The Woolen Shoes That Made Revolutionary-Era Women Feel Patriotic

Calamanco Footwear Was Sturdy, Egalitarian, and Made in the USA

If you were a wealthy or middle-class woman living in British America around the time of the Revolution, you probably owned a pair of calamanco shoes. Like sneakers or black pumps today, calamancos were the everyday footwear of early American life: practical clothing items that can reveal a great deal about the day-to-day lives—and aspirations—of their owners.

But first, what was calamanco, this special item coveted by women of wealth and women of the middling sort? Calamanco (also spelled callimanco, calamanco, or calamink) is a worsted wool textile finished …

America’s Hidden History of Conquest and the Meaning of the West | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

America’s Hidden History of Conquest and the Meaning of the West

Historian Patricia Nelson Limerick on How Invaders Came to See Themselves as Victims, Then Romanticized the Native Americans They Displaced

Patricia Nelson Limerick is a leading scholar of the American West, and the faculty director and chair of the board of the Center of the American West at the University …

The Heartbreaking Love Letters That Spurred an Ohio Blacksmith to Join John Brown’s Raid | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

The Heartbreaking Love Letters That Spurred an Ohio Blacksmith to Join John Brown’s Raid

Dangerfield Newby’s Enslaved Wife Wrote Increasingly Desperate Missives That Inspired Her Husband to Join the Abolitionist Rebellion

Every October 16 marks the anniversary of John Brown’s historic raid on Harpers Ferry in West Virginia in 1859. Accompanied by 18 supporters, Brown, a radical abolitionist, hoped to …

When Did Americans Go Crazy for Celebrities? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

When Did Americans Go Crazy for Celebrities?

In 1849, a Riot Between 10,000 Fans of Two Rival Actors Left 22 People Dead

May 10, 1849, New York City. Twenty-two people lay dead and 150 were injured in the deadliest event of its kind in the city up to that point. The …

Americans Have Always Celebrated Hacks and Swindlers | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Americans Have Always Celebrated Hacks and Swindlers

In 19th-Century New England, Rule-Breaking Yankees Were a Source of National Pride

Grab a burger at the James Dean diner in Prague, pay homage to the Miles Davis monument in Kielce, Poland, or stop by the Elvis fan club of Malaysia, …

Why Living in College Dorms Is an American Rite of Passage | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Why Living in College Dorms Is an American Rite of Passage

Since the 17th Century, Educators Have Designed Housing to Create ‘Morally Conscious Citizens’

The residence hall in the United States has come to mark the threshold between childhood and adulthood, housing young people during a transformational time in their lives. When parents drop …