London, England, 1848Box 1, Folder 24
    • Invoice, Michael P. Daly, Undertaker and Embalmer, New York, Nov. 9, 1917Box 1, Folder 25
    • Invoice, William L. Lockhart, Manufacturer and Dealer in Caskets, E. Cambridge, Mass., March 23, 1876Box 1, Folder 26
    • Invoices, Frank S. Howard, Furnishing Undertaker, 1900-1901Box 1, Folder 27
    • Invoices, Woodlawn Cemetery, Boston, Mass., 1900Box 1, Folder 28
    • Jury ruling, suicide, Aug. 8, 1855Box 1, Folder 29
    • Letter, Bangor, Maine, Jan. 1918Box 1, Folder 30
    • Letter, Bessie Sinclair, n.d.Box 1, Folder 31
    • Letter, Bessie Sinclair, from O. Quinn (Scotland Yard), Jan. 7, 1911Box 1, Folder 32
    • Letter, Burning Springs, W. Virginia, June 30, 1873Box 1, Folder 33
    • Letter, “Burying the poor,” Boston, July 31, 1791Box 1, Folder 34
    • Letter, condolence, George C. Wallace to James Mulkey, Montgomery, Ala., Jan. 12, 1978Box 1, Folder 35
    • Letter, condolence, Lucien Gardner to James Mulkey, Montgomery, Ala., July 2, 1943Box 1, Folder 36
    • Letter, death notification, Brighton, Mass., c. 1830Box 1, Folder 37
    • Letter, death notification, Brundidge, Ala., 1920Box 1, Folder 38
    • Letter, death notification, Geneva, Ala., Dec. 1941Box 1, Folder 39
    • Letter, death notification, Grafton County, N.H., March 1883Box 1, Folder 40
    • Letter, death notification, Manchester (Eng.), Dec. 16, 1909Box 1, Folder 41
    • Letter, death notification, Scottsville, N.Y., Aug. 13, 1837Box 1, Folder 42
    • Letter, death notification, Toledo, Ohio, April 9, 1860Box 1, Folder 43
    • Letter, death notification, Waltham, Mass., Oct. 13, 1894Box 1, Folder 44
    • Letter, death notification, Wollaston, Mass., Oct. 1907Box 1, Folder 45
    • Letter, deeds of grave, Roxbury (Boston), Mass., May 25, 1928Box 1, Folder 46
    • Letter, description of Emma’s death from diphtheria, 1865?Box 1, Folder 47
    • Letter, “The flowers are withering on my little sister’s grave,” Mt. Vernon, N.H., April 26, 1907Box 1, Folder 48
    • Letter, “I think you must be lonely since the death of two of your family,” Manchester, Nov. 24, 1872Box 1, Folder 49
    • Letter, Virgil Young, Jan. 21, 1989Box 1, Folder 50
    • Letter, Wilcox Girl’s Club, Malden, Mass, Aug. 1937Box 1, Folder 51
    • Letters and newsclippings, Gilbert Brigham faked suicides, 1904-1905Box 1, Folder 52
    • Letters, Ann Smith to Admiral Arthur Zumwalt and U.N. Ambassador to U.S.S.R., June 21-22, 1977Box 1, Folder 53
    • Letters, Prince Webber correspondence with Charles Earle, 1879Box 1, Folder 54
    • Letters, Prince Webber correspondence from “Cousin Ellen” about a relative’s death, Edgartown and Hyannis, Mass, c.1860-1877Box 1, Folder 55
    • Letters, Prince Webber correspondence with Sophonia Earl Webber, 1860-1895Box 1, Folder 56
    • Letters regarding illness of a relative, New York, 1929Box 1, Folder 57
    • “Lines written on the death of a friend,” handwritten verse, c. 1880Box 1, Folder 58
    • Membership card, Friends of Mount Auburn Cemetery, 1990Box 1, Folder 59
    • Memorial service insurance policy documents, Montgomery, Ala., 1958-1959Box 1, Folder 60
    • Morris (Mary and Michael) burial location, handwritten note, c. 1913Box 1, Folder 61
    • Mourners’ carriage list, Aug. 16, 1908Box 1, Folder 62
    • Print, “Funeral of William of Orange in Delft”, 1616Box 1, Folder 63
    • Receipt and cemetery deed, Woodlawn Cemetery, Green Bay, Wisc, Dec. 1890Box 1, Folder 64
    • Receipt for “making a coffin” (handwritten), Town of Newbury-Port (Mass.?), March 1765Box 1, Folder 65
    • Receipt, Mason and Nicholl, Funeral Directors and Embalmers, New York, May 1890Box 1, Folder 66
    • Receipt, New York Bay Cemetery, Nov. 10, 1863Box 1, Folder 67
    • Scene from “The Brides’ Tragedy” (typescript), n.d.Box 1, Folder 68
    • Song lyrics (typescripts) for “The Dying Boy,” “I’ve Gathered Them In,” and “The Death of the Tailor”, n.d.Box 1, Folder 69
    • “Spirit rapping unveiled!” handwritten review, c. 1853Box 1, Folder 70
    • Supplementary reading list (poems), Senelick, n.d.Box 1, Folder 71
    • Telegraph message, “All well”, Nov. 20, 1862Box 1, Folder 72
    • Telegraph message, “Your mother died this morning”, Aug. 20, 1872Box 1, Folder 73
    • "Tribute for the memory of her late Majesty Queen Caroline,” memorial display of clippings and verse, Caroline of Brunswick, c. 1821Box 1, Folder 74
    • Undertaker’s license, Boston Health Department, 1924Box 1, Folder 75
    • United States Internal Revenue order form for Opium or Coca Leaves, W.A. Cross Co., Youngstown, Ohio, 1935Box 1, Folder 76
    • Univest Home Loan, 1989Box 1, Folder 77
    • Verse, “composed on the death of Mary Ann Drew,” handwritten, n.d.Box 1, Folder 78
    • Wanted poster, Dr. George T. Dawley, Waupaca, Wisc., June 1906Box 1, Folder 79
    • Will and Testament, Baltimore, Ohio, Jan. 1, 1921Box 1, Folder 80
    • Will and Testament, Newark, N.J., Sept. 23, 1885Box 1, Folder 81
    • Will and Testament, San Gabriel, Calif., June 22, 1923Box 1, Folder 82
    • Postcards (186 items), depicting images of executions, mass burials and burial sites, consolation, funerals, funeral processions, grave markers, cemeteries, undertakers, churches and cathedrals, mummified bodies, and voodoo ceremonies., c. 1905-1980Box 2, Folder 1
    • Postcards (180 items), depicting images of funerals, funeral processions, mummified bodies, churches and cathedrals, burial sites, statuary, cemeteries, and undertakers., 1906-1976Box 3, Folder 1
    • Certificate, Board of Registration in Embalming, James Shea, January 1906Oversize 4, Item 1
    • Certificate, stay of execution for Joseph Milano, Bronx, New York, 1920Oversize 4, Item 2
    • Funeral invitation, Elizabeth Kirby, Tours, France, 1883Oversize 4, Item 3
    • Letters, condolence, 1897-1899Oversize 4, Item 4
    • Obituary, James Mills Babcock, 1862Oversize 4, Item 5
  • Photographs and Prints, 1809-1980s
    • Album, containing images of interior of destroyed building (possibly during wartime), c. 1930sBox 5, Folder 1
    • Correspondence, “Curley” photos, Jasper, Alabama, 1970s-1980sBox 5, Folder 2
    • “Curley” photos, Jasper, Alabama, 1970s-1980sBox 5, Folder 3
    • “Curley” photos, Jasper, Alabama, 1970s-1980sBox 5, Folder 4
    • “Curley” photos, Jasper, Alabama (negatives), 1970s-1980sBox 5, Folder 5
    • Dissection scenes (medical students), c. 1880's-Box 5, Folder 6
    • Funeral scenes (various), 1870s-1920sBox 5, Folder 7
    • Funeral scenes (various), 1870s-1920sBox 5, Folder 8
    • Galapagos burial site, 1980Box 5, Folder 9
    • “He books a ghost from the Bronx,” medical school skeleton, 1937Box 5, Folder 10
    • McDowell, Michael, dot-matrix printout of photograph, c. 1980sBox 5, Folder 11
    • Print, “Arms of the Undertakers” (Hogarth’s Works, J. Dicks, 313 The Strand, London), c. 1880Box 5, Folder 12
    • Print, “Esequie” (hooded funeral of the brotherhood), chromolithograph, 1839Box 5, Folder 13
    • Print, “To the memory of Mrs. Jane Chase, who died Oct. 19th, A.D. 1838, 1838Box 5, Folder 14
    • Prints, various, 20th cent., n.d.Box 5, Folder 15
    • Prints, various, 1980sBox 5, Folder 16
    • Unidentified, n.d.Box 5, Folder 18
    • Unidentified residence, c. 1890sBox 5, Folder 19
    • “White Russian funeral,” Cherashov, Russia, c. 1920Box 5, Folder 20
    • Travel (?) photo series, c. 1920Box 5, Folder 17
    • Accident scenes (89 items), c. 1940s-1970sBox 6, Folder 1
    • “Atrocities” (Russia, Mexico, Philippines, Germany, China, United States, Afghanistan, and Uncategorized) (100 items), c. 1860s-1950sBox 7, Folder 1
    • “Dead babies and children” (152 items), c. 1870s-1920sBox 8, Folder 1
    • Floral arrangements and statuary (32 items), c. 1870s-1920sBox 9, Folder 1
    • Funeral scenes and mourning (77 items), c. 1870s-1920sBox 10, Folder 1
    • Funeral scenes and mourning (29 items), c. 1870s-1920sBox 11, Folder 1
    • Murders, suicides, hangings, and executions (79 items), c. 1930s-1960sBox 12, Folder 1
    • Oddities / Portraits (30 items), c. 1890s-1980sBox 13, Folder 1
    • Stereographs: “Death and Dying” (8); “Grisly and Gruesome” (5); “Horrors of War” (6); “Floral Tributes” (36), 1875-1903 and n.d.Box 14, Folder 1
    • Stereographs: “Graveyards” (47), 1873-1901 and n.d.Box 15, Folder 1
    • Stereographs: “Natural Disasters” (2); “Funerals and Wakes” (22), 1874-1889 and n.d.Box 16, Folder 1
    • Cased daguerreotypes (8), post-mortem images of adults and children, c. 1850sBox 17, Folder 1
    • Cased daguerreotypes (9), post-mortem images of adults and children, c. 1850sBox 18, Folder 1
    • Cased ambrotypes (7), post-mortem images of adults and children, c. 1860sBox 19, Folder 1
    • Cased (6) and uncased (17) tintypes, post-mortem images of adults and children, c. 1860sBox 20, Folder 1
    • Photographs (9 items), including funeral scenes (c. 1880s), a wood carved memorial by George Rawlins (1883), and photographs of the lynching of John Holmes and Thomas Thurmond (1933), c. 1880-1933Oversize 21, Item 1
    • Prints (15 items), including a memorial print on silk (1880), “to the memory of…” chromolithograph (c. 1870s), “Explanation of the View of Gibraltar and Bay Taken from the Battery, called The Devil's Tongue,” (1809), c. 1809-1980sOversize 22, Item 1
  • Memorial and Funeral Cards, 1830s-1990s
    • Album, memorial cards (59) pasted down, 1839-1873Box 23, Folder 1
    • Album, memorial cards (140) pasted down, 1842-1876Box 23, Folder 2
    • Album, memorial cards and announcements (50), 1860s-1890sBox 24, Folder 1
    • Album, memorial cards and announcements (39), 1860s-1890sBox 24, Folder 2
    • Sympathy cards (Geneva [Alabama] Florist and Gift Shop) and thank you cards for Mildred Mulkey, 1980Box 24, Folder 3
    • Memorial cards, Helen Gingrass and various, c. 1919 and n.d.Box 24, Folder 4
    • Memorial cards and announcements, 1830s (2); 1840s (2); 1850s (2); 1860s (9); 1870s (12); 1880s (46); 1890s (48), 1830s-1890sBox 25, Folder 1
    • Memorial cards and announcements, 1890s (30); 1900s-1940s (44); 1950s-1990s (7); undated (24), 1890s-1990s and n.d.Box 26, Folder 1
    • Funeral notice, Henderson, Texas, 1893Box 27, Folder 1
  • Jewelry & Hairwork, 1807-1899
    • Coins, memorial (3), c. 1825Box 28, Folder 1
    • Hairwork, “A lock of mother’s hair”, Oct. 28, 1892Box 28, Folder 2
    • Hairwork, Capt. W.W. Mumm, 21st Army Corps Department of the Cumberland, Nashville, Tenn., c. 1863Box 28, Folder 3
    • Hairwork, “Dear little Mary was born Sept. 29, died Nov. 20”, 1829Box 28, Folder 4
    • Hairwork, “Edith’s hair” and unlabeled hair (2 envelopes), n.d.Box 28, Folder 5
    • Hairwork, “Henry’s hair, 2 years old” and “Henry’s, 5 years old", n.d.Box 28, Folder 6
    • Hairwork, “Mr. Sawyer’s Hair, taken off before burial”, Feb. 7, 1899Box 28, Folder 7
    • Hairwork, “My daughter Mary White’s hair”, April 24, 1807Box 28, Folder 8
    • Hairwork, “Thomas James’ hair, 2½ years old”, n.d.Box 28, Folder 9
    • Hairwork, “Vernon’s hair, born Oct. 12, 1830, died April 6, 1836”, 1836Box 28, Folder 10
    • Hairwork with photograph, “Lizzie”, c. 1880sBox 28, Folder 11
    • Ribbon, “Pocasset Club / We Mourn Our Loss”, n.d.Box 28, Folder 12
    • Mourning brooches (12); “Woodlawn 20 Years of Service (1); Los Angeles Police pin #714 (1), c. 1850s-1950sBox 29, Folder 1
    • Mourning pin and ribbon, n.d.Box 30, Folder 1
    • Mourning pins, decorative (6), n.d.Box 30, Folder 2
    • Mourning pins, plain (“Superfine Mourning Pins, Germany”), 11 boxes, c. 1890Box 30, Folder 3
    • Mourning ribbon, Gen. Gilbert Mottier Lafayette, Philadelphia, 1834Box 30, Folder 4
    • Mourning ribbon, Fidelity Lodge, No. 78, Spencer, Mass., n.d.Box 30, Folder 5
    • Small box, B.F. Burgess & Son, Manufacturers of Hair Work, 303 Washington St., Boston, containing hairwork of “Aunt Mary, c. 1863Box 31, Folder 1
    • Small box, C.F. Gunther, Confectioner, Chicago, containing hairwork, “Hattie’s curl, cut 1882 Sept 4, 1882Box 31, Folder 2
    • Small framed display box with hairwork wreath, “Hair of Sister Emilia, drowned when only 3 years old, in the year of 1877”, 1877Box 31, Folder 3
    • Small framed display box with hairwork loops, from members of the Wilson family, c. 1870sBox 31, Folder 4
  • Funeral Industry, 1910-1991
    • Headstone design samples (89 items, color and b&w), photographs and illustrations, 1960s-1970sBox 32, Folder 1
    • American Cemetery, article clippings, 1987-1991Box 33, Folder 1
    • Burial gown advertisements, Decatur Coffin Company, c. 1940sBox 33, Folder 2
    • Business cards and advertisements, funeral industry, n.d.Box 33, Folder 3
    • Fan, Davis Funeral Home, Boston, Mass., n.d.Box 33, Folder 4
    • Green Mount Cemetery, Baltimore, Maryland, pamphlet, c. 1970sBox 33, Folder 5
    • Matchbooks from coroners and funeral homes, c. 1960sBox 33, Folder 6
    • Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Mass., documentation, 1960sBox 33, Folder 7
    • Mountain Grove Cemetery, pamphlet, c. 1960sBox 33, Folder 8
    • Photographs (4): Undertakers and funeral homes, 1910 and n.d.Box 33, Folder 9
    • Automatic Sealing Burial Vault (sample, ceramic, 3” x 6.5”), n.d.Box 34, Folder 1
    • Box containing chalk and powder “for hiding bruises and black eyes”, c. 1940sBox 34, Folder 2
    • Funeral car flag, purple/white, c. 1940sBox 34, Folder 3
    • Funeral placard for car, black, c. 1930sBox 34, Folder 4
    • Funeral placard for car, purple, c. 1940sBox 34, Folder 5
    • Traveling salesman’s kit of tombstone designs, c. 1935Box 34, Folder 6
    • White gloves, package, “National Casket Company”, c. 1930sBox 34, Folder 7
  • Psychics and Spiritualism, 1862-2005
    • Album containing spirit photographs (annotated), c. 1870sBox 35, Folder 1
    • Album containing spirit photographs (annotated), Georgiana Houghton, c. 1870sBox 36, Folder 1
    • Chronicles of the Photographs of Spiritual Beings and Phenomena, by Miss Houghton, 1882Box 36, Folder 2
    • Album containing photographs of spirit camp, Grand Lake, Colorado, c. 1920sBox 37, Folder 1
    • Album containing spirit photographs (annotated), Schöfft Béla (photographer), Hungary, 1872Box 37, Folder 2
    • Album, small portrait album (mostly blank), n.d.Box 37, Folder 3
    • Album containing spirit photographs (annotated), 1871-1872Box 37, Folder 4
    • “Bangs Williams Insulated Planchette!”, planchette in original box, 1868Box 38, Folder 1
    • Carte de visites of pencil portraits by Pet Anderson, Spirit Artist (27), c. 1874Box 39, Folder 1
    • Photos of various unidentified spirit camps (34), c. 1940sBox 39, Folder 2
    • Photos and postcards from Camp Chesterfield, Indiana (17), 1935-1941Box 39, Folder 3
    • Exhibit cards, Keith deLellis Gallery (spirit photographs), 2002-2005Box 40, Folder 1
    • First Spiritualist Church: Constitution and amendments (typescript), 1930Box 40, Folder 2
    • First Spiritualist Church: Constitution and bylaws (annotated), 1928Box 40, Folder 3
    • First Spiritualist Church: Photographs, 1901-1949Box 40, Folder 4
    • First Spiritualist Church: Photographs (portraits), c. 1920sBox 40, Folder 5
    • First Spiritualist Church: Photographs, Beatrice Johnson, 1940sBox 40, Folder 6
    • First Spiritualist Church: Photographs, Degermark family, 1936-1950Box 40, Folder 7
    • First Spiritualist Church: Photographs, Rosebraugh & Stehman, 1940-1957Box 40, Folder 8
    • Letter, soldier to sweetheart, regarding psychic phenomena, 1862Box 40, Folder 9
    • Readings: “A pack of cards equal to the Bible”, c. 1890sBox 40, Folder 10
    • Readings: Clay Burton Vance, 1914Box 40, Folder 11
    • Readings: Madame I’oma, card, c. 1910sBox 40, Folder 12
    • Readings: “Miss Alice A. Morgan, Soul Reader” and “Mme. Jamelah’s Palmistry Studio”, c. 1950sBox 40, Folder 13
    • Readings: “Mrs. Bell, Southern-born psychic with the secrets of the deep south”, c. 1980sBox 40, Folder 14
    • Readings: “Phrenological character of Moses Gibson, Oct. 30, 1967Box 40, Folder 15
    • Readings: Raymond Garrett Heermance, “conscious medium and international speaker”, 1933Box 40, Folder 16
    • Readings: Roxroy Studios, 1911Box 40, Folder 17
    • Readings: S.Z. Barney, “Clairvoyant and Indian Doctor”, 1894Box 40, Folder 18
    • Spirit photographs (28): Edward Wyllie, with annotations, c. 1909Box 40, Folder 19
    • Spirit photographs (2): Georgiana Houghton, 1872Box 40, Folder 20
    • Spirit photographs (4): William Mumler, c. 1860sBox 40, Folder 21
    • Spirit photographs (59), most including annotations, 1873-1904 and n.d.Box 41, Folder 1
    • Prints, “Mormon’s attempt to raise the dead” and “Sarah Terwilligar’s attempt to fly to Heaven, n.d.Box 41, Folder 2
    • Stereographs: Lake Pleasant spiritualist campground, Montague, Mass. (21), c. 1879 and n.dBox 42, Folder 1
    • Stereographs: Spirit photographs (24), 1872-1893 and n.d.Box 42, Folder 2
    • Illustrated Annual of Phrenology and Physiognomy , 1867Oversize 43, Item 1
    • Print, Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, “Spirits and their manifestations—An evening séance”, April 2, 1887Oversize 43, Item 2
    • Print, Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, “Massachusetts—The recent exposures of alleged materializing mediums in Boston…”, May 12, 1888Oversize 43, Item 3
    • Harper’s Weekly: A Journal of Civilization, “Spiritual Photography”, May 8, 1869Oversize 43, Item 4
  • Scrapbooks and Ledgers, 1744-1982
    • Clergyman’s appointment planner (blank), 1982Box 44, Folder 1
    • “Wild Animals I Have Known” (photocopy of scrapbook), Lake Julia Sanatorium, 1938-1947Box 44, Folder 2
    • Ledger, Joseph P. Crosby, Funeral Undertaker and Director, Roxbury, Mass., June 1894-May 1899Box 45, Folder 1
    • Ledger (handwritten copy), Joseph P. Crosby, Funeral Undertaker and Director, Roxbury, Mass., June 1894-May 1899Box 45, Folder 2
    • Ledger, Joseph P. Crosby, Funeral Undertaker and Director, Roxbury, Mass., June 1899-July 1905Box 46, Folder 1
    • Ledger, Joseph P. Crosby, Funeral Undertaker and Director, Roxbury, Mass., Nov. 1910-Nov. 1921Box 46, Folder 2
    • Scrapbook (unidentified), incl. parts of Valentine cards and clippings from Godey’s Lady’s Book, Harper’s, and Journal of Civilization , c. 1890sBox 47, Folder 1
    • Scrapbook, death and funeral of Sarah Cobb Rucker (Mrs. T.W. Rucker), incl. photos, letters, and telegrams, Athens, Georgia, August 1933Box 48, Folder 1
    • Ledger, “The Account of the Number of Persons that have Died in the Year 1744, Medfield” (Mass.), 1744-1848Box 49, Folder 2
    • Souvenir album, “Rev. Charles Van Soon is dead!” (4p.), c. 1870sBox 49, Folder 1
    • Free Lunch literary magazine, various materials, c. 1983Box 50, Folder 1
    • Miscellaneous clippings, 1800s-1930sBox 50, Folder 2
    • Miscellaneous clippings, 1940s-1980sBox 50, Folder 3
    • “Modern documentation clippings”, c. 1980sBox 50, Folder 4
  • Artifacts and Oversize Materials, 1727-1980s
    • Casket for small child, wood, n.d.Box 51, Item 1
    • Coffin plates (17), 1851-1889Box 52, Item 1
    • Coffin plates (15), 1890-1937 and n.d.Box 53, Item 1
    • Coffin plates and grave markers, incl. fire dept. and GAR [Grand Army of the Republic] (9), 1867 and n.dBox 54, Item 1
    • Decorative tombstone, plaster, “O! Death.”, c. 1980sBox 55, Item 1
    • Photograph cut-out and pasted onto wood backing, man standing at grave marker of “Jeff Feigl, 2nd Lieut. F.A.R.C.”, n.d.Box 55, Item 2
    • Flag (American 45-star flag), “In Memoriam, Willard C. Kinsley Post 139, G.A.R. [Grand Army of the Republic], Somerville, Mass., c. 1900Box 56, Item 1
    • Framed coffin plate with artificial flowers, “Alma McLeod, aged 6 years”, n.d.Box 57, Item 1
    • Framed photograph of mourning floral arrangement, funereal scene, c. 1890sBox 57, Item 2
    • Framed photograph of woman, “July 12th; 1869-Jan 25th; 1948”, 1948Box 58, Item 1
    • Framed photograph of the Adolph Wedekindt storefront, embalmer/undertaker, c. 1880sBox 58, Item 2
    • Framed memorial design, “In Memory of Charles C. Bradford”, 1865Box 59, Item 1
    • Framed memorial design, “Sacred to the Memory of Hannah H. Newell”, March 8, 1848Box 60, Item 1
    • Framed print of girl in yellow dress watching a bird, with attached note: “Rockwell by 6/13”, n.d.Box 60, Item 2
    • Framed design in metallic paper, with memorial card and photograph, “In Affectionate Remembrance of William Livesey”, May 30, 1868Box 61, Item 1
    • Framed photograph of seated woman, hand-colored, in plaster frame, n.d.Box 62, Item 1
    • Framed Kaddish calendar, with hand-colored designs, “Memorial of our mothers”, 1930-1981Box 63, Item 1
    • Framed Kaddish calendar, with hand-colored designs, “Memorial of my father”, 1946-1982Box 63, Item 2
    • Framed photograph of memorial flower arrangement in the shape of a harp, with ornate plaster frame, “Thomas Maguire, Aged 52 Years”, n.d.Box 64, Folder 1
    • Framed memorial panel, painted paper on wood, “Near this Place Lyeth Interr’d, the Body of Mrs. Eliz. Farrington, late Wife of Mr. Richard Farington, Citizen & Distiller of London…who Departed this Life 11th of August 1727. Aged 40 years.” Includes death dates of their twelve children, 1706-1727Box 65, Item 1
    • Framed memorial design with embossed floral pattern in paper, including initials “M.E.A.”, n.d.Box 66, Item 1
    • Framed embroidery on metallic mesh, “We Mourn Our Loss, n.d.Box 67, Item 1
    • Framed memorial print, Abraham Lincoln, “Ours the Cross / His the Crown / Assassinated April 14 1865,” published by H.H. Lloyd, 1865Box 67, Item 2
    • Framed collage of paintings by Percy W. Hastings, a paralyzed youth who painted images of flowers by mouth, including a narrative of his story and photographs of him at work, c. 1886Box 68, Item 1
    • Flat box with color print of woman’s portrait on top, n.d.Box 69, Item 1
    • Length of wooden dowel (3 inches), stained red, n.d.Box 69, Item 2
    • Metal tube with plunger, n.d.Box 69, Item 3
    • Small paper box, “White Metal Coffin Plates, 1 Doz. No. 132”, n.d.Box 69, Item 4
    • Grave marker (brass), Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, “Hudson 959,” Hudson, Mass., n.d.Box 70, Item 1
    • Miniature (HO scale) tombstones (13), “scenic details”, n.d.Box 71, Item 1
    • Memorial card in ornate wooden frame, “In Loving Remembrance of Clara S. Crocker”, 1888Box 72, Item 1
    • Hair wreath, probably of the family of Clara S. Crocker, c. 1888Box 72, Item 2
    • Oil painting of child, post-mortem, c. 1700sBox 73, Item 1
    • Orange binder, “e-z-tow,” part of original housing for photograph collection, n.d.Box 74, Item 1
    • Red binder, “Michael McDowell / Atrocities,” part of original housing for photograph collection, n.d.Box 74, Item 2
    • “Souvenir,” graveyard scene in blue glass circle, n.d.Box 75, Item 1
    • “Souvenir,” graveyard scene in white glass circle, n.d.Box 75, Item 2
    • Twins memorial box, James B. and Ambrose B. Wood, died at 10 years of age, includes photographs and hairwork, 1870Box 76, Item 1