Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Sarah Meacham


Rituals surrounding death were social in addition to being religious. Virginians conveyed the status of the deceased through funerals, burials, gravestones, commemoration, and mourning. But these customs greatly differed according to gender, both in what they consisted of and who was responsible for carrying them out. This thesis examines wills, diaries, correspondence, grave markers, prints, and newspapers of eighteenth-century Virginians, which demonstrate the differences in the death customs of men and women. Because of men’s involvement in public activities like business and politics, they gave greater forethought into how acts of remembrance would reflect their positions. Women’s duties were centered on the home and family. This resulted in less elaborate death customs as well as greater responsibility for appropriately attending to the remembrance of others. Despite the overwhelmingly private nature of women’s funerals and burials, gravestones, death notices, and the responsibilities of widowhood briefly brought women into the public realm.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2010

Available for download on Monday, May 14, 2210

Included in

History Commons