Portrait photograph of Henry David Thoreau, 1856.

The True American

A review on the many publications about Henry David Thoreau's life for the bicentennial anniversary of his birthday.
American poet Walt Whitman. This image was made in 1887 in New York, by photographer George C. Cox.

Walt Whitman—Patriotic Poet, Gay Iconoclast, or Shrewd Marketing Ploy?

Americans tend to think of Walt Whitman as the embodiment of democracy and individualism, but have you ever considered Walt Whitman, the brand?
Main Street in Pioneertown, California, a fake

The Lies Americans Learn From Old West Theme Parks

As the nation debates monuments and public memory, it’s important to understand how other cultural sites help people learn (false) history.
Chinatown in San Francisco, CA, 2006.

How Chop Suey Saved San Francisco's Chinatown

For Chinese immigrants, surviving in America has always required intense strategy.
The cast of Miss Saigon performs onstage during the 2017 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 11, 2017 in New York City.

The Vietnam War That Never Goes Away

Popular theater productions and Hollywood movies about the Vietnam War have a continued place in popular culture and memory.
Image from Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s “Apes**t” video.

Blackening the Louvre Museum

Beyoncé, Jay Z, and the legacies of slavery.
A 1961 Ore-Ida truck featuring its most popular product, the tator tot.

The Tater Tot Is American Ingenuity at Its Finest

The genius move that turned potato scraps into a frozen-food empire
View from the Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah National Park near Sperryville, Virginia.

Combatting Stereotypes About Appalachian Dialects

Language variation is just as diverse within Appalachia as it is outside of the region.
Arthur Ashe, the first black tennis star to get widespread media attention, at the 1975 World Tennis Tournament.

The Role of HBCUs and the Black Press in the Rise of the American Tennis Association

Historically black colleges and universities hosted all but six ATA tournaments from 1927 to 1968.
Leon Bridges performs at the 11th Annual Apollo Theater Spring Gala at The Apollo Theater on June 13, 2016.

'They Put Us in a Little Box': How Racial Tensions Shape Modern Soul Music

While white Americana singers have infused more soul into their sound, black artists still feel restricted by limited expectations.
Closets from the Historic American Buildings Survey: Joseph Stebbins House, Deerfield, MA; Theodate Pope-Riddle House, Farmington, CT; G. N. Wilcox House, Lihue, HI.

Closet Archive

A stuffed history of the closet, where the “past becomes space.”
Ira Aldridge in the role of Aaron in Shakespeare's play

The 19th-Century African-American Actor Who Conquered Europe

And why you might never have heard of Ira Aldridge.