Week 37 – Olympus OM-1 and Ilford HP4

Elmwood Cemetery in Memphis is home to victims of the yellow fever epidemics that struck during the 1800’s the worst of which was in 1878. People died at such a fast rate at the height of the epidemic that the dead were buried in trenches in an area known as “No Man’s Land”. It was truly a desperate time for the city and like many crises is marked by acts of true heroism and kindness. One of my favorite stories from this time is of Constance and Her Companions a group of Episcopal nuns and priests who heroically ministered to the city.

The cemetery held a special event during week 37, “Voices of Yellow Fever,” where costumed docents/actors portrayed real people from the time of the epidemic often using their own words from diaries, letters, or public records. Here are some photographs of the docent/actors.

The "Voices of Yellow Fever" docents.  Elmwood Cemetery.

The “Voices of Yellow Fever” docents. Elmwood Cemetery.

Costumed Docent, Elmwood Cemetery

Costumed Docent, Elmwood Cemetery

This young woman portrayed a nurse from Galveston, Texas who had lost her entire family as a child to a yellow fever epidemic in Texas. The nurse suffered a mild case of it as a child so was immune.

Costumed Docent, Elmwood Cemetery

Costumed Docent, Elmwood Cemetery

This gentleman portrayed a local military and civic leader who ran a refugee camp outside of Memphis. Those people with means evacuated the city but workers and “women of industrious habits” had no money to evacuate. Very few people were lost to the fever at this camp.

I enjoyed photographing the living and I’d like to do more of that next year. More week 37 at my Flickr page.

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