ABOUT

Welcome to Commonplace, a destination for exploring and exchanging ideas about early American history and culture. A bit less formal than a scholarly journal, a bit more scholarly than a popular magazine,Commonplace speaks—and listens—to scholars, museum curators, teachers, hobbyists, and just about anyone interested in American history before 1900. It is for all sorts of people to read about all sorts of things relating to early American life—from architecture to literature, from politics to parlor manners. It’s a place to find insightful analysis of early American history as it is discussed in scholarly literature, as it manifests on the evening news, as it is curated in museums, big and small; as it is performed in documentary and dramatic films and as it shows up in everyday life.

In addition to critical evaluations of books and websites (Reviews) and poetic research and fiction (Creative Writing), our articles explore material and visual culture (Objects); pedagogy, the writing of literary scholarship, and the historian’s craft (Teach); and diverse aspects of America’s past and its many peoples (Learn). For more great content, check out our other projects, (Just Teach One) and (Just Teach One African American Print).

Commonplace originally launched in 2000 as Common-Place: The Journal of Early American Life and has now been reimagined with a cleaner, more accessible interface. Our articles appear on a rolling basis and are arranged by category instead of being organized by issue and volume. To commemorate this new phase of the publication, we are embarking on a yearlong celebration to introduce ourselves to new readers and reintroduce ourselves to members of the Commonplace community. We will select a topical theme each week and post relevant articles on Monday and Thursday until the extensive back catalog of Common-Place appears on the new site. We will also post a featured review related to the weekly theme to guide you to further reading. We think you will find this material fresh and relevant, as well as newly accessible.

Sponsored by the American Antiquarian Society, founded by editors Jane Kamensky and Jill Lepore, and designed by John McCoy, Common-Place: The Journal of Early American Life is the product of an amazing team of editors and institutions. Over nearly two decades, the journal has been published in partnerships with Florida State University, the University of Oklahoma, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, and the University of Connecticut.  Past editors have included Ed Gray; Catherine Kelly; Anna Mae Duane and Walt Woodward. Past contributors and guest editors have included: Joanna Brooks, Robert A. Gross, Gary B. Nash, Megan Kate Nelson, Mary Beth Norton, and Alan Taylor.

In 2019, the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture joined the AAS in a new partnership to redesign and reinvigorate the site.

How to cite Commonplace articles: 

Author, “Title of Article,” Commonplace: the journal of early American life, date accessed, URL.

Sophie White, “Trading Looks Race, Religion and Dress in French America,” Commonplace: the journal of early American life, accessed September 30, 2019, http://commonplace.online/article/trading-looks-race-religion-dress-french-america/ 

Joshua R. Greenberg, editor