Mapping the Spectacle of Grief

Mapping the Spectacle of Grief

This website (under development) examines Civil War memory by mapping large public funerals for prominent politicians, military leaders, and social activists from 1852-1898. The remains of important individuals were transported over hundreds—even thousands—of miles, turning their funerals and the commemorations that surrounded them into political spectacle as hundreds of thousands of Americans participated in funeral rituals. Created by Professor Sarah Purcell ’92 and Emily Hackman ’16 as a complement to Purcell’s book project Specatcle of Grief: Political Funerals and Civil War Memory and History, this site allows users to interact with maps of the funeral processions of Sen. Henry Clay, Col. Elmer Ellsworth, George Peabody, Sen. Charles Sumner, Frederick Douglass, and Varina “Winnie” Davis. The maps, created using Geographic Information Systems technologies, dramatize how space and geography affected the politics and demographics of Civil War memory.

A preview of the funeral maps can be seen in Professor Purcell’s article “All That Remains of Henry Clay: Political Funerals and the Tour of Henry Clay’s Corpse,” Common-Place: The Interactive Journal of Early American Life 12 (April 2012): http://www.common-place.org/vol-12/no-03/purcell/

 


Map of the funeral route of Col. Elmer Ellsworth