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Victorian Era Funeral Items and Body Preservation Techniques
Gail Rubin, The Doyenne of Death, Funeral Expert Gail Rubin, The Doyenne of Death, Funeral Expert
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Albuquerque , NM
Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Steve Person The Victorian Undertaker
Steve Person, The Victorian Undertaker

Over his 47 year career in funeral service, Steve Person collected a wide range of Victorian funeral and undertaking items. The retired funeral director now makes presentations as The Victorian Undertaker.

“You can’t believe how much you might find on the top shelf of the prep room, or the attic of the garage, or in the basement of the funeral home, but I’ve collected a number of things over the years,” said Person.

In this video recorded at the 2019 National Funeral Directors Association convention and expo, Person showcased objects from his collection. Items include coffins, cooling beds, old embalming fluid bottles, embalming tool kits, and old mortuary promotional items.

He spoke about how these items were used, and explained the business’ evolution, including how furniture makers transitioned from “undertaker” to “funeral director.” Among the topics he discusses:

  • Preservation with an ice coffin in the 1800s before modern refrigeration was invented.
  • Soaking the body as a way to preserve the corpse.
  • Cooling boards and how they were used for embalming at home.
  • The advent of embalming, credited to Dr. Thomas Holmes, and how the deaths of Civil War soldiers accelerated the use of this process.
  • The effect President Abraham Lincoln’s death, embalming, and the 19-day rail trip from Washington, D.C. to Springfield, Illinois had on funeral service in the United States.
  • How embalming led to the creation of mortuary colleges.

Watch the video

Steve Person is available to speak about Victorian funeral traditions. His website is www.TheVictorianUndertaker.com.

Gail Rubin, CT, is author and host of the award-winning book and television series, A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die, Hail and Farewell: Cremation Ceremonies, Templates and Tips, and KICKING THE BUCKET LIST: 100 Downsizing and Organizing Things to Do Before You Die.

Rubin is a Certified Thanatologist (that's a death educator) and a popular speaker who uses humor and films to get the end-of-life and funeral planning conversation started. She "knocked 'em dead" with her TEDx talk, A Good Goodbye. She provides continuing education credit classes for attorneys, doctors, nurses, social workers, hospice workers, financial planners, funeral directors and other professionals. She's a Certified Funeral Celebrant and funeral planning consultant who has been interviewed in national and local print, broadcast and online media.

Known as The Doyenne of Death®, she is the event coordinator of the Before I Die NM Festival. She also hosts A Good Goodbye Internet radio show and produces Mortality Minute radio and online video spots. Her YouTube Channel features more than 450 videos!

Rubin is a member of the Association for Death Education and Counseling, the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association, Toastmasters International and the National Speakers Association New Mexico Chapter. Her speaking profile is available at eSpeakers.com.

Gail Rubin has been interviewed about funeral planning issues in national and local broadcast, print and online media. Outlets include The Huffington Post, Money Magazine, Kiplinger, CBS Radio News, WGN-TV,  and local affiliates for NPR, PBS, FOX, ABC-TV, CBS-TV and NBC-TV. Albuquerque Business First named her as one of their 2019 Women of Influence.

Sign up for a free planning form and occasional informative newsletter at her website, AGoodGoodbye.com.

A Good Goodbye
Albuquerque, NM