MTH&M and Connecticut Funeral Directors Association present ALL THE LIVING AND THE DEAD: People Who Have Made Death Their Life’s Work (Lunchtime Virtual Event)

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October 18, 2022 • 12:00 pm


The Mark Twain House & Museum partners with the Connecticut Funeral Directors Association (CFDA) to present a virtual lunchtime conversation between Hayley Campbell, author of ALL THE LIVING AND THE DEAD: From Embalmers to Executioners, an Exploration of the People Who Have Made Death Their Life’s Work and CFDA’s Jesse M. Gomes, MA, CFSP, CPC, CC0, a licensed funeral director/embalmer and educator.   

We are surrounded by death. It is in our news, our nursery rhymes, our true-crime podcasts. Yet from a young age, we are told that death is something to be feared. How are we supposed to know what we’re so afraid of, when we are never given the chance to look?

Fueled by a childhood fascination with death, journalist Hayley Campbell searches for answers in the people who make a living by working with the dead. Along the way, she encounters mass fatality investigators, embalmers, and a former executioner who is responsible for ending sixty-two lives. She meets gravediggers who have already dug their own graves, visits a cryonics facility in Michigan, goes for late-night Chinese with a homicide detective, and questions a man whose job it is to make crime scenes disappear.

Through Campbell’s incisive and candid interviews with these people who see death every day, she asks: Why would someone choose this kind of life? Does it change you as a person? And are we missing something vital by letting death remain hidden? A dazzling work of cultural criticism, All the Living and the Dead weaves together reportage with memoir, history, and philosophy, to offer readers a fascinating look into the psychology of Western death. 

FREE virtual event! REGISTER HERE. 

Copies of ALL THE LIVING AND THE DEAD are available for purchase through the Mark Twain Store; proceeds benefit The Mark Twain House & Museum. Books will be shipped after the event. We regret that we are NOT able to ship books outside the United States as it is cost-prohibitive to do so.   




 Hayley Campbell writes for WIRED, BuzzFeed, The Guardian, GQ, Esquire, Empire, VICE, FIGHTLAND, New Statesman, McSweeney’s, The Comics Journal, hosts the Unpopped podcast for the BBC and Must Watch on BBC Radio 5 Live. She wrote a book about Neil Gaiman and her latest book, All the Living and the Dead, was published in 2022. 



A licensed funeral director/embalmer and member of the Connecticut Funeral Directors Association’s (CFDA) Executive Committee, Jesse M. Gomes, MA, CFSP, CPC, CCO, serves families at Molloy Funeral Home in West Hartford. He received Celebrant training and certification from the Insight Institute, to better meet the needs of families during their time of loss, and is a member of both the British Institute of Funeral Directors and the British Institute of Embalmers. 


The Program Director and an Associate Professor of the Funeral Service Department at Goodwin University in East Hartford, Gomes also is Director of Operations at the Human Anatomy Laboratories and Director of the Anatomical Gift Program at the Frank H. Netter, MD School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University in North Haven.  



The Connecticut Funeral Directors Association (CFDA) is comprised of funeral directors at more than 220 funeral homes. Founded 133 years ago in 1889, the Wethersfield-based association is committed to the promotion and advocacy of high ethical standards in funeral service. This includes the development and presentation of ongoing professional training opportunities for practitioners and educational programs for association members and the public. For more information about the Connecticut Funeral Directors Association, call 860-721-0234 or 800-919-2332, or visit or Connecticut Funeral Directors Association. 



Programs at The Mark Twain House & Museum are made possible in part by support from CT Humanities; the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, Office of the Arts; Ensworth Charitable Foundation, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee; the Greater Hartford Arts Council’s United Arts Campaign; The Hartford; The Mark Twain Foundation; The National Endowment for the Humanities; and Travelers. 


October 18, 2022
12:00 pm
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