Titled, simply enough, “An American Album, 1857,” Ulrich demonstrates her keen insight and inquisitive approach. She opens thus: “Sometimes the best way to approach a big topic is to focus on a small one. I would like to address a very large topic—conflict over marriage in the nineteenth-century United States—by considering a single object, a quilt made in the Territory of Utah in 1857.” Sounds simple enough, right? She continues: “I would like to convince my fellow historians that focusing on a single artifact can yield unexpected insights. Like other forms of micro-history, an object-centered inquiry enlarges details, allowing us to see connections that might otherwise be invisible” (1).
For those of you who don’t subscribe to American Historical Review, you missed out on a wonderful treat in their first issue of this year. Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, pulitzer-prize winning historian and professor at Harvard University, published some of the earliest fruits from her recent work on Mormon history in the nineteenth century.
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