Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Funeral Flowers Cabinet Card Photographs

For those who preferred not to photograph their deceased loved one, a nice alternative was to photograph the beautiful floral arrangements that were sent by friends and relatives. As I’ve collected these images over the years, I’ve noticed a couple of distinct styles of the funeral flowers photograph. In today’s post, I’m featuring photographs that appear to be made in the studio and which, with one exception, feature a cabinet card photograph of the deceased within the funeral flowers display. In future posts, I’ll feature funeral flowers photographs of what I call “home memorial shrines” which can be wonderfully elaborate.

This great cabinet card was made by Gustav Dahms of Davenport, Iowa. It looks like the funeral arrangements, which include common Christian symbols such as the anchor and cross, were hung on the wall. The card also bears a highly decorated backstamp which is most interesting.

This is a beautifully preserved image of the tributes for Ida, done by McDowell of Nelsonville, Ohio. Ida’s name can be seen on the pillow-shaped arrangement in the center, just below her photograph. Again, the cross, and some wonderful glass vases.

This artistic image, also by McDowell of Nelsonville, Ohio, is striking in its simplicity and unusual composition. The cabinet photo of a young lady is tucked away within the anchor, symbolizing the assurance that she awaits safely in heaven. This card also has a wonderful backstamp with a design that is copyrighted 1889.

The last card is by McDonnell of Erie, Pennsylvania. It shows many floral tributes with the sender’s cards attached and a cabinet photo of a young man within the “C” shaped arrangement at top that says “Brother”. I assume “C” was the first initial of the deceased.

Regrettably, none of the images are identified on the back with names or dates. Each is a standard size cabinet card measuring 6 ½ by 4 ¼ inches on heavy stock.

© 2010, copyright Stephen Mills


  1. Those are great cards! Florist's have gotten less imaginative it seems over the years!Thanks for sharing these I really enjoy your posts.

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  3. Thank you for sharing. That is such a great and beautiful idea. I think we should continue the tradition, after all a picture is worth a thousand words.

    -flower delivery service Erie PA