Hierarchies of the Dead: Bodysnatching in Old New York

A drawing of two graverobbers stealing the corpse of a woman, with Death (in the form of a skeleton) watching over and holding their lantern, by Thomas Rowlandson, unsigned, probably 1775. Hunterian Museum, Royal College of Surgeons, London

Illustrated lecture by Bess Lovejoy, author of Rest in Pieces: The Curious Fates of Famous Corpses
Date: Tuesday, February 18

Time: 8:00
Admission: $8

Presented by Morbid Anatomy

Stealing corpses for anatomical dissection was a way of life for New York’s earliest medical schools. It was even the spark that led to the nation’s first riot, in 1788. But who were the earliest bodysnatchers, how did they operate, and whose graves were they plundering? In this illustrated lecture, Rest in Pieces author Bess Lovejoy will discuss this forgotten chapter of New York’s medical history, with some stops in points South. She’ll also cover some archeological research on the victims of the bodysnatchers, and how they have been remembered in the New York of today.

Copies of Rest in Pieces: will be available for sale and signing; Lapham’s Quarterly Death Issue will also be available for sale.

Bess Lovejoy is the author of Rest in Pieces: The Curious Fates of Famous Corpses, which Amazon.com named one of the best books of 2013. She has written about death, obscure history, and other topics for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Time, Lapham’s Quarterly, The Boston Globe, and elsewhere. She lives in Brooklyn.

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