October 31, 2017

Sleep That Makes No Show for Dawn - 1860s Photoshoot

"A long, long sleep, a famous sleep
That makes no show for dawn
By stretch of limb or stir of lid, —
An independent one."
- Emily Dickinson, Poem 139

A Happy and Spooktacular Halloween to all!  Since I was unable to finish my fancy dress costume this year, I thought it very appropriate to finally share this long-awaited, 1860s photo shoot that Maria, sister and photographer, and I did last August, before I left for college.  All of the construction details for the dress and petticoat can be found here: Inside & Out: DNA Dress and Hoop, and the fancy dress cap here: Lace on My Clothes & Bows on My Caps.  

In the photographs, my dress is worn over a mid-19th century chemise, drawers, under-petticoat, small support pad and 90" cage with two tucked petticoats to smooth the silhouette.  A large, striped, silk cravat bow, silk belt with a mother of pear buckle, and beribboned, fancy dress cap complete the look.  

Completed Project Shots

First and foremost, I must thank my talented sister and photographer, Maria, for all her time and attention to the details!  Without her, none of these photo shoots would be possible, and for that, among many other reasons, I am overwhelmingly grateful.  Here's to her, and for allowing me to share her work!  *All photographs courtesy of Maria M.* 

Because I could not stop for Death —
He kindly stopped for me —
The Carriage held but just Ourselves —
And Immortality.

We slowly drove — He knew no haste
And I had put away
My labor and my leisure too,
For His Civility —

We passed the School, where Children strove
At Recess — in the Ring —
We passed the fields of Gazing Grain —
We passed the Setting Sun —

Or rather — He passed Us —
The Dews drew quivering and chill —
For only Gossamer, my Gown —
My Tippet — only Tulle —

We paused before a House that seemed
A Swelling of the Ground —
The Roof was scarcely visible —
The Cornice — in the Ground —

Since then — ’tis Centuries — and yet
Feels shorter than the Day
I first surmised the Horses’ Heads
Were toward Eternity —

Poem is "Because I Could Not Stop for Death" by Emily Dickinson.

Mount Hope Cemetery 

Before ending this post, I'd like to highlight and give a little background on the location of our shoot.  This may sound slightly morbid to some, but I personally find cemeteries not only historically significant, but incredibly peaceful places to walk around and collect my thoughts.  I have spent many afternoons wandering around Rochester's Mount Hope Cemetery, quietly reflecting and exploring the 200 acres and 14 miles of roads, hills and valleys, and paying respects to the 350,000 sleeping for eternity.  

The Gatehouse, 1874.

Described in the following introduction, by the Friends of Mount Hope Cemetery, the nonprofit organization devoted to the preservation, restoration and public appreciation of the culturally significant site:
"Dedicated in 1838 in Rochester NY, Mount Hope is America's first municipal Victorian cemetery.  Set in a picturesque landscape shaped by retreating glaciers, the cemetery features more than 80 mausoleums, soaring Egyptian obelisks, winged angels of mercy, a Florentine cast-iron fountain, two stone chapels in Gothic Revival style, a Moorish gazebo, and infinitely varied tombstones marking 350,000 graves across 196 acres." - The Friends of Mount Hope Cemetery

One of two chapels and original crematory, 1862.

In terms of history, Mount Hope Cemetery truly offers something for everyone.  From Rochester and Erie Canal history, to Victorian symbolism and architecture, the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, Jewish and African-American history, many notable leaders, inventors, prominent families, artists, architects, abolitionists and women's rights activists were laid to rest there.  

Perhaps among the most famous are Susan B. Anthony:

Fredrick Douglas:

Nathaniel Rochester and family: 

As well as dozens of others, including Daisy Marquis Jones, Alexander Milliner, George Washington's drummer boy, Dr. Charles T. Lunsford, the first African American physician in Rochester, the children of Buffalo Bill Cody, and William, and later Hannah Carter, the first buried on the site:

Veterans of all the major American wars are represented, including specific Civil, Spanish-American and World War I sections and a D.A.R. monument.  

Row by row in the Civil War plot.

And, finally, you'll find several of the families from the houses preserved at the Genesee Country Village & Museum: 

Rebecca A. Fitzhugh, wife of Dr. Fredrick F. Backus, of the
Livingston-Backus House (at the Genesee Country Village & Museum)

Dr. Frederick F. Backus, prominent Rochester physician and politician.

The services at Mount Hope Cemetery go beyond burials, offering many opportunities to volunteer in landscaping, gardening, and gravestone maintenance and repair.  Under the generous care of the Friends of Mount Hope Cemetery and donors, free genealogical research, public lectures and tours, and printed works, including several books and a quarterly newsletter, titled the Epitaph, are available.  So, if you're ever in Rochester, make sure to visit my favorite local cemetery and historical treasure!