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Victorian Post-mortem Photos

Victorian Post-mortem Photos

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A dead little girl surrounded by her dolls. Placing a child in a chair as if they had fallen asleep amongst their favorite toys was a common tableau in Victorian Momento Mori.

Drowned Alfred "Maxie" Sprangers (Born 3-10-1912) and his sister Johanna (7-14-1913) , who drowned after falling through the ice on Williams Lake near Williamsville, Michigan on January 6, 1923.

  • Winnie Stokes
    Winnie Stokes


a lost baby



mexican men with deceased children, dia de los muertos

Luiseando., In Mexico, today is El Día de Muertos. But today...

Belgium 1940

Twins in pram, outdoor post mortem.

  • Beverly Horvath
    Beverly Horvath

    I wonder if the died from the great flu epidemic...this is just so sad...

A mid-twentieth century snapshot showing an infant in a white coffin lying in the snow.

Paul Frecker - Nineteenth Century Photography

Post Mortem Young Girl Savannah MO Cabinet Card Photo Silver Gelatin


Electronics, Cars, Fashion, Collectibles, Coupons and More | eBay

memento mori

  • Nann Hudson Flowers
    Nann Hudson Flowers

    I have just learned about memorial photography. This is the saddest thing I've seen.

  • Andrea Sams
    Andrea Sams

    So sad..I just learned of this tradition..the saddest thing I've ever seen.wish the story of how,was included with the picture.

  • Marti West
    Marti West

    Andrea, that's the biggest draw back to this. Most photos don't have any story, and it gets so frustrating! This one, I'm happy to say, I knew.

  • Megan

    What is the story here? Did the mother die during birth?

  • Swanky Point of View
    Swanky Point of View

    Megan, Marti West mentions it in a comment above. The mother and two of the babies died.

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Post Mortem Photography: Baby Nugent by Antique Photo Album, via Flickr

  • Helen Cheadle
    Helen Cheadle

    Truly an Angelic little face.

ca. 1855, [post mortem portrait of a gentleman]

Post mortem or not post mortem, that is the question…

  • Marti West
    Marti West

    She might very well be, Rachel. She does have the curling fingers...

  • Deanna

    hmmm...hard to say.

  • j s
    j s

    Maybe it's just her driver's license pic...I know I've been confused for dead in mine

  • Deanna

    lol ^

  • William Mallory
    William Mallory

    She's dead. No question. They would set people up in real life situations and take a photo like this. Some people never had photos taken in their lifetime back then and this was the only way for the family to remember them. Fingers curling, expressionless face RIP.

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Post Mortem Photography - Virtual Teen Forums

Post Mortem Photography - Virtual Teen Forums
  • Randee Kioski
    Randee Kioski

    Why are the eyes open?

  • Steven Hair
    Steven Hair

    Sometimes the eyes were drew in with pencil after the photo.

  • Christina Lloyd-Burkitt
    Christina Lloyd-Burkitt

    The Photographer would do all they could to make the departed look alive

victorian post-mortem photos

Victorian Post-mortem Pictures, Images & Photos on Photobucket

Victorian post mortem photo

  • Kristin Cole
    Kristin Cole

    At first the living girl looked dead to me. Can you imagine how she must have felt having to pose like that.

  • Rachel Newman
    Rachel Newman

    I think that death was not as stigmatized as it is today. People had wakes in the home and the body wasn't immediately taken away after death and prettied up to look alive for days at a time. I think that people fear death more now than they did then.

  • Amy Herrmann
    Amy Herrmann

    I agree. They saw it all the time, up close and personal.

Post Mortem Photography

Post Mortem Photography - Virtual Teen Forums
  • Katie Allen
    Katie Allen

    there may be, they used stands to help living people stand still for very long times while they had the photo, they were not used for the dead only the living

  • William Mallory
    William Mallory

    That isn't correct Katie. People went to great lengths at times to have the dead seem alive back then. Stands were standard practice.

  • William Mallory
    William Mallory

    This was the only way for the family member, who commissioned the photo, to remember their loved ones. In many cases, as photography was rare.

  • Katie Allen
    Katie Allen not according to the Thanatos Archive who are kind of experts on this

  • William Mallory
    William Mallory

    Lol well I can't be right all of the time I guess. Thanks for bringing me up to speed. Some odd, odd traditions in the past.

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post mortem photography. wow

Postmortem Photography: The Aftermarket
  • Lyn Gray
    Lyn Gray

    This is fascinating and I first saw this in the movie The Others but never realised it was practiced so widely. It is kind of sad Cara. Especially the children

  • Leslie Mashmann
    Leslie Mashmann

    the murderer is quoted as say he felt bad because the baby smiled at him before he filled the poor little thing

  • Leslie Mashmann
    Leslie Mashmann

    whoops typo - he killed the poor little thing

  • Lyn Gray
    Lyn Gray

    Oh gosh was this family murdered? I didn't know that.

  • Lyn Gray
    Lyn Gray

    Ok I see the comment now about them being murdered. I never noticed it the first time around

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Post mortem

Post Mortem woman


Post Mortem Photography - PCA Forums

A particularly beautiful young girl laid out in the parlor, circa 1910. It was not uncommon to dress dead young girls in what looked like a wedding veil and dress to symbolize their purity as they go to 'meet God'.

  • Kelsey Tole
    Kelsey Tole

    creepy sssshiiittttttt

  • Thalia S
    Thalia S

    She is beautiful and frightening at the same time. I can't stop looking at this.

  • Laura Cordova
    Laura Cordova

    Creepiest one ever. ( pm)


    I love the symbolic veil

Brother Young boy holding deceased infant sister. Salt print, c.1860.

The Thanatos Archive / Early Post-Mortem and Memorial Photography
  • Helen Cheadle
    Helen Cheadle

    Thanks Josephine...didnt know if it was a mark on the photo. Or a burn mark or similar on his face....however did these children sit still for so long while holding a dead sibling ...amazes me. Thanks again ,Helen

  • Kristin Cole
    Kristin Cole

    I can't even imagine letting one of our children in this day and age sit posing with their dead sibling. So sad.

  • Cheryl Enyart
    Cheryl Enyart

    To tell you the truth, I would have loved to have had a photo of me holding my little brother that died..I would have held him for a photo

  • Carla Russell Behrens
    Carla Russell Behrens

    The mark on his face looks like a problem with the photo. It was so common place back then to take post-mortem pics that I doubt the live child thought twice about it

  • dee perry
    dee perry

    I agree with Cheryl. sorry you lost a little brother.

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Early post mortem, probably no later than 1860, and looks to be privately produced. There are no publisher markings or any sort of description on it which you'd normally find on commercially-staged genre stereoviews.

  • Shannon Wages
    Shannon Wages

    how on earth would you have dog sit still this long?

  • Robin Connell
    Robin Connell

    The dog looks to be stuffed.

  • Samanda Fashona
    Samanda Fashona

    Gosh... Everything is "dead" in this photo... even the dog!