Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Marshall, Anne E.

Committee Member

Ridner, Judith A.

Committee Member

Giesen, James C.

Committee Member

Greene, Alison Collis

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access



Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of History


During the nineteenth century, Americans began to develop a new relationship with death. Urbanites were less confronted with the constant presence of the dead and dying than they had in the past. A new trend in cemeteries also developed as a result. The Rural Cemetery Movement promoted the idea that the dead should be buried amongst a natural setting that was pleasing and calming to visitors. The first few initial cemeteries were an immediate success, but this was not the case in Richmond, Virginia. Although the developers had grand ideas about their cemetery project, Richmonders opposed the cemetery in the first several years. They feared that the cemetery would stunt the growth of the city or even harm the health of the city’s citizens. Over time, however, Richmonders began to accept the cemetery and with this they formed a new understanding of nature that was pleasing and allowed Americans to value natural settings.