Vol. 17 No. 1 :



On the Career

As Marrs makes clear, the career plot of transbellum authors reveals how periodization has distorted what we could know about the works of writers stranded for too long on one side of the Civil War divide.

Post Transbellum?

What happens if we pair “post” and “transbellum”?


Lloyd Pratt, The Strangers Book: The Human of African American Literature. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016. 200 pp., $45.95.

“The Binding Strangeness of Each to All”

Attending to “the forms and institutional contexts” that characterized antebellum African American men’s writing, Pratt identifies a political-aesthetic project that he terms “stranger humanism.”

Corey M. Brooks, Liberty Power: Antislavery Third Parties and the Transformation of American Politics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016. 336 pp., $45.


For Brooks, antebellum political abolitionists—not the Populists, not the Progressives—deserve to be remembered as “the most important third-party movement in American history.”

Anna Brickhouse, The Unsettlement of America: Translation, Interpretation, and the Story of Don Luis de Velasco, 1560-1945. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015. 384 pp., $69.

An Un-Founding Father

Sometimes un-knowing our learned assumptions . . . “requires both the associative and the imaginative flexibilities of intellectual and speculative history, respectively.”

Zachary McLeod Hutchins, ed., Community without Consent: New Perspectives on the Stamp Act. Dartmouth: Dartmouth College Press, University Press of New England, 2015. 264 pp., $40.

Stamp Collection

New things are happening with the Stamp Act, and this volume should signal to a broad range of scholars that 1765 is a good year for deep thinking.

Object Lessons

3. Frontispiece, “The City & Port of Philadelphia, on the River Delaware from Kensington,” drawn and engraved by William Birch & Son (Thomas Birch), taken from The City of Philadelphia, in the State of Pennsylvania North America; as it Appeared in the Year 1800: Consisting of Twenty Eight Plates, by William Birch & Son. (Philadelphia, 1800). Courtesy of the American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Massachusetts.

“The limb in my Fathers arms:” The Environmental and Material Creation of a Treaty Elm Relic

Through its mythic participation in Penn’s Treaty, the wood of the Treaty Elm became saturated with associated moral values and lessons.

The Common School

4. Students examine a transcript of the account book. Courtesy of the author.

My Students Discovered a Plantation; Or, an Ad-hoc Methods Class for Non-History Majors

A class’s engagement with the account book of a nineteenth-century plantation teaches painful lessons about the erasures embedded in historical records.

Tales from the Vault

1. “A New Rule in Algebra,” lithograph published by E. Jones & G.W. Newman (New York, 1846). Courtesy of the Political Cartoon Collection, American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Massachusetts. A New York lithographic firm humorously depicts three Mexican prisoners of war staring in comic disbelief at their amputated limbs. During the Mexican War, the “annexation” and “dismemberment” of Mexican territory by the U.S. was symbolized by images of bodily punishment of Mexican soldiers.

Print Culture and Popular History in the Era of the U.S.-Mexican War

The racial agenda preserved in nineteenth-century print culture resonates with contemporary U.S.-Mexico relations.

Notes on the Text

1. “Rainbow and Lucky,” p. 84, from Stories of Rainbow and Lucky: Three Pines, by Jacob Abbott (New York, 1860). Courtesy of the American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Massachusetts.

Rainbow’s Mail-bag

In this 1861 story, white society treats a teenaged African American postal rider with dignity and respect.

Ask the Author


The Imperial Franklin: Revisiting and Revising North America’s Role in the British Empire

Carla Mulford’s new book examines Benjamin Franklin’s approach to empire.