7. Dinner card reads: “Walt Whitman’s Seventieth Birthday, May 31, 1889.” Setting is Morgan’s Hall, Camden, New Jersey. The dinner has been titled “The Feast of Reason.” Menu items include, in order of their appearance, “Little Neck Clams on Half Shell”; for soup, Consomme Royal; Boiled Rock Fish a la Hollandaise with a Cucumber Sauce; Filet de Boeuf served with Spring Lamb, Spinach, Cauliflower, Asparagus, and Potato Snow; an entrée of Broiled Chicken with Mushrooms, served with Saratoga Potatoes, Olives, and Tomato Sauce; for dessert, Strawberries with Cream; and to conclude the dinner, Cigars, etc. Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Walt Whitman Papers in the Charles E. Feinberg Collection.


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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