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

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Weepers, circa 1885-1890
Courtesy of The Thanatos Archive

Beyond the Dark Veil: Post Mortem and Mourning Photography from The Thanatos Archive will be a compilation of more than 120 extraordinary and haunting photographs and related ephemera documenting 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 will take us on a journey through a fascinating, moving, and melancholically beautiful part of our past. 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. 

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 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.

The Begovich Gallery will produce a full color exhibition catalog, which will feature essays, images and historical background information on photography and memorial practices that relate to the memorial and post mortem images included in the exhibition.

For more information on The Thanatos Archive, please visit their website.