The Resource Oversize materials are housed separately. See Private Papers Location Database for locations

Oversize materials are housed separately. See Private Papers Location Database for locations

Inclusive dates
  • Records, 1912-1986 [bulk 1924-1986], of the clientele of the Richmond, Virginia, funeral home organized and owned by L. T. Christian (1853-1935) and later his son L. T. Christian, Jr. (1893-1975). Within each client/decedent's file are documents pertinent to their death, burial, and/or disinterment. Documents within each file may include advertisements, agreements, brochures, burial and funeral records, death certificates, clippings, correspondence, invoices, lists, military records, notes, obituaries, pamphlets, permits, receipts, oversize tombstone rubbings, and oversize artist sketches of tombstones
  • Sales agreements contracted between clients/decedents and the funeral home may contain information including the decedent's birthdate and/or age, birthplace, deathdate, place of death, occupation, sex, race, residence, parents' names and birthplace, next of kin and/or spouse, marital status, place and date of interment, and the official conducting the burial/memorial service. Other details on these agreements may include funeral and burial costs, casket size, physician's name, and cause of death. Obituaries and other newspaper clippings concerning their death are also included for most decedents. There are also handwritten notes containing other information concerning the funeral arrangements in the decedent's file. These notes may include drafts of obituaries, lists of funeral attendants and pallbearers, registers of funeral and memorial visitors, and burial plot locations
  • Correspondence principally consists of letters, phone messages, and telegrams exchanged between the funeral home and the decedent's family members, estate administrators, and/or executors, attorneys, government officials, and other funeral homes. The correspondence concerns funeral arrangements, payments or past debt on a funeral, gratitude for services provided, and logistics of transport of decedent. Receipts and invoices often accompany the correspondence and note charges for corpse transport, floral arrangements, embalming, obituary notices, cemetery fees, federal (National Cemeteries), state and city burial certificates and permits, interment, and other funeral home costs. Other receipts and invoices billed by other funeral businesses (i.e. cemeteries and mortuaries) are also contained herein. Also interspersed throughout this collection are medical examiner's (autopsy) reports and embalmer's reports which note and often explain cause of death. Embalmer's reports contain extensive detail concerning mortuary cosmetology and the process of preparation of the dead
  • Military records and correspondence with military officials often is included in the files for decedents who were veterans of the United States Armed Services. These include soldiers who died overseas during World War II, initially were buried in foreign gravesites, and after the war were disinterred and reinterred in Richmond with services provided by the L. T. Christian Funeral Home. Both death and reinterment/funeral service dates for these decedents are located in the file, but they are organized chronologically according to the year they were serviced by L. T. Christian Funeral Home. Similarly, decedents who did not serve in the military but were disinterred, relocated, and reinterred by the funeral home have been filed according to the year they were disinterred
  • Other items in the collection include advertisements and pamphlets provided by funeral businesses to the funeral home, casket warranty certificates, coffin plates, dog tags, oversize tombstone wax rubbings, and oversize sketches of tombstone art
Member of
  • Accessioned
  • Described
Biographical or historical data
  • Langdon Taylor Christian, also known as Major Langdon Taylor Christian, was born on 26 May 1853, son of William Edmund (1817-1865), a farmer, and Anne Elizabeth (Taylor) Christian (1831-1863) of New Kent County, Virginia. In 1858 Christian moved with his family to Charles City County, Virginia. His elementary education consisted of four months at a private school in Richmond, Virginia, but did not progress beyond basic reading and math. During his early teens, he commenced working on a farm in Charles City County and never returned to school. At the age of eighteen, he left his parents' farm and came to Richmond where he worked for two years in a tobacco factory. In 1872 Christian entered employment with John A. Belvin, who owned the leading furniture and undertaking business in Richmond. Christian applied himself in this endeavour as a fine finisher, varnisher, and cabinet maker, and when Belvin died in 1880 Christian succeeded him and reorganized the business to bear his name.
  • L. T. Christian became widely known as a funeral director and he soon entered politics. He was a member of the Richmond city council for 10 years beginning in 1888. From 1900 to 1904 he served as a delegate from Richmond in the Virginia General Assembly. Christian was also a member and leader of numerous fraternal and funeral directors organization including the Masonic Home of Virginia. He had a hand in the initial organization of the Virginia Game Protective Association, the National Funeral Directors' Association (1883), the Virginia Funeral Directors Association (1887), and the United States College of Embalming (1889). In 1894 Christian co-authored a bill to regulate the practice of embalming in Virginia, a bill which became law that same year and inititated the establishment of the first state examining board of embalming in the United States. Christian also served in the Virginia National Guard: he entered the Virginia Volunteers as a private in 1872 and retired 26 years later with the rank of major. On 5 October 1881, he married his first wife Isabella "Belle" Beverley Brown. With her Christian had three children. She died in 1928 and he married second Katherine Dubose, who died 2 October 1935. The elder Christian died on 13 November 1935 and was interred in Hollywood Cemetery.
  • Langdon Taylor Christian, Jr., was born on 28 August 1893, the first son and youngest child of Langdon Taylor Christian and his first wife Isabelle "Belle" Beverley Brown. Christian graduated from McGuire's University School and became a partner in his father's business by 1920. Upon his father's death in 1935, Christian assumed the presidency of the funeral home, a position he held until his retirement in June 1974. Christian like his father was affiliated with a number of fraternal and funeral director's organizations including the National Funeral Directors Association. He married Ruth Ashmore Valentine and the couple had two children. He died 23 October 1975 and was interred in Hollywood Cemetery.
Cataloging source
Form designation
Oversize materials are housed separately. See Private Papers Location Database for locations
Oversize materials are housed separately. See Private Papers Location Database for locations
Arranged by year service was rendered and then alphabetically by client or decedent's surname.
  • The Library of Virginia
Cumulative index finding aids
  • Inventory
  • Searchable database available at
Immediate source of acquisition
Valva, Jim
Type of unit
cu. ft.

Library Locations

    • Library of VirginiaBorrow it
      800 East Broad Street, Richmond, VA, 23219, US
      37.5415632 -77.4360805
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