Paul Frecker
Fine Photographs


Mary Anna Heck, 1914
Anonymous, Palmyra, Pennsylvania, USA
silver print

A silver gelatin print showing a little girl in a white coffin, the name Mary clearly visible on a trailing ribbon. An inscription in pencil on the reverse reads '1 year 9 months 21 days / Mary / Born Aug 29 1912 / died June 20 1914.'

Photographer and location unidentified. However, the photograph was purchased together with another of the same girl at her christening, and that portrait bears the mark of a photographer from Lebanon County, Pennsylvania.

A search on reveals that the child's full name was Mary Anna Heck and she was the daughter of Edward D. Heck of Palmyra, Pennsylvania. Her mother was Sarah Ann née Epler. Mary died in Palmyra of pneumonia on 20 June 1914 and was buried three days later in Gravil Hill Cemetery, Palmyra. According to the 1910 census, Edward D. Heck was a labourer. Edward and Sarah had previously lost another child, a one-year-old boy named George Eugene Hack, to cholera in 1908. 

Born on 26 May 1876, Edward Daniel Heck died aged 78 on 9 June 1954 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. 

The print measures 4" by 5" (10 cm by 13 cm) including a narrow white border; it is mounted on a slightly larger cream-coloured piece of Bristol board, with embossed decorative border.

code: pm0202
post mortem, post mortem portrait, post mortem portraits, coffin, coffins, Mary Anne Heck, Palmyra Pennsylvania, Palmyra