In May I visited Bohemian National Cemetery in Chicago.
It’s an amazing place with winding lanes, mature shade trees, and lots of unique and interesting headstones.
To me, the most interesting feature about Bohemian National was the sheer number of memorial portraits. This is the first cemetery I’ve been to where so many headstones had pictures of people on them. It made taking pictures a more personal experience, deeply moving in some instances.
(I found a demonstration of how memorial portraits are made on YouTube. You can see the video here.)
I wandered around the cemetery for hours. When I thought I was finally ready to leave, a headstone near the exit caught my eye. A pensive looking angel stood above a square block stone. On the side facing the lane were two memorial portraits. Sisters.
Born in Bohemia, the girls immigrated with their parents in 1891. Both were seamstresses; the oldest a dressmaker, the youngest still learning the trade.
Just three years after this census was taken, both girls died.
What was the cause? Such a tragedy.
Memorial portraits gave a tangible identity to Rosalie and Anastazie.