Chapter

The Business of Cremation

Stephen Prothero

in Purified by Fire

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2001 | ISBN: 9780520208162
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520929746 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520208162.003.0005
The Business of Cremation

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Nonprofit cremation societies yielded to profit businesses, and making the case for cremation took a back seat to building and operating crematories. The business of cremation was becoming business as the Gilded Age yielded to the Progressive Era. The Cremation Association of North America (CAA) was the brainchild of Dr. Hugo Erichsen. His pro-cremation work bridged the reforming zeal of the cremation reformers of the nineteenth century and the pragmatism of the cremating businessmen of the Progressive Era and beyond. Crematory operators were experimenting with architecture, ritualization, and cremation technology. The cemetery had emerged as the most popular crematory site, and cremation rites had become more private, though no less spiritually charged. The nonprofit cremation societies of the nineteenth century had given way to the crematory businesses of the twentieth, and crusaders after purity had yielded to pursuers of the Almighty Dollar.

Keywords: nonprofit cremation; business; Gilded Age; Dr. Hugo Erichsen; Cremation Association of North America; architecture; ritualization

Chapter.  8759 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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