A Tragic Brooklyn Fire

On December 5th, 1876 the Brooklyn Theater caught fire. It held its maximum capacity of one thousand people. The cheapest seats were the balcony seats located at the top with only one way up and one way down. Last Tuesday I was lucky enough to be given the chance to get my hands on primary sources from the actual fire. I saw along with two of my peers receipts from a week to a year later of the fire. We decoded the hand writing of these receipts to find out how much the cost of funerals were during that time period. Funerals ranged in price depending on what class the person was and what year they were being buried I guess, because, in the year 1876 a few weeks after the fire the cost was forty-seven dollars and in 1877 almost a year later the cost was sixty dollars. Then there were on occasion two receipts in the same year but one price was over a hundred and the other a little less then half the cost of that. After viewing a number of receipts the other group at my table stated that people during this time only made seven to twenty dollars a week, therefore, some of these funerals cost about a months work to actually pay the full cost. During the class one of my peers and I looked up the cost of these funerals today and found out that the value of one dollar in 1876 was equivalent to the value of two dollars and twenty-four cents today. Then we did the math and found out the cost of a funeral of forty-seven dollars during the year 1876 today would cost about one hundred and five dollars. What I wanted to know the whole time viewing the receipts was were was the name of the deceased person was located on the actual receipt? There were several names and we could not figure out who was being billed or who was the deceased person.

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