Unearthed: McClanahan & McClanahan

It was lilac season, so of course we went to Graceland Cemetery.

My husband knows I’m a sucker for lilacs, and how much I look forward to that moment in spring when the bushes foam over with good-smelling blossoms. Graceland provides a particularly nice array of lilacs in season, so he suggested we take a walk through the cemetery on a Sunday morning this past May.

That’s where I spotted Archie. I was drawn at first to the fragile little flowers scattered on his cool grey stone. I took the photo for that, and because I’ve been trying to take more cemetery pictures of people who lived long lives. They leave more records, which makes my research easier, and they are more likely to die of natural causes, which helps my mood.

I’m also a sucker for father-daughter stories, and as it turns out, he has one.

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Snoop 101: Know Your Stones

Some years back, I was doing a cemetery walk with friends. While trying to talk about styles of grave markers, I had a momentary brain freeze and sputtered: “One of those… Oh, you know! The sticky-up kind!”

It was not a great moment for me, although my friends thought it was hilarious. So to spare you a similar moment, I’ve put together a few examples.

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Unearthed: Aunt Edith’s First Act

Drama teacher, world traveler, film actress, and single woman on the go.

This Unearthed post has been challenging and personal for me.

My blog avatar is a photo of my great-great aunt, Edith Mack. When I began this project, I wanted her to be the guiding spirit of my research. What I know of Edith is fantastic. I dearly want to do her justice and tell her story well.

1917 edith
Edith, aged 22

However, what I DON’T know of her life is also extensive. Putting her life in my usual chronological format has been like trying to climb a ladder with missing rungs. The gaps from event to event are long.

But as she might say: The show must go on. Instead of a timeline, this one will be more like a scrapbook.

This is not the last time I will write about her. I’m not done with her yet.

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Unearthed: Four Faces

My husband noted this week that I’ve only posted about newspaper finds lately — no headstones, no graveyards.

“It IS Graveyard Snoop, after all,” he remarked (pretty bravely for a guy whose wife hangs out in cemeteries).

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Unearthed: Dorothy Eagles (Pt 2)

Must love dogs.

Dorothy Eagles Part 1


 

By the mid-1930s, Dorothy Eagles’ North Side Animal Shelter was thriving. The new location on Damen Avenue had a two-story brick building at its center. It featured offices, medical care, an annex housing 70 cats and dogs — even pet cremation services. Every year, hundreds of animals came in, were cared for, and found new owners.1

But care cannot save everything.

Dorothy’s husband, Lester Eagles, never got much mention in the newspapers. I know he built the first shelter’s cages, and that he would go out on calls to pick up strays. But beyond that, he’s a bit of a mystery.

Also a mystery is why their marriage ended. While I couldn’t find a divorce date, by 1936, Dorothy was vacationing in Palm Springs with a man named George Harz.2

Doctor George Harz, that is… a veterinarian.

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Unearthed: Dorothy Eagles (Pt 1)

Friend to the friendless.

I’ve been dying to write this one.

Dorothy Eagles’ name was in those scraps my husband brought home, and this was the first photo I found of her.

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Unearthed: Calogero Lalumia

They can’t all be good guys.

Mt. Carmel Catholic Cemetery in Hillside, IL, is packed with striking, dramatic headstones. Calogero Lalumia’s is one of them.

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