Thursday, September 24, 2009
An Unusual Funeral Card
[This post was written for the October 2009 Edition of the Graveyard Rabbits Carnival.]
I've written before here at Destination: Austin Family about funeral cards and the collection I've amassed over the years. Some of the cards are from the funerals of relatives where I was in attendance but the majority are from funerals which took place way before I was born.
One such example is the funeral card for my 1st cousin twice removed, Matthew McCrickert. Most funeral cards are in color and became popular with the advent of lithography in the late 1800s. They are commonly known as holy cards or funeral prayer cards since there would be a short prayer printed on the reverse and an image of Christ or a saint on the front. I remember finding these used as bookmarks by both my great-grandmother Therese McGinnes Austin and my mother over the years.
In the early days the cards would not be available at the funeral itself, but distributed by the family of the deceased at a later date. Only with modern advances of printing would the cards actually be available at the funeral home. Many of the modern cards in my collection are also laminated.
The card for Matthew McCrickert is unusual in that it is a bi-fold card and contains a small photo of him - the photo taken when he started his military service in the U.S. Army shortly after World War II. Matthew died in a military plane crash at Freehold, New Jersey on June 11, 1946 during a violent thunderstorm.
I'm curious if anyone else has similar funeral cards in their collection? Does anyone know how these were produced? I am assuming that a salesperson contacted the family of the deceased (getting the contact info from the funeral home) and sold them these cards. Any further information that I can add would be appreciated.
Photo: Funeral Card of Matthew McCrickert. Digital photograph. Privately held by Thomas MacEntee, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Chicago, Illinois. 2009.
© 2009, copyright Thomas MacEntee