If death rituals tell us much about a society, what can we learn from Palmer and Pearson about nineteenth-century America?
We will begin by examining Thomas Palmer's account of the illness and death of his daughter, Mary Palmer Duane.
On November 12, 1845, Mary Palmer Duane, and her husband Benjamin arrived in Schenectady from the country to spend the winter with her parents.
As Palmer recorded Mary's ups and downs over the next two months, he never despaired of her health.
Palmer described the family at the communion altar as, "an affecting scene to all.
The next day, as the body was laid out, waiting for burial until family could arrive, Palmer observed, "It is the most beautiful piece of flesh I ever witnessed.
Palmer apologized to the Craigs, on August 11, for his imperfect efforts composing Archibald's obituary, noting that, "It was done in the moment of family bereavement, and in the prospect of still further sorrows.
On Sunday, September 6, Palmer observed, "Our Mary is fast declining--and we hope prepared.
Palmer was pleased that, "she seems prepared to meet her savior--she is patient as a Lamb--never complains.
Palmer tells us, "We kept our solemn vigil around her dying bed all night.
Palmer especially had problems with that kind of paranoia.
In December 1986, Mayor Barry announced that Hallem Williams, 39, former assistant to Thomas Downs, would replace retiring director Palmer as head of DCDC.