In her 1928 Blue Book of Social Usage, Emily Post wrote:

At no time are we so indifferent to the social world and all its code as when we stand baffled and alone at the brink of unfathomable darkness into which our loved one has gone. The last resource to which we would look for comfort at such a time is the seeming artificiality of etiquette. Yet it is in the hours of deepest sorrow that etiquette performs its most real service. All set rules of social procedure have for their object the smoothing of personal contacts, and in nothing is smoothness so necessary as in observing the solemn rites accorded to our dead.

Etiquette in America has always been slippery. And so it’s been with regard to mourning. The Pilgrims kept mourning on the DL. A fussy public burial was seen an affront to God’s will, as was mourning… More…