In Memoriam: J.  Joseph Edgette


J. Joseph Edgette

Longtime Popular Culture Association member J. Joseph Edgette died February 12, 2022, at his home in Glenolden, Pennsylvania.  Joseph was born June 8, 1942.  He received his B.S. in English from West Chester State College (now West Chester University) in West Chester, Pennsylvania, in 1966.  He received three graduate degrees from the University of Pennsylvania: a Master of Education in Instructional Media in 1971 and an M.A. in Folklore Studies and a Ph.D. in Folklore and Folklife in 1982.  He worked as a teacher, department head, and vice principal for the Ridley School District in Ridley Township, Pennsylvania, from 1966 to 1979.  Joseph was retired from Widener University in Chester, Pennsylvania, where he had worked since 1979 as a professor, administrator, and (since 2008) folklorist emeritus.  He was also an adjunct professor of English at Villanova University for several years.

For many years through 2021 Joseph served as the Area Chair for Cemeteries and Gravemarkers for PCA and the American Culture Association.  He was Co-Chair of the Death in American Culture Area for the Mid-Atlantic Popular and American Culture Association.  He received the Loretta Lorance Award from MAPCA in 2017 and the A. Lewis Smith Award from the Delaware County Historical Society in 2018.  In 2015 Joseph received the Forbes Award from the Association for Gravestone Studies, which has also established the J. Joseph Edgette Education Fund, described here: https://www.gravestonestudies.org/j-joseph-edgette-education-fund.

Joseph’s publications include “The Gravemarker and Oral Tradition” (New Jersey Folklore, 1985); “ ‘Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep…’: Symbols and Their Meanings on Children’s Gravemarkers” (Children’s Folklore Review, 1999); “RMS Titanic: Memorialized in Popular Literature and Culture” (Studies in the Literary Imagination, 2006); and “Larger Than Life: Titanic and Her Name Heritage” (Names: A Journal of Onomastics, 2006).


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