From our Upcoming PLACES article in Southern Calls | September 2020
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The Birth of “FDNAUS”
. . . the first-ever national meeting of the “knights of the grave” took place across six days in Rochester, New York, June 19-24, 1882.
The Casket, instrumental in promulgating and planning this event, published the full proceedings of this watershed meeting in its July 1882 issue. Suggesting that the “grand feast and excursion to Niagara Falls” did not take place due to poor financial support, but that all exposition expenses were met thanks to the “liberality” of the 27 exhibitors, the editors reported several significant results.
First, after “lively argument,” attendees eventually agreed upon the use of “funeral director” in the newly formed organization’s name. (Interestingly, no one present suggested using “mortician” but one attendee did propose using “funeral manager.”) Initially, the newly formed association would be called “The Funeral Directors’ National Association of the United States” (FDNAUS).
. . . Not surprisingly, The Casket magazine was selected as the official “organ of the National Association.” In fairness, editors Albert Nirdlinger and Thomas Gliddon played significant roles for several years in promoting the need to elevate both the practice and perception of undertaking. Moreover, their publication was undoubtedly the most influential, regularly published chronicle of professional growth since its founding in May 1876.
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