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October 1, 2005 Contact: James David Moran
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"Mapping time" essay wins Common-place award for historical writing

WORCESTER— An essay presenting a 24-hour panorama of American city life in the nineteenth century is the winner of the second Uncommon Voice prize from Common-place, the online journal of American history.

The essay, "Mapping Time" by Peter C. Baldwin, associate professor of history at the University of Connecticut, appeared in the October 2005 issue of Common-place:

Baldwin is the author of Domesticating the Street: The Reform of Public Space in Hartford, 1850-1930 (Columbus, 1999). He is writing a book about the social history of night in American cities.

In "Mapping Time," Baldwin wrote, "In the nineteenth-century urban time seemed to move in frighteningly unpredictable ways. This was especially so of those once-fixed temporal reference points: day and night. In the new chaos of urban life, these seemed to lose their reassuring permanence."

With excerpts from sources as diverse as Walt Whitman and a minister from Brooklyn who warns young men against the temptations of the night, Baldwin’s article demonstrates "the emerging structure of urban day and urban night. We can see people inching toward what we would now call the twenty-four-hour city," he wrote.

Edward Gray, associate professor of history at Florida State University and editor of Common-place, praised Baldwin’s essay as, "a supreme example of the historian's craft. What makes the piece stand out is its unusual mingling of creative expression and deep research," Gray said.

The cash award for the Uncommon Prize was funded by an anonymous donor. Since it was launched in 2000, Common-place has been an "uncommon voice" amid the myriad printed and electronic journals, magazines, and weblogs competing for the attention of historically minded individuals. The goal of the journal has been to provide academics, researchers, students, teachers, and the general public with a rich array of interesting and thoughtful articles, informed by the highest standards of contemporary scholarship and written to command and hold the attention of all kinds of readers.

More About Common-place

Common-place is a common place for exploring and exchanging ideas about early American history and culture. A bit friendlier than a scholarly journal, a bit more scholarly than a popular magazine, Common-place speaks—and listens—to scholars, museum curators, teachers, hobbyists, and just about anyone interested in American history before 1900. Common-place readers can join in the discussion of any of the journal's features by visiting the "Common-place Coffeeshop," a message board on the website. Common-place is sponsored by the American Antiquarian Society and the Florida State University Department of History.

About the American Antiquarian Society

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 St., Worcester, MA 01609-1634; telephone (508) 755-5221.

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