Kelly Brennan Arehart

email: [[kbarehart]]
Dissertation: "Men of Sorrow, Markets of Grief; business, technology, culture and the rise of the funeral industry, 1780-1930"

Bio
Academic Biography
  • B.A., Rutgers University, 2005M.A.,
  • The College of William and Mary 2007
Field Exams
  • American Business History (with Charles McGovern)
  • American History (Pre-Contact to 1815)  (with James Allegro)
  • American History (1815- Present) (with Chandos Brown)
  • Modern Japan (with Walter Skya) 

Dissertation: "Men of Sorrow, Markets of Grief; business, technology, culture and the rise of the funeral industry, 1780-1930"        

During the 19th century, Protestant, middle-class Americans gradually began to distance themselves from their dead. Much of this shift has been correctly attributed to cultural changes within the middle class. But culture alone does not explain how these Americans were able to move the corpse from the deathbed to the mortuary or from the graveyard to the burial park. It was only through the emergence of a death-care industry that these cultural shifts were realized in mahogany, mourning crepe, and granite. The unsentimental component of the death-care industry materialized cultural expectations but also shaped them.

Awards, Fellowships and Publications

Awards

  • “Undertaker/Funeral Director/Mortician: Language and the emergence of the funeral industry, 1850-1920” won best graduate student paper at the Mid-Atlantic Popular and American Culture Conference.
  • 2013 H. B. Du Pont Dissertation Fellowship, The Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE.
  • 2013 “Undertaker/Funeral Director/Mortician: Language and the emergence of the funeral industry, 1850-1920” won best graduate student paper at the Mid-Atlantic Popular and American Culture Conference. The paper we be published in a refereed journal.
  • 2012 New England Regional Fellowship Consortium Fellow.
  • 2012 Andrew W. Mellow Foundation Fellow, The Library Co. and Historical Society of Pa, Philadelphia.
  • 2011 Honorable Mention, Kerr Prize for New Scholars, Business History Conference.
  • 2011 Winterthur Short-Term Research Fellowship, Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library, Wilmington, DE.
  • 2011 Henry Berlin Du Pont Fellowship, The Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE.
  • 2011 Kentucky Historical Society Research Fellowship, Kentucky Historical Society, Frankfort, KY.
  • 2010 Filson Historical Society Fellow, Filson Historical Society Louisville, KY.
  • 2009 John E. Selby Graduate Teaching Award, The College of William and Mary.

Conference Presentations

  • “Salvation to Monumentality: How Business and Culture Reshaped 19th-century American Burial Spaces,”
  • Undertaker/Funeral Director/Mortician: Language and the emergence of the funeral industry, 1850-1920.” Mid-Atlantic Popular & American Culture Association, Atlantic City, NJ.
  • “As Physicians do: self-comparisons between morticians and doctors, 1880-1920.” American Association for the History of Medicine, Baltimore, MD.
  • “’Men of Sorrow: Science, Sympathy and the Creation of the Funeral Professional, 1880-1930.” Hagley Research Seminar Series, Wilmington, DE
  • “’To put a mass of putrefying animal matter into a fine plush casket:’ the Development of Professional Knowledge among Morticians, 1880-1920” Business History Conference, St. Louis, Mo.

Paper Series: Death and Dying Human Experiences and the End of Life, Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA, October 2008