Death and Dying in the Working Class, 1865-1920

TitleDeath and Dying in the Working Class, 1865-1920
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsRosenow, Michael K.
PublisherUniversity of Illinois Press
CityChampaign, IL
Keywordsattitudes toward death, death, industrial age, worker death, working-class

The post–Civil War Industrial Age brought fundamental changes to the economy and its workers, forcing Americans to reassess the meaning of life and death. This illuminating study of working-class rituals of dying and the politics of death explores how Americans struggled to understand the broader forces transforming their worlds. Michael K. Rosenow investigates working people's beliefs and practices in this important era by homing in on three overarching questions: How did workers, their families, and their communities experience death? Did various identities of class, race, gender, and religion coalesce to form distinct cultures of death for working people? And how did people's attitudes toward death reflect notions of who mattered in U.S. society? Drawing from an eclectic array of sources ranging from Andrew Carnegie to grave markers in Chicago's potter's field, Rosenow portrays the complex political, social, and cultural relationships that fueled the industrial ascent of the United States.