Widow’s Weeds: Mourning in Style, 1860 to 1960 | Newberry

Widow’s Weeds: Mourning in Style, 1860 to 1960

Led by Debra Mancoff. One session, 1 - 4 pm.
Saturday, March 3, 2018
Saturday, March 3

1 - 4 pm

This seminar is full. Call (312) 255-3700 to be on the waitlist.

Cost and Registration Information

Early Registration Price (January 9 at 10 am – January 26 at 4 pm): $70
Regular Registration Price (January 26 at 4 pm – first day of class): $77

Members, seniors, and students get a 10% discount.

This seminar is full. Please call (312) 255-3700 to be added to the wait list.

Excuse our dust!

Beginning January 2018 the Newberry will be undertaking renovation of much of the first floor. The Adult Education Seminars Program will still have use of the basement classrooms, but please check this link frequently for the latest conditions - which exterior doors are open or closed, where to find an accessible entrance, which restrooms are available, etc.

Because of the renovation, the Newberry Bookstore will be closed during the Winter/Spring and Summer 2018 terms. As such, seminar participants will be responsible for acquiring all required texts for their seminars on their own. We apologize sincerely for the inconvenience, and appreciate your understanding. We have put together a list of helpful resources that should make it easy to find the books you need.

Seminar Description

The phrase widows weeds conjures up swathes of ebony crêpe, black lace, and jet jewelry. But a century ago it meant so much more! This one-day seminar, merging methods of art, dress, and social history, explores the evolution of mourning dress and ritual in Great Britain and beyond. Featuring paintings, photography, and historic costumes, our survey includes bizarre mementos and practices, mourning manners, and the influence of iconic and fashionable widows from Queen Victoria to Jacqueline Kennedy. One session.

Debra N. Mancoff, Newberry scholar-in-residence and author of The Face: Our Human History; Fashion Muse; Icons of Beauty: Art, Culture, and the Image of Women; and Fashion in Impressionist Paris, writes on art, fashion, and culture.

Materials List


Either one of the following books:

  • Chris Woodyard, The Victorian Book of the Dead. Kestrel Publications. ISBN#: 978-0988192522
  • Trevor May, The Victorian Undertaker. Shire Library. ISBN#: 978-0747803317

First Reading:

  • There is no reading assignment for the first class.

This class is part of the Newberry’s Adult Education Seminars Program. Learn more about our registration procedures.