Historia Mortis is a new series that reveals how early Americans dealt with the presence of death and how cultural deathways emerged to produce society’s beliefs about death and the afterlife, burial practices, mourning customs, and more.
Meet your host: Dr. Kimberly B. Sherman
Kimberly is a historian, writer, and educator based in southeast North Carolina. She received her BA & MA in History from UNC Wilmington and a Ph.D. in History from the University of St. Andrews in bonnie Scotland. Kimberly has been exploring graveyards since high school and her love of all things gothic has stoked her interest in learning more about how early Americans created cultural practices around death and dying.
Much of her interest in the subject came from reading the letters of early North Carolinians. This correspondence was often filled with reassurances of good health and news about family life — but an ever-present themed seemed to be the possibility of a life cut short. The semi-tropical environment of the early American South dealt every family a blow at some point in time. So how did these families cope? What cultural practices helped them mourn and what practicalities surrounding things like burial?
In 2019, Kimberly explored some of these topics as a Short-term Research Fellow at the Winterthur Museum and Library in Delaware. It was ultimately where the roots of the podcast were formed.