Friday, December 18, 2009

Vintage Mourning Cards

I mourn the loss of traditional mourning cards! We have mastered the art of the sympathy card, but for some reason mourning cards have fallen by the wayside. Mourning cards were handed out by the family to the community to let people know of the loss. Perhaps it's due to contemporary mode of communication - when someone passes away, word travels by phone or email (and even Facebook).

Victorian mourning cards were traditionally black, with gold or silver print. Their tone was somber and sentimental, typically decorated with birds, wheat (a symbol of resurrection), willow trees and often a cross. While these cards address all the pertinent symbolism, they sacrifice the specific spirit of the lost one. Here's the card for my my great-grandfather John Nor, who died at a young age during the 1918 Flu Epidemic:

That's why I love these vintage French mourning cards, sold by Cool Vintage. They are sweetly matter-of-fact, as if these were passports into another world:


Anonymous said...

Hi there,

Your topic choices and concepts are lovely. Thanks so much for illuminating this subject with grace and beauty!

In this same vein, you might want to check out Remembrance Tree Papers' memorial collection:

They have beautiful handmade paper memorials that are customized and the people who make them are fantastic.

Thank you, too, for putting our company link on your site - the only thing I noticed is that it's broken, and we'd love to see it work:

in trees,


Cynthia Beal
Natural Burial Company

Bella's Bowtique said...

I am just speechless on your blog! Wonderful thank you!

Bella's Bowtique

Sister Shirley said...


I corrected the broken link to Natural Burial Company, thanks for pointing that out.

And I loved the work by Remembrance Tree Papers, thank you so much for the lead!

kind regards

Anonymous said...

Our local funeral home still does mourning cards with a photo of the deceased, inside and a saint picture on the outside. I didn't know they weren't common. They've done it as long as I can remember, through several ownership changes.