Families in Mourning: Posthumous Photos
The painting is of Louis Fitton, who was born on May 13, 1863 and died in 1866. The artist of the painting is unknown. The photograph was taken in 1908 by Frank Snyder and is of C.W. Stout. Both were created after the children’s deaths. No other information about these haunting and intriguing images is known to the public.
"Portrait of Louis Fitton" Courtesy McGuffey Museum
Perhaps nothing is known to the public because an artful depiction of the dead is one of the most intimate forms of grief. Posthumous photographs and paintings were not meant for public display. They were meant to help families remember their children and accept their deaths. Often times, children were not shown simply as dead children, but rather they were depicted in an angelic and peaceful form. Both Louis and C.W. Stout, with their white gowns and serene faces, appear beatific. The families are able to remember their children in this heavenly light, instead of the darkness of death.
"Portrait Photograph of deceased infant, C.W. Stout 1908" Courtesy the Snyder Collection