Skazka (supercrook) wrote in little_details,

Funeral homes and mortuary science, California 1926

I've got a character who is a mortician in 1926, in Los Angeles, California. By all accounts in what I've been able to stir up via Google, the whole funeral home/funeral parlor business was still somewhat new, or at least not as set in stone as it would later become in the '50s/'60s in the US, and most of the information I've been able to find on embalming/funeral practices prior to the late 20th century is considerably earlier and skewed to Civil War-era concerns.

- Can anyone refer me to some general resources on funeral homes and related subjects in that particular era? Especially resources dealing with the West Coast specifically. (Specific search terms would also be great -- the evolution of preferred terms and euphemisms around anything death-related leaves me without a solid idea of what I should even be searching for.)

- In terms of ethnic/cultural background and class demographics, what kind of clientele did funeral homes usually serve at this time? It sounds like funeral homes were generally separated by race in the US, and that faith and religious denomination were factors as they are today; which groups had their own funeral homes, and which participated in funeral practices privately? Was this usually related to ties with a specific cemetery? Would mortuary staff generally be from the demographic and ethnic group they were working with?

- What kind of background am I looking at for my mortician character? Family members who were also involved in the funeral industry, any other experience as a physician, a family-owned business? What did mortician-specific training look like at that particular point in time?

Major apologies if this is muddled or unclear -- I'm getting ready for a White Wolf tabletop game and it seems appropriate to do some research on mortuary practices and funeral homes that wasn't just broad-strokes spookiness.

Terms Googled: "funeral home 1920s" (and variants thereupon, 'funeral parlor/mortuary/undertaker/funeral director'), "historic funeral home", + "california", "historic mortuaries california", general embalming info etc.

(I've also got JSTOR access, if there's any relevant articles anyone can point me to.)
Tags: 1920-1929, usa: california, usa: history (misc), ~funerals

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