There are, in turn, gender dimensions to this question of history-bearing objects, for while histories and genealogies of formal inheritance-of land, property, wealth, and so on-have historically been transmitted through a patriarchal order (fathers passing on and dividing up wealth among sons), the transmission of certain kinds of private objects, which may often have little monetary or evident historical value in the conventional sense, has traditionally been understood as a feminized practice of sentimental and affectual connection. [...] if we accept my theory that my mother bought a beginner's guide to knitting with the expectation that she would teach me one day, this spawns a mystery of its own: why buy a book to teach me something that she could teach me herself unassisted? I like to think that the book, which is portable and which she was able to send with me, signifies the migration and portability of what she had to teach me, making the book not just an object of memory for her or an object of study for me, but an object lesson for us both.

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