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Old 02-27-2014, 06:37 PM
 
18,369 posts, read 11,791,369 times
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Originally Posted by dizzybint View Post
I know what your saying Bugsy.. and understand.. What I originally meant was the lengths people went to having mourining shops for all their outfits , jewellery , notepaper etc, seems to have been more for the wealthy to show how deeply their grief was... not like some woman with eight chlldren in a tenement, left with no hope. or anyone to support her family when her husband died... she might have worn black for a time but not the way some to me overdid their Death fashions. Queen Victoria ordered her staff t wear mourning clothes for three years after the death of Prince Albert...and wore her own widows weeds until she died...
Maybe, then again maybe not.

Remember communication was not as instant as it was today. Even after the telephone was invented it was not nearly as universal as it would become by the 1980's. Plenty of households did not have telephones and used coin boxes or a neighbor's.

In the days when letters were the primary means of communication mourning stationary was often the first indication a family member or friend would receive that a death had occurred. True royalty, the nobility and others had fancier stationary of better quality paper loaded with crests, monograms or whatever, but still. I mean if you were living in San Francisco and got a letter from your sister in England in a black bordered envelope, you *knew* something had happened.

As for poorer widows and mourning it was not unheard of in both the UK and USA for women to spend every cent they had left after a husband died, including the club "life insurance" money she received to provide what was considered a proper funeral and mourning. Once that was all over the widow packed up herself and children and went to the work house.

Will give you that Queen Victoria heavily influenced mourning habits in ways that were not healthy. From the Victorian through Edwardian age right up until after WWI was the heyday for the "cult" of mourning. This included following various elaborate rules about dress and behavior.

Queen Victoria herself was a trip. Her court especially the Queen's ladies often despaired of being in her service. Some ladies in waiting actually married to get out of the job. Besides keeping her palaces/homes at temperatures near freezing there was the near constant being put into mourning.

QV was famous for putting her court in mourning for any death in her family no matter how distant. One lady at court lamented an order to go into mourning for some prince in Germany that was QV's third cousin a few times removed.

Even when in half mourning or not at all QV kept her ladies in dull and drab colours. When new ladies in waiting arrived a senior woman at court would "help" her unpack and at once begin making suggestions as to what was appropriate and not. In short emphasis on mourning or semi-mourning attire and warm undergarments and clothing. If the lady in question was lacking she was instructed to send home for what was needed.

As for mourning jewellery there is actually some historical/cultural significance there. Dull, dark and or non-reflective things were supposed to either keep spirits away or some such (cannot remember). It is why in certain cultures all mirrors in a home in mourning are covered with black cloths. This is also why pearls are permitted when in mourning but diamonds are not. One reason jewels were allowed at all during mourning (at least ear rings) is because of the risk the holes made for ear rings might close during the long period if women were forbidden.


Even when in half mourning or not at all QV kept her ladies in dull and drab colours. When new ladies in waiting arrived a senior woman at court would "help" her unpack and at once begin making suggestions as to what was appropriate and not. In short emphasis on mourning or semi-mourning attire and warm undergarments and clothing. If the lady in question was lacking she was instructed to send home for what was needed.

Will say your views were shared by many back in the day. Social commentators and religious persons/church leaders thought it was obscene that women were either in dress shops or busy with dress and hat makers sorting out their mourning attire when they should be prostrate with grief, and or their minds on other matters. Many also like you questioned the expense for what was deemed "proper" mourning. Who was all this display for they asked. The deceased is dead and thus isn't missing a thing.
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Old 02-27-2014, 07:13 PM
 
18,369 posts, read 11,791,369 times
Reputation: 11997
Quote:
Originally Posted by dizzybint View Post
I know what your saying Bugsy.. and understand.. What I originally meant was the lengths people went to having mourining shops for all their outfits , jewellery , notepaper etc, seems to have been more for the wealthy to show how deeply their grief was... not like some woman with eight chlldren in a tenement, left with no hope. or anyone to support her family when her husband died... she might have worn black for a time but not the way some to me overdid their Death fashions. Queen Victoria ordered her staff t wear mourning clothes for three years after the death of Prince Albert...and wore her own widows weeds until she died...
Weeds are what you make of them, where there is a will there is a way to add some glamour! *LOL* Long as Mammy doesn't catch you that is:

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