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Jeffrey Smith

Jeffrey Smith is professor emeritus of history after 26 years teaching history and a nationally recognized scholar writing about cemeteries and death studies. He is author of The Rural Cemetery Movement: Places of Paradox in Nineteenth-Century America. He has performed first-person presentations portraying Andrew Carnegie, P. T. Barnum, William Clark, George Washington, and George Catlin. He is currently writing a book of narrative cemetery stories titled Grave Mistakes.


Cemeteries and Memory: Confederate Monuments in Cemeteries

Cemeteries are seen as both sacred spaces and secular tools for articulating and preserving the collective memory a community wants to preserve. The monuments, cemetery design, and gravestones hold a version of a community’s collective memory. When additional monuments are placed in these spaces, they become part of that memory as well. Presented by a nationally recognized scholar in cemeteries and death studies, this lecture will examine the ways Confederate monuments in cemeteries represent a special case for understanding the Lost Cause in the 21st century.

When Grief Becomes Beauty: The Rural Cemetery Movement in Nineteenth-Century America

 The Rural Cemetery Movement was something of a revolution in cemetery design that influenced the ways we see and think about not only burial sites in the US but also parks and other public spaces. This illustrated talk will leave audiences understanding why it’s more accurate to say that parks “look like historic cemeteries” than the other way around.