Mistress of Death: The Thanatos Archive

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Cover of the Thanatos Archive Page

Cover of the Thanatos Archive Page

For those with a fascination with Post-Mortem photography or the imagery of mourning, The Thanatos Archive created near Seattle, WA offers an online look at the culture of death. Hosted all in an online database with an extensive collection of nineteenth and early twentieth century photography, the archives prides itself on an every expanding collection and the respectful way it handles the concept of death. Images include those of medical maladies, death masks and post-mortem photographs. Some of the death masks include that of Victor Hugo and William Shakespeare.

Fair warning for sensitive readers; there are many photographs of small children memorialized in the photographs after their deaths. In the late nineteenth century the practice of photographing the deceased was far more accepted than it is in our modern day. For example, one story in my family features our relatives coming over for a group photograph featuring a recently deceased uncle. Clearly, this would not have happened in modern day but it made perfect sense for my now long since passed relatives to want to memorialize a family member.

The Thanatos Archive is constantly updating its online database and new images are added seemingly daily. A chat feature exists for members so that they may discuss this very specified interest. Sadly, the Thanatos Archive is not free to the public and requires a membership fee which may be purchased in  1-year, 2-year of Lifetime increments.

For those who do not wish to subscribe, you may also find examples from the Thanatos Archive on Facebook and Twitter.

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