L’Inconnue de la Seine
L’Inconnue de la Seine was a young woman who was pulled, dead, out of the River Seine some time in the 1880s. One of the pathologists at the Paris Morgue was so taken with her etherial beauty that he had a death mask made. Copies were taken, and soon thousands of homes had one. L’Inconnue was very popular with artists and writers on account of her enigmatic smile reminiscent of that of the Mona Lisa.
Leland Stanford Jr
Leland Stanford Jr died aged 15 of typhoid in 1884. His distraught parents founded the university which bears his name.
This is one way to make a death mask.
More excellent photos of death masks here.