Popular in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the theory of organic memory proposed that each individual contained within him or her the entire evolutionary history of his/her race. Each individual was simply part of a larger organic whole, which he/she inherited and passed along to his/her descendents. Prompted by the contemporary debate over evolutionary biology, the theory sought to replace metaphysical notions of culture and identity with a predictable biological mechanism. Cf. Laura Otis' Organic Memory: History of the Body in the Late Nineteenth & Early Twentieth Centuries. For Miles the theory provided an important link between her interests in transcendentalism and evolutionary science. For her, organic memory became the physical vehicle of spirit, offering an a form of immortality to the ephemera of daily experience.