Mucher Figure 4b

Figures 4a-b: (4a) “Peruvian Antiquities in the American Antiquarian Society’s Collection,” sketch drawn from life and identified on the following page. Included in “Researches into the origin Of the Indigines [sic] of North and South America; and the Sources of their primitive History; with illustrations of their antiquities, by T.M. Harris,” bound manuscript. A note records that William H. Prescott borrowed this volume from the AAS around 1835. (4b) “Inscription of the dress of the ancient population of Guatemala” sketch on foolscap, copied from Antonio Del Rio’s Description of the Ruins of an Ancient City, Discovered Near Palenque (1822). Included in Harris’ “Researches into the origin Of the Indigines [sic] of North and South America; and the Sources of their primitive History.” Thaddeus Mason Harris Papers. Mss Octavo Vols H. American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Mass.


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,


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