Stock Image
Sleeping Beauty: Memorial Photography in America (First Edition): BURNS, M.D., Stanley B. Sleeping Beauty: Memorial Photography in America (First Edition): BURNS, M.D., Stanley B. Sleeping Beauty: Memorial Photography in America (First Edition): BURNS, M.D., Stanley B.

Sleeping Beauty: Memorial Photography in America (First Edition)

BURNS, M.D., Stanley B.

171 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0942642325 / ISBN 13: 9780942642322
Published by Twelvetrees Press, Altadena, California, 1990
Condition: Fine Hardcover
From Vincent Borrelli, Bookseller (Albuquerque, NM, U.S.A.)

AbeBooks Seller Since February 22, 2001

Quantity Available: 1

Buy Used
Price: US$ 609.50 Convert Currency
Shipping: US$ 10.00 Within U.S.A. Destination, Rates & Speeds
Add to basket

30 Day Return Policy

About this Item

First edition, first printing. Hardcover. Fine cloth, with dust jacket. Edited by Stanley B. Burns, M.D. Includes a preface, bibliography, captions and texts including 'Death in America: A Chronology,' and 'Memorial Photograph Identification by Era,' by Stanley B. Burns, M.D. 140 pp. with 76 four-color plates on uncoated paper. 12-3/8 x 9-3/8 inches. This first edition was limited to 4000 hardbound copies. Out of print. Very Scarce. Fine in Near Fine dust jacket (minor shelf wear else Fine). Selection of postmortem photographs from the "Burns Archive," which contains over 700,000 vintage prints including the world's largest collection of early medical photographs. Bookseller Inventory # 100909

Ask Seller a Question

Bibliographic Details

Title: Sleeping Beauty: Memorial Photography in ...

Publisher: Twelvetrees Press, Altadena, California

Publication Date: 1990

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine

Edition: 1st Edition.

About this title


Sleeping Beauty is coveted for having played a large role in the rediscovery of the normalcy of postmortem photography. In 1990, Dr. Stanley B. Burns' landmark publication Sleeping Beauty, Memorial in Photography in America, ushered in a new era of appreciation of the importance of these images. Since the publication of Sleeping Beauty, exhibitions based on the 3-book series of memorial images have been created regularly. Perhaps the most prestigious was Le Dernier Portrait at Paris' Musée d'Orsay in 2002. To accompany the exhibit, Sleeping Beauty II: Grief, Bereavement and the Family, American & European Traditions was produced. In 2011, Sleeping Beauty III: Memorial Photography, The Children was written. Numerous other documentarians and feature filmmakers have utilized these poignant photographs, most notably in The Others. The Burns Archive serves as the premier source of images related to death, mourning and medial practices. Postmortem photography is the taking of a photograph of a deceased loved one, and was a normal part of American and European culture in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It has nothing to do with images of violence, crime, or war. Death, and personally dealing with death, was prevalent throughout the entire world as epidemics would come quickly and kill quickly. Advances in medicine removed unexpected death from everyday life and professionals took over. Commissioned by grieving families, postmortem photographs not only helped in the grieving process, but often represented the only visual remembrance of the deceased and were among a family's most precious possessions. Mourning periods were based on family relationships and could last from months to years. Small photographs of the deceased were often carried in lockets or kept close to the body for greater intimacy. As many of the diseases that killed our ancestors were conquered and photography advanced during the century, society grew more and more distant from death, and practices, styles, and traditions of mourning and memorialization changed.The earliest postmortem photographs were often close-ups of the face or full body, at times depicted to appear lifelike or napping. Children were often positioned in a crib, posed with a favorite toy, or with a family member, most often the mother. Later photographs depict the subject in a coffin. Flowers, like forget-me-nots and calla lilies, were common in postmortem photography of all types. Later photographic memorials involve a shrine usually including a living portrait and flowers dedicated to the deceased.


"If you can peer in past the somberness, you'll summon up the warmth and intimacy of a lost emotional landscape, one that links up momentarily with those who have gone before." - John Updike in American Heritage Magazine 

"Unlike anything I've seen before...succeeds in a way the few documentary books manage to do. Dr. Burns uses what might seem an obscure persuade the reader to reconsider matters of life and death in our own time." -New York Times Book Review 

"[Dr. Burns] has researched the hell out of these photos, and his notes in Sleeping Beauty amount to nothing less than a furiously compressed history of death and dying in America...Stanley Burns' project is a thing of strange beauty, always thought provoking and eye opening, often startling, usually a revelation of some kind." - New York Press 

"Almost every one of its stunning reproductions inspires shivers and achingly vivid pathos..." - The Voice Literary Supplement

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Store Description

Rare & Contemporary Photography Books

Visit Seller's Storefront

Terms of Sale:

PAYMENT: Direct payments accepted for Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, money orders,
cashier's checks, personal checks (may be subject to a 7-day holding period) and bank/wire transfers
(for orders over $500). Net 30 payment terms available for institutions (please provide purchase order
number with order, if required). We also accept electronic-check and credit card payments through All payments must be made in U.S. dollars and drawn on a U.S. bank. New Mexico

More Information
Shipping Terms:

U.S. SHIPPING: Shipping, insurance and delivery cost (for most items) is calculated by when you checkout. Our preferred shipping method for orders within the continental US is FedEx Ground to a business address (preferred) or FedEx Home Delivery to a home address. USPS Priority Mail is also available. Additional charge may apply to some books due to weight and/or value.

INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING: Charged at actual cost, per delivery service requested (surface, airmail or express). FedEx is the preferred method for valuable items (discounted rates available).

List this Seller's Books

Payment Methods
accepted by seller

Visa Mastercard American Express

Check Money Order PayPal