Sacred Relics: Pieces Of The Past In Nineteenth-century America

Hardcover | September 19, 2013

byTeresa Barnett

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A piece of Plymouth Rock. A lock of George Washington’s hair. Wood from the cabin where Abraham Lincoln was born. Various bits and pieces of the past—often called “association items”—may appear to be eccentric odds and ends, but they are valued because of their connections to prominent people and events in American history. Kept in museum collections large and small across the United States, such objects are the touchstones of our popular engagement with history.

In Sacred Relics, Teresa Barnett explores the history of private collections of items like these, illuminating how Americans view the past. She traces the relic-collecting tradition back to eighteenth-century England, then on to articles belonging to the founding fathers and through the mass collecting of artifacts that followed the Civil War. Ultimately, Barnett shows how we can trace our own historical collecting from the nineteenth century’s assemblages of the material possessions of great men and women.

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From the Publisher

A piece of Plymouth Rock. A lock of George Washington’s hair. Wood from the cabin where Abraham Lincoln was born. Various bits and pieces of the past—often called “association items”—may appear to be eccentric odds and ends, but they are valued because of their connections to prominent people and events in American history. Kept in mus...

Teresa Barnett is director of the UCLA Center for Oral History Research, where she has worked for twenty years. She has published several essays on oral history and historical memory in edited volumes. She lives in Los Angeles, California.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:264 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.2 inPublished:September 19, 2013Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022605960X

ISBN - 13:9780226059600

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction

Part 1 Origins and Meanings
1 Beginnings
2 History’s Remains
3 The Sentimental Relic

Part 2 The Civil War
4 The Battlefield’s Remains
5 “In Memory of Our Beloved Confederacy”: Pathetic Relics of the Lost Cause
6 From Relic to Souvenir: Buffs’ Collecting of the War

Part 3 Conclusion
7 The Waning of the Relic

Notes
Index

Editorial Reviews

“Barnett provides readers with an illuminating study about the history of museums and, more broadly, about the history of historical thought. In addition, she offers museum professionals an enlarged interpretative framework from which to reconsider the relic. Barnett has made an impressive contribution to the history of American museums and to the study of the practice of history.”