Moniz Figure 5

Figure 5: Ferguson shepherded a donation of $9.86 from the New York Female Bible Society of People of Colour to the American Bible Society in 1821. The ABS building featured in this scene opened in 1823. Ferguson’s and Graham’s organizational and financial contributions to Sunday schools, missionary efforts, and more helped build the constellation of evangelical missionary charities, known as Benevolent Empire, that helped spark and drew energy from the revivals of the Second Great Awakening. “View of a section of Ann and Nassau streets—taken from the south corner,” including the American Bible Society’s building to the right of the low-lying buildings, in the New-York Mirror, September 4, 1830, drawn by Davis. Engraved by Anderson., public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.


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,


Joshua R. Greenberg, editor


Read more about Commonplace

Contact Us

If you are looking for a specific Commonplace article from the back catalog and do not see it, or if have any other questions, please contact us directly. Please follow us on Twitter @Commonplacejrnl or Facebook @commonplacejournal and thank you for your support.