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"A Sadness in Our Circle": Charting the Emotional Response to Norfolk’s 1855 Yellow Fever Epidemic

Author(s): Emily A Williams

Year: 2016

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Summary

Norfolk’s 1855, yellow fever epidemic offers a unique opportunity within which to consider the way a commmunity’s emotional response is manifested in the cemetery landscape.  Within a three month period, a third of the city’s population had died, martial law had been declared, and the city had been blockaded to prevent the fever’s spread.  The epidemic was well-documented in newspapers as well as in the accounts of diarists and epistolarians, which chronicle the overwhelming fear, disruption and grief the inhabitants experienced at the time.  This paper, based on a larger survey, will consider the monuments erected in Norfolk cemeteries between 1850 and 1860.  How did the sentiments expressed on the tombstones of those who died in the outbreak differ from those of the general populace?  What mechanisms were chosen to commemorate and assuage the strong emotions engendered by the epidemic and its residual effects?


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"A Sadness in Our Circle": Charting the Emotional Response to Norfolk’s 1855 Yellow Fever Epidemic. Emily A Williams. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Washington, D.C. 2016 ( tDAR id: 434253)


Keywords


Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 855

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America