- Copyright Page
- List of Contributors
- Words or Things in American History?
- Artifacts and Their Functions
- Mastery, Artifice, and the Natural Order: A Jewel from the Early Modern Pearl Industry
- Food and Cognition: <i>Henry Norwood’s</i> A Voyage to Virginia
- On Pins and Needles: Straight Pins, Safety Pins, and Spectacularity
- Mind, Time, and Material Engagement
- Material Time
- Remaking the Kitchen, 1800–1850
- Boston Electric: Science by “Mail Order” and Bricolage at Colonial Harvard
- Making Knowledge Claims in the Eighteenth-Century British Museum
- The Ever-Changing Technology and Significance of Silk on the Silk Road
- Science, Play, and the Material Culture of Twentieth-Century American Boyhood
- The Sensory Web of Vision: Enchantment and Agency in Religious Material Culture
- Sensiotics, or the Study of the Senses in Material Culture and History in Africa and Beyond
- The Numinous Body and the Symbolism of Human Remains
- Symbolic Things and Social Performance: Christmas Nativity Scenes in Late Nineteenth-Century Santiago de Chile
- Heritage Religion and the Mormons
- From Confiscation to Collection: The Objects of China’s Cultural Revolution
- Persons and Things in Marseille and Lucca, 1300–1450
- Cloth and the Rituals of Encounter in La Florida: Weaving and Unraveling the Code
- Street “Luxuries”: Food Hawking in Early Modern Rome
- Ebony and Ivory: Pianos, People, Property, and Freedom on the Plantation, 1861–1870
- The Material Culture of Furniture Production in the British Colonies
- Material Culture, Museums, and the Creation of Multiple Meanings
- Chronology and Time: Northern European Coastal Settlements and Societies, c. 500–1050
- Materialities in the Making of World Histories: South Asia and the South Pacific
- Mapping History in Clay and Skin: Strategies for Remembrance among Ga’ anda of Northeastern Nigeria
- Remember Me: Sensibility and the Sacred in Early Mormonism
- Housing History: The Colonial Revival as Consumer Culture
- Collecting as Historical Practice and the Conundrum of the Unmoored Object
Abstract and Keywords
This chapter explores the eighteenth-century concept of sensibility as it took form in popular culture in the United States in the early nineteenth century. Although later generations made fun of the weeping sentimentality of parlor poetry and embroidered memorials to the dead, nineteenth-century Americans believed that a pen mark on a page or a twined lock of hair could animate invisible chords in the body that connected one person to another through memory. To write about Mormonism in relation to sensibility may seem odd, since to outsiders the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints seemed the epitome of grim-faced patriarchy, with its embrace of polygamy and attempt at theocratic government. A closer look at the rich materials preserved in its archives shows the many ways in which early Saints used common cultural forms to express unique religious belief such as baptism for the dead. Latter-day Saints celebrated plural unions in the language of sentimental friendship. Like other Americans, they used tangible things to cross boundaries of space and time.
Laurel Thatcher Ulrich is 300th Anniversary University Professor Emerita at Harvard University.
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