Nov 2 2023
Lady Undertakers of Old Texas: An Interview w/ Author Kathy Benjamin Pt. 2
The intimate task of caring for the dead had long fallen under women's sphere of responsibilities. But after the Civil War, the sudden popularity of embalming offered new financial opportunities to men who set up as undertakers, pushing women out of their traditional role. In Texas, from the 1880s to the 1930s, women slowly regained their place by the bier. Many worked while pregnant or raising children. Most shouldered the additional weight of personal tragedies and persistent sexism. All brought comfort to the bereaved in the isolation of the Texas frontier, kept its cities free of deadly disease and revolutionized an industry that was coming into its own.
Kathy Benjamin is a writer, editor and humorist whose work has appeared on sites including MentalFloss.com, Cracked.com and Grunge.com. She is the author of Funerals to Die For: The Craziest, Creepiest, and Most Bizarre Funeral Traditions and Practices Ever (Adams Media, 2013), It's Your Funeral!: Plan the Celebration of a Lifetime--Before It's Too Late (Quirk, 2021) and Texas Mass Graves: Burial Grounds of Atrocity, Massacre and Battle (The History Press, 2022). She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband, Simon, and dog, Briscoe.
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