Graveyards of Chicago was first released by local publisher Lake Claremont Press in 1999 as a collection of author Matt Hucke's photos from the website he created in 1996. Ursula Bielski, author of Chicago Haunts, wrote the accompanying text. Since then, digital photography has allowed Hucke to take more extensive photos that he has included, along with more commentary, to the new edition published last October.
In the book's introduction, Bielski says that taphophiles, as cemetery enthusiasts are known, have come a long way since the 1980s, when teachers labeled her "morbid" for researching Graceland Cemetery for her high school history fair.
"Today, it's downright trendy to like cemeteries. Local burial grounds offer not only cemetery walks, with local historical societies leading tours of the graves of influential founders, but even charity runs."
The book highlights famous memorials in the city and suburbs, with QC codes leading to bonus photos and educational material. But why should we pay homage to our dead and their final resting places?
"A place for the dead in our history and memory−and in our physical world−is essential for our present and for our future, laying to rest, whether in broken and abandoned acreages or among pristine and perfect hills, our broken and perfected dreams as well."
Author Ursula Bielski will speak about the new edition of Graveyards at Sulzer Regional Library on Thursday, March 27 at 7:00.