6. Title page for July 9, 1828, issue of the Cherokee Phoenix, an Indigenous publication produced at New Echota containing both English-language articles and pieces written in the Cherokee syllabary. Issues of the Phoenix were being collected at AAS during the same time period that Indigenous objects were being amassed in the collections. While many objects were interpreted as providing material evidence of declining or disappearing Indigenous peoples, print culture items like the Phoenix provided compelling evidence of tribal individuals and nations actively reckoning with modernity, and displaying technological innovation as they sought to protect their homelands, livelihoods, and sovereignty in an era of attempted Indian removal. Many Euro-American New Englanders professed immense sympathy for the Cherokee and condemned U.S. removal actions as immoral and un-Christian; at the same time, large numbers of New Englanders had difficulty recognizing Algonquian and other Native people still present in their own region, or applying similar moral frameworks to their Indigenous neighbors. Courtesy of the American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Massachusetts.


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).


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, https://commonplace.online/article/trading-looks-race-religion-dress-french-america/


Joshua R. Greenberg, editor


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