Photograph of American author and editor Bess Lovejoy.

Bess Lovejoy

Bess Lovejoy is an award-winning writer and editor whose writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Boston Globe, and The Believer. Her first book, Rest in Pieces: The Curious Fates of Famous Corpses, was published in 2013 by Simon & Schuster. 

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Body Snatchers of Old New York

By Bess Lovejoy

When the slaves of New York died, usually of disease and overwork, they were buried in an unincorporated patch of land in a wooded ravine just north of Chambers Street, near the Collect Pond. The city’s fathers had declared the churchyards—the favored burial spots of the elites—off-limits to blacks both free and enslaved. Just as there was a hierarchy for the living in New York, there was a hierarchy for the dead. More

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