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Purified by FireA History of Cremation in America$
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Stephen Prothero

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780520208162

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520208162.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 02 July 2022

The Business of Cremation

The Business of Cremation

(p.105) 4 The Business of Cremation
Purified by Fire

Stephen Prothero

University of California Press

Nonprofit cremation societies yielded to profit businesses, and making the case for cremation took a back seat to building and operating crematories. The business of cremation was becoming business as the Gilded Age yielded to the Progressive Era. The Cremation Association of North America (CAA) was the brainchild of Dr. Hugo Erichsen. His pro-cremation work bridged the reforming zeal of the cremation reformers of the nineteenth century and the pragmatism of the cremating businessmen of the Progressive Era and beyond. Crematory operators were experimenting with architecture, ritualization, and cremation technology. The cemetery had emerged as the most popular crematory site, and cremation rites had become more private, though no less spiritually charged. The nonprofit cremation societies of the nineteenth century had given way to the crematory businesses of the twentieth, and crusaders after purity had yielded to pursuers of the Almighty Dollar.

Keywords:   nonprofit cremation, business, Gilded Age, Dr. Hugo Erichsen, Cremation Association of North America, architecture, ritualization

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