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April 1, 2003

Contact: James David Moran
Director of Outreach
Office: (508) 471-2131
Home: (508) 248-4694

WORCESTER, MA--Today marks the launching of the newest issue of Common-place, the award-winning American history web journal. This installment takes a fresh look at the truths behind history and the angles from which history has been interpreted.

In "This Little House of Mine," Rachel Seidman relates her discovery of a new understanding of Laura Ingalls Wilder's endearing stories of childhood on the plains of the great Midwest. In "Bringing Rapes to Court," Sharon Block explores the difficulties women faced in voicing their experiences of rape in early America. Jane Kamensky examines the popularity of reality-TV recreations of the colonial era: the upcoming "Colonial House" (PBS) and "Mayflower III" (WGBH).

The development of the "Evans Digital Edition," the digitalized catalogue of more than thirty-six thousand of America's oldest printed documents, is explored in Katherine Stebbins McCaffrey's "American Originals" and the investigation continues in the column, "Tales from the Vault." Authors also look at how the Louisiana Purchase could have been redesigned, and how history was redesigned in the making of the movie, "Gangs of New York." In "Open House," Minnesota Historical Society curator Benjamin Filene tells the story of meeting with a Hmong family in a search to learn the history of their house. Book reviews cover topics such as market primacy in the Hudson River Valley, early Native American history, and an 1820s acting troupe of African New Yorkers.

About Common-place

The web journal aims to provide "a common place for exploring and exchanging ideas about early American history and culture," said co-editor Jill Lepore. "A bit friendlier than a scholarly journal, a bit more scholarly than a popular magazine, Common-place speaks ñ and listens ñ to scholars, museum curators, teachers, hobbyists, and just about anyone interested in American history before 1900." The first issue of Common-place was published on the Internet in the fall of 2000.

About the American Antiquarian Society

AAS is a learned society and independent research library, specializing in all aspects of American history and culture through 1876. Founded in 1812 by the patriot printer and publisher Isaiah Thomas, AAS is the third oldest historical organization in the United States and the first to take the whole nation as its scope. The AAS library is the preeminent repository of pre-twentieth-century American printed materials and related manuscript and graphic arts materials in the world. The Society also sponsors an array of programs to encourage the use of its collections and to foster a greater understanding of American history. The main office for Common-place is at AAS, 185 Salisbury Street, Worcester, MA 01609-1634; telephone (508) 755-5221.

About the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History

GLI promotes the study of the American past by organizing seminars and enrichment programs for teachers; supporting and producing publications and national traveling exhibitions; creating innovative history high schools, history programs, and Saturday academies; establishing research centers at universities and cultural institutions; granting and administering a major fellowship program for work in leading archives; and seeking to build national and international networks of people and institutions involved in American history.

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