Haunted Hearts and Household Ghosts: Dead But Not Departed in Victoria’s Britain | Newberry

Haunted Hearts and Household Ghosts: Dead But Not Departed in Victoria’s Britain

"The Patriot Mother at Her Boy's Grave," from The Soldier's Casket, 1865.

“The Patriot Mother at Her Boy’s Grave,” from The Soldier’s Casket, 1865.

A Lecture by Debra N. Mancoff
Tuesday, October 30, 2018

6 to 7 pm

Ruggles Hall

Free and open to the public. Registration required.
Open to the Public

When Queen Victoria’s beloved husband Prince Albert died in 1861, she swathed herself in black and mourned his loss for the rest of her life. But in her household, Albert was never truly gone.

His image appeared in family portraits, she wore jewelry that featured his likeness, and she transformed his possessions into sacred objects. In turning his memory into an ever present ghost, Victoria was not alone in her desire to keep the dead from departing. Her subjects had their own ways of keeping the memory of lost loved ones alive, including mourning etiquette, household memorials, and ritualized means to contact the dead.

Today we may find such practices chilling, but in the time of the Widow of Windsor and her ghostly consort, these tributes provided solace to haunted hearts. On the night before Halloween, come explore Victorian-style mourning in a light-hearted look at the rituals and relics—from graveyard gatherings and séances to posthumous portraits, hair jewelry, and spirit photography—that gave the dead a vital role in daily life.

Download a PDF flyer for this event to post and distribute, and check out a Quick Guide to related materials in the Newberry collection.

Author Debra N. Mancoff explores the interconnections of art, fashion, and culture, with a focus on Britain. She is a Scholar in Residence at the Newberry Library, where she regularly teaches in the Seminars Program. Mancoff will sign copies of her most recent book, The Face: Our Human Story, commissioned by the British Museum, following the lecture.

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Cost and Registration Information 

Free and open to the public; registration required. Register online using this form by 3 pm Tuesday, October 30.

Doors open half an hour before the program begins, with first-come, first-served seating for registered attendees. If seats remain available, non-registered individuals will be permitted to enter about ten minutes before the event’s start.

People with disabilities and other accessibility concerns can request to be seated first. To reserve an access-friendly space in the room, email publicprograms@newberry.org at least 48 hours before the event.

Questions? Contact us at publicprograms@newberry.org or 312-255-3610.