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Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Jimerson, Randall C.

Second Advisor

Young, Kathleen Z.

Third Advisor

Steele, Ruth Catherine


Cemeteries are more than just the final resting place of our ancestors; many scholarly fields have found the cemetery to be a valuable historical resource. The cemetery contains a wealth of information, including the personal stories of those buried there, the actions of the organization that created it, and the beliefs of the people in the community to which it belongs. In many cases, the cemetery is the only remaining documentary evidence about a person or a group of people. The archival profession has tasked itself with preserving the documentary heritage of the full spectrum of society, but it has yet to recognize the archival value of the physical cemetery, due in part to its non-traditional format as immovable, threedimensional objects contextually bound to a physical landscape. This thesis outlines the ways in which the cemetery fits the definition of archives and how the characteristics of the cemetery can align with various aspects of archival theory. This thesis argues for the archival profession to recognize that cemeteries are archives and to use their unique perspective to help preserve the evidential and informational value at the cemetery for future generations.




Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subject – LCSH

Cemeteries--Archival resources; Archivists--Attitudes




masters theses




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