All posts by Rosemary Zlokas

First Year Reflections

Well, this year went quick!  Like several of you have already expressed, I feel like I have grown as a historian a lot this year.  Before coming in to this MA program, I really did not know much about how to understand and use frameworks and methodologies within writing.  Discussing this in Historical Methods and Dr. Mollin’s Gender course was a real wake up call!  And, while I am definitely still getting the hang of using frameworks and methodologies, I have really come to appreciate how useful (and necessary) these can be in writing about history.

I have also improved my research skills.  Dr. Quigley’s class was great exposure to working with primary resources, something I had not done too much of before this year.  Learning how to interpret sources, especially ones I did not know much about, has been really difficult, but definitely a valuable skill to have.  Our Research Methods class with Dr. Jones also taught me a lot about how to research a topic.  From learning how to understand the types of primary and secondary sources we need to support vague ideas and turn them into real, focused goals has definitely improved my research abilities, as has learning how to write a funding proposal, how to locate where materials are, and how to plan out an archive visit.   Writing a thesis proposal was also extremely helpful in solidifying research plans and really focusing how I will approach my topic. The real test of my research skills will be this summer, but I think I’m ready for it!

I feel that I have improved a lot as a public historian this year, as well.  My GA assignments with Dr. Cline have been incredible experiences and I feel like I have contributed real, valuable work to a project that has real potential to shake up the Public History world!  I hope to continue on with this experience next year!  Also, learning how to “think” as a public historian has been huge for me.  I have previously completed several museum internships, so I had a sense of the practical skills necessary for these environments, but I never knew how in depth the theories behind them were.  I think learning more about these will be a huge asset for working at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame this summer.  Lastly, learning how to think as a digital historian has been a major asset.  I have improved upon more technically advanced skills than I thought I ever could and I am so happy I stepped out of my comfort zone to do so.  I will also be able to use some of these skills this summer, as well as on a digital history component of my thesis next year.

On the homestretch!

Well, this semester went fast!  I can’t believe our proposals are due tomorrow!  As I finish up my revisions and hear about everyone else’s, it is really exciting to see how all of our projects have transformed since we first started bouncing around ideas about our interests.

On my end, I am finishing “tightening” my historiography section, working on “telling a story” with the literature more than I had in the previous draft.  I think I have finally added all of my new primary and secondary resources, but maybe I can sneak a few more in there.  The suggestions from Dr. Jones, Amanda, and my committee members have been really, really helpful in this revision process!

Post-Committee Meeting Comments

I am happy to report that I had my first committee meeting this week and it went well…and was a lot of fun, too!  It definitely helped that I have had Dr. Jones, Dr. Mollin, and Dr. Cline as professors before and was used to their style of feedback and this put me at ease for asking all of my follow-up questions.

We discussed ways to narrow down my topic.  I will not be looking at 1940-1950, rather than 1945-1960.  This narrows things down a bit, but will also add a really interesting aspect of how things differed right before, during, and after World War II.  For example, I can looking at how male-female rations changed during and after the war and how this affected how much effort women put into their appearances, as well as what type of military training programs were on campus.  Additionally, we decided that I only need to look at one college, rather than one co-ed and one women’s college.  I am still planning on looking at Carnegie Mellon University (with University of Pittsburgh still as a back-up option).  This cuts one facet of my research in half and will make discussing the “college student reception” part of my thesis a lot more focused.  In relation to looking at CMU, they raised some pertinent questions, such as how elite was the school?, did women live on or off campus?, and where did they come from?

We also discussed my evidence base at length.  All of my committee members are on board with my research trip to DC and had some great advice on how to prepare ahead of time and how to keep track of records.  They were also on board with the evidences I have in mind (magazines, advertisements, beauty manuals, sorority records, college newspapers, yearbooks) and also added student handbooks, course catalogs, and sorority recruitment records to the list.  We discussed how gathering all of this evidence will fit into my summer plans.

We began to hammer down some of the details about the Public History components of my thesis.  I will still be trying to collect oral histories this summer (probably 6) and aim to learn how to interpret these in the fall with the help of Dr. Cline.  We also talked about the digital component, which I have begun working on as my final project for my Digital History course.  I shared the website that I have coded from scratch, what I have already added to it, and how I see it being valuable for both sharing information, and acting as a digital archive/exhibit of sorts.  There are some procedural issues to work out with both of these, such as IRB protocols for the oral histories and copyright issues if I decide to host my website.

Overall, the committee gave me a lot to think about and I am even more excited to jump into my research this summer!

Upcoming committee meeting

I am really excited (and possibly a little nervous) for my first committee meeting this week.  On Thursday, I will be meeting with Dr. Jones, Dr. Mollin, and Dr. Cline to discuss my thesis proposal.  I have already discussed this project several times over with each of them, but I am looking forward to hearing what they have to say after reading my whole proposal.  It also helps that I have had each member as a teacher already, so I (hopefully) know what to expect in terms of their critiques and can begin to anticipate what they will have to say.

Here is what I hope to come away from this meeting with:

  • Suggestions for changes to the proposal
  • A narrowed scope, possibly a more specific time frame
  • A refinement of my proposed sources
  • Suggestions for additional sources, if need be
  • A better and more clear summer research plan
  • Suggestions for how to better approach my historiography
  • Suggestions on what to clarify (especially terms and ideas)
  • Realigning (and possibly eliminating) some subquestions and subarguments
  • Assurance that this project is worthwhile pursuing
  • That all of my committee members are on board
  • An understanding of what the “public history” component/requirements will be

Here is what I hope my committee members come away from this meeting with:

  • Feelings of excitement over this project!
  • Opinions that this project is worthwhile pursing
  • Answers to any questions they may have
  • Assurances for any concerns they may have
  • A better understanding (and appreciation) for my topic
  • A feeling that we can work well together, along with the other committee members

Proposal Revisions

This past week, I received a lot of great advice on how to improve my proposal from Dr. Jones and Amanda.  It was really interesting to see where their suggestions did or did not overlap.  I am looking forward to delving into how to really improve my proposal after meeting with my committee soon.

Dr. Jones suggested that I work on being less vague with some of my ideas and gave me advice on how to make my ideas more concrete.  She also advised me to “tell a story” more and how to improve the way I look the sources in my literature review section.  We also discussed the idea the idea of narrowing this topic down more—something neither of us are sure how to do.  We are both hopeful that a meeting with my committee might yield some ideas!

My next step will be to meet with my committee to discuss this proposal and ways to improve upon it.  I am then going to take their suggestions, along with those from Dr. Jones and Amanda, and thoroughly revise my paper, focusing on clarity, content, concreteness, and general errors/word structure.   In order really focus on clarity, I will have some friends and family members who are educated, but not historians, read over my ideas and see what makes sense to them. I will also continue to work on planning out my research process for this summer, trying to get a better idea of exactly which collections at which institutions I should visit.  I have found quite a number of prescriptive beauty texts from the 40s and 50s and ordered many from ILL, so I think being able to read through some of these will be a good step, as well.

Proposing a few ideas about my proposal

I was surprised by how much I learned writing my proposal!  I was skeptical about “faking” an argument going into the writing process, but it really helped me focus the other parts of the proposal around a central idea.  Writing a research question was also very helpful in thinking about my evidence and methodology because it really called into question what types of evidence are needed.  In some ways, it made me realize that I know a lot more about where I want to take this project.  At the same time, it made me realize how much I still have to find out about my topic!

 

For the next draft, I would like to tighten my main argument and possible narrow my secondary arguments.  I have since found a few more texts I would like to add to streamline and strengthen my historiography.  I would also like to be more specific about my evidence and research plans, as well as provide better context to orient my audience to the topic.

Berto-tees

Bertoti Comments:

 I think the Bertoti Conference went really well this year!  There were a few things that went especially well and a few things I think we could improve upon for next year.  It seemed like the “committee” system was effective and turned out to be a great way to delegate responsibilities.  Not only were we able to better split up work this way, but we also had more say over the “type” of work we each did.  Meeting in small groups was much easier to schedule, too.  I think we should definitely keep the committee system for next year!  I think we also had a really effective social media campaign.  Lucas and I had a lot of fun writing the Facebook posts and they helped keep our followers abreast of updates and fun tips.  The Twitter was also a hit!  The round table seemed to also go over really well.  All of our presenters did an awesome job presenting insight into their experiences and advice for listeners.  We should definitely do another round table next year, perhaps one discussing different opinions on current ethical issues/challenges facing historians today.

I think some logistical issues could be smoothed over a little bit more next year, such as how much food to order and double-checking that we have enough nametags. I think we should have more group meetings.  It was tough to know what other students (committee or cohort or grad in general) were working on and sometimes I felt a little out of the loop.  Lastly, I think we should do more fun things throughout the weekend, especially Saturday. It might be fun to have some type of really tough history pop quiz “stumper” questions throughout the weekend.  We could have different sets for presentation sessions, when making announcements, and the beginning of keynotes, etc.  We could have silly little prizes… possibly Bertoti t-shirts if we can have them made cheaply. Actually, let’s just plan on making Bertoti t-shirts (Berto-tees?) a part of next year in some way.  If we can save enough on a bulk order, we might even be able to hand them out to attendees/presenters.  In turn, when presenters wear these shirts back at their own universities, it would draw attention to Bertoti.

Refocused focus statement to keep refocusing:

I am researching the beauty culture of college women during the post-World War II era, seeking to connect messages from of consumer culture with personal choices made by these women.  The postwar period, which can be roughly understood as 1945-1960, featured a time of cultural clamoring in which young women sought to define themselves in the wake of a changing nation.  College women, at this time, are a unique group of women who have not (yet) decided to marry (although a small amount were married while in school).   It is valuable to see how women aged 18-24 reacted to messages in prescriptive literature, especially messages aimed specifically at “college girls.”  Furthermore, studying college women allows for the comparison of women in single sex and coeducational communities.  This research project will explore consumer culture, how it shaped women as consumers, and how it affected women’s ideas of themselves as individuals, while also engaging in a comparison study between how these messages manifested in coeducational versus women’s colleges In effect, studying beauty culture can show us what types of messages were circulated through popular culture and how women responded by adopting or not adopting these prescriptive messages.  I expect to find that women at both women’s and co-educational colleges adapted the messages permeated through prescriptive literature similarly.  This tells us that women followed beauty practices as an “act of femininity” and this was not influenced by the presence of men.

Disclaimer: These assumptions are being made based on looking at only two universities (a women’s and a co-ed).  I will be more precise in my language, either explicitly stating this, or specifically naming, say, Pennsylvania Women’s College and Carnegie Mellon University.

Methodology:

I plan to approach this topic through two routes of analysis: consumer culture and personal.  In accordance with the first route, I will look at how messages of consumer culture were portrayed and prescribed in prescriptive literature as related to beauty, both in the meanings they associate with beauty and in the beauty “advice” listed.  The second route of analysis will focus on how women received these messages and in what ways did they or did they not adapt beauty suggestions from prescriptive literature.  My framework will also employ theories of culture, gender, self-image, sexuality, feminity, and masculinity to better understand the role beauty culture played in the lives of college women during the post-World War II era.

 

Secondary Sources:

 Since I have recently discovered that sorority records might be valuable to my research, I read the following for this week:

“Sister Act: Sorority Rush as Feminine performance” by Elizabeth Boyd (Southern Cultures, 5.3, Fall 1999) dissects a major component of sorority life as a feminine performance.  She describes it as a “feminine stratification ritual” and “a scrutiny session in which women are assigned a social value based on looks, status, and feminine competency”.  She later connects the emphasis put into appearance dictates a performance of a prescriptive idea of gender.  I think her framework will be very useful because she connects the idea of appearance with social value.

In Inside Greek U.: Fraternities, Sororities, and the Pursuit of Pleasure, Power and Prestige, Alan D. DeSantis argues that “fraternities and sororities proudly and fiercely reproduce many of the traditional and harmful ideas about gender through their scripted performances.” He explains that these are places where women should act like “real” women and those who are two androgynous or ambivalent in their gendered performances are denied entrance.  DeSantis’s conclusion that women must fit this gendered performance to be a part of this society is an idea that I will test out in my own research.  Did this matter as much in the 50s?  Does the same idea apply outside of sororities, or is there even a way to evaluate this?

My Spring Break 2014 Trip!!!!!! (to the archives)

Over spring break:

I visited University of Pittsburgh’s Special Collections and Carnegie Mellon University’s archives.  It’s hard to say what portion of the research I completed will I actually be able to use, but it was definitely a valuable experience to visit an archive as a “grown-up” researcher.  I learned a lot from these trips!  It was great that I was able to fit these trips in this week because these locations are, like most archives, only open on weekdays, so a weekend trip later this semester would have not been feasible.  In Pitt’s Special Collections on Monday, I found a really fun beauty guide that was basically an over-sexualized guide for women on how to maintain a certain physical appearance and it largely featured women exercising in bras and panties.  Pitt’s yearbooks are all digitized, so I can look at these another time.  Their newspapers are only available on microfilm, which was tough…but at least they are available somewhere!

I had an interesting “lead” at CMU on Tuesday.  I had been going through yearbooks from the 40s when I realized that many of the images of women came from sorority functions.  I then focused on finding other records involving sororities, such as pictures, pamphlets, and minutes from meetings.  I went through minutes from one sorority from 1943-1948 that were available, hoping to find discussions/dictations on what constituted as an appropriate appearance.  I found very little of this in these particular minutes, but am now interested in pursing information from other sororities and possibly even the records sororities keep of themselves.

I also spent time “research journaling” over break, looking at the Belcher questions and journaling pages of responses. It turned out to be really productive to have a few days without the stress of classes to think over my research questions in a relaxed environment and there was no rush to answer a set of questions in time for a blog post.  I am going to take more time to journal over research questions in a stress-free environment for this project and also for projects in other classes.

 

Focus statement:

I am researching the beauty culture of college women during the post-World War II era, engaging in a comparison study between a women’s college and a co-educational college at this time.  This research will seek to approach the topic in two routes: one examining the consumer culture side of this topic and the other focusing on what beauty culture meant to women on a more personal level.  This research project thus aims to answer what beauty meant to women, why it mattered (on personal, consumer, and group levels), and how it affected their lives.  Beauty culture can tell us a lot about women’s ways of life  and choices made during college, because women’s perceptions of themselves/others based on beauty are evident through the choices they made, responses they had to consumer culture, and relationships they formed.  I am researching this topic to see what beauty culture meant in consumer culture, how it shaped women as consumers, and how it affected women’s ideas of themselves as individuals.  In effect, studying beauty culture can show us what types of messages were circulated through popular culture and how women responded.

Review of article methodology:

This week, I looked at Deborah M. Olsen’s article “Remaking the Image of Promotional Literature of Mount Holyoke, Smith, and Wellesley Colleges in the mid-to-late 1940s” to examine its methodology.  Olsen looks at how these women’s “colleges had often sent mixed messages, reflecting the ongoing dilemma in American culture about women’s role and the proper level and goal of women’s education” (420).  She looks at how new discourses adopted in promotional literature could represent a rupture from the past in a way that led to criticism from college communities.  Olsen examines the techniques used by these colleges and the resulting tensions, conflicts, and paradoxes (421).  She looks closely at how promotional literature reveals specific techniques that were adopted by these colleges in this process of refashioning their image (430), such as: fundraising appeals, links to ideas ideals of marriage and family, and images portraying motherhood.  Methodologically, Olsen does a great job selecting an interesting body of sources, connecting it to a larger narrative, and arguing what this says about the ideals perpetuated by women’s colleges at this time.

Secondary readings

 This week, I read Betty Friedan and the Making of  The Feminine Mystique by Daniel  Horowitz, which includes some on Betty Friedan’s experience at Smith College (then Betty Goldstein).  Horowitz discusses the editorials in the Smith newspaper written was editor-in-chief for a year beginning in March 1941.  These editorials were anti-war until Pearl Harbor, anti-facist, pro-labor unions, for students’ rights, opposed to the college administration, and critical of the privileged lives many Smith students lived and even flaunted (7).  Though largely had more to do about labor and feminist work (@CHELSEA), these articles still provided an interesting take on how to approach college newspapers. Horowitz argues, “Though most women’s historians have argued that 1960s feminism emerged in response to the suburban captivity of white middle-class women during the 1950s, the material in Friedan’s papers suggested additional origins—antifascism, radicalism, and labor union activism in the 1940s.  This text got me thinking that perhaps the “roots” of decisions made on beauty culture led to some type of cultivation of self image/confidence and impacted women later in life.  Probably a bit of a stretch to think about for this project (except maybe in the oral histories?) but it is quite an interesting idea.

I also read a suggestion of Betsy’s this week: Pink Think: Becoming a Woman in Many Uneasy Lessons by Lynn Peril.  Peril looks at women from the 1940s to the 1970s and how they were coaxed to “think pink” by persuasive advertisements and advice experts.  The author explores what feminine perfection meant and how this contributed to the idea of “true feminine success”.  I wish this book talked more explicitly about college women, but it does an awesome job looking at how advertisements and other influences shaped conceptions of “feminine” and “perfect” for women.  Even more exciting, Peril uses period artifacts to illustrate some of her points.  I did something similar with a paper I wrote on birth control while attending Fordham, and I hope to employ a similar methodology with what might be a public history component of my research project.

 

 

Figuring out the next steps

First of all, I really enjoyed last week’s presentations!  It was great to see how everyone has been approaching their primary source research and I look forward to seeing the rest of the presentations this week.

I am trying to incorporate oral histories into my research project.  I had a great talk with Dr. Cline about this last week.  We discussed the best way to find interviewees to talk to and now that I am at the stage of picking at colleges to look at, I should keep the availability of access to interviewees in mind.

I also talked to Dr. Mollin this week and we discussed the best way to pick the colleges I want to focus on.  I think I will select one institution that was women only at the time and one that was co-ed.  Since I do not know where I will be this summer yet, (AHHH) she had a great suggestion that I pick sets of schools for the possible locations so that I can accessible locations.  For example, if I am in Pittsburgh this summer, I might look at Carlow University (women’s) and University of Pittsburgh or Carnegie Mellon.  If I am in Nashville, I will likely look at Vanderbilt and a women’s college.  And, if I am in Blacksburg, I will likely look at Hollins or Radford and University of Virginia.  Also, my girl Taylor has been really helpful in finding women who would be open to giving oral histories, so that could be a deciding factor as well.

Additionally, I talked to Dr. Wallenstein about factors to consider in selecting institutions.  Lastly, I talked to Dr. Winling about approaching this topic from a spatial historian’s point of view and considering the idea of “spaces of beautification”

It’s been a busy week but awesome to be able to talk to so many faculty members about this research!!

Permanent Waves: The Making of the American Beauty Shop by Julie A. Willet

In Digital History this week, we talked about GIS and the spatial turn in history.  This led me to think about how space plays a role in how I can look at my own project and the idea of “spaces of beautification.”  So, I read Permanent Waves: The Making of the American Beauty Shop by Julie A. Willett.  She gives the example of her grandmother’s beauty shop, which was distinctively and exclusively white and female.  Her beauty shop was an institution vital to culture, community, and social change.  What about for college women? Clearly, this space of beautification had a lot of implications for how women were able to determine messages of beauty and act upon them in ways that obeyed these social norms.  I am interested in seeing if beautification types of spaces for college women (dorm rooms, etc.) had a similar social construct.

“Estée Lauder: Self-Definition and the Modern Cosmetics Market” by Nancy Koehn

In this essay, Koehn looks at the growth of the beauty business after World War II, focusing on Estée Lauder.  This also gives some great background on the beauty business during World War II.  Koehn’s article is a great “case study” for looking at one cosmetics company at this time and also pointed me in the direction of finding really great statistics for my time period.

Lastly, for those of you on the twitterverse, I have been manning the @vtpublichistory twitter for the past couple days and will continue to do so until Thursday.  Log on and give me some #retweets.

The Smart College Girl Majors in Beauty

I had a great meeting with Dr. Jones this week and have since somewhat refocused my research plans.  As of now, I am pursing the consumer culture route, but adding more about college women “as women” who were affected by these advertisements as much as possible.  I’m talking to Dr. Cline next week about the best way to go about taking and including oral histories.  These could be a great supplement to my research or, depending on how many/what types I am able to record, could even move to the forefront of my research focus.  I’m excited to see where it goes!  Is anyone else thinking about oral histories?

Delving more deeply into the impact of beauty advertisements and magazine articles on college women, I read Women’s Magazines 1940-1960: Gender Roles and the Popular Press (edited by Nancy A. Walker) and The Fifties: A Women’s Oral History by Brett Harvey.

Women’s Magazines 1940-1960: Gender Roles and the Popular Press

In her introduction, Walker stresses the important role magazines played in reading American audiences and how their advertisements made up a majority of each issue.  This text pointed me in the direction of Mademoiselle, a magazine marketed for smart young women, so it was especially appealing to female college students (3).  I will begin to look at Mademoiselle, as well as Glamour, Redbook, and Cosmopolitan.  I have been struggling with location some of these archives, so hopefully something turns up!  Walker also brings up a lot of important points in how to begin to interpret the impact these magazines had on their female readers, although this is something that is impossible to say for sure.   There is even a section on “Fashion and Beauty.”  Several are useful in suggesting other places to look and several are useful in and of themselves.  The best is probably “How to Look Halfway Decent” from McCall’s 1959 (225-227).

The Fifties: A Women’s Oral History

Harvey provides a very unique history of the 1950s thought these accounts.  There is also much to be learned from her methodologically.  She found a way to connect with the ninety-two women she interviewed with and this led to very evocative and poignant accounts of their lives.  She did not publish the text in “interview” form, but rather turned each interview into an essay, string together their sentiments in a coherent fashion and adding historical background when pertinent.

 

Here is what I am thinking for my primary source presentation.  I’ll try not to give it all away right now :)

elizabethadren.thesmartgirl

I have found an amazing advertisement for Elizabeth Arden cosmetics that was published in the August 1944 issue of The New Yorker.  This advertisement is geared specifically toward college women, as it is headlined “The Smart College Girl Majors in Beauty.”  What is especially great about this ad (and there are a lot of great things about it) is that it does not advocate one specific beauty product “quick fix,” but it actually promotes beauty as an essential part of their culture.  I have uploaded this image to scholar as well.

Why did you choose this particular item as representative of the archive you’ve created at this point in the research process?

So far, I have been trying to build an archive of advertisements and articles from magazines, so this speaks to the ad-side and is also relevant because it came from a magazine.  This advertisement was published in the August 1944 issue of The New Yorker.  (explain 1944 scope issue)  So far, I have not considered the New Yorker, but I will certainly do so now!  This item is also representative because it is of a specific cosmetic line, at least a portion of which was geared toward college-aged women.  It is suggestive of adapting beauty culture as part of one’s lifestyle, rather than buying a single product.  While my archive will also include ads for one specific product, I am aiming to have a significant base of types of ads that perpetuate beauty culture in more generalized terms.

How did you discover the source?  Where is it located?

 I found this advertisement while browsing Duke’s collection of Beauty and Hygiene (1911-1956) advertisements.  I looked into a number of things for this project, but decided that an advertisement was the best route because of the consumer culture approach, but for my own benefit and because I wanted to share with the class what this means.  In Duke’s online archives, I selected the subcategory Cosmetics, narrowed my search to the 1940s and, voilà!, here is this perfect source!!  I did go through a few hundred advertisements to confirm that this was the one I wanted to use for my presentation and found a lot of other great sources along the way.   Major shout out to Duke’s library for having done such an incredible job digitizing everything.

How does the source help you locate an answer to your research question?  What can this type of source tell you?

 Most importantly, this source tells me that cosmetic companies did in fact create and publish advertisements that were geared toward college women.  These women were part of the consumer culture of the war and postwar era and they were an audience worth targeting and taken seriously, as this advertisement was in The New Yorker.  While I did find other advertisements that were for specific products targeted toward college women (Dorthy Gray goes to college…”I’m majoring in South American Red” [lipstick] and “I’m taking Salon Cold Cream.”), this advertisement tells us that cosmetic companies marketed and advocated that women adopt beauty culture as a central part of their daily lives.  These women were a worthwhile enough consumer base that companies researched and targeted them (women as smart, women as taking care of their hair and figure as well, women as goal-oriented, etc.).  (discuss more of the ad’s text).

How will you interrogate the source- what methodology will you employ?  What sorts of sources will you need to confirm/complete/complement this source?

I will interrogate the source by focusing on its pictures, text, and overall message.  I will look into which cosmetics Elizabeth Arden may have been targeting toward this group and try to understand these from a material culture point of view.  I will then place this advertisement within its larger context.  I will see what other types of advertisements appeared at this time (these girls are “pictured” in other Arden ads).  I will see what other types of advertisements were out at this time and confirm that this one is representative of those.  Conversely, I will also look at sources that advertisements that send a different message and attempt to understand what this meant for consumer culture’s take on beauty culture. I will also look more closely at the issue of the New Yorker this appeared in, especially to better understand what other types of advertisements appeared in that issue.  (I have not gotten to The New Yorker yet, as Mademoiselle, Redbook, Cosmo, and Glamour are more important to look at first).   I will also consult my growing collection of secondary literature on consumer culture and the American advertising industry at this time to understand how these fit into the even larger context of advertisers’ goals at this time.  I hope that the analysis of this advertisement is a methodology that will work for similar advertisements and that I find a consistent message to support my overall argument.

What are the problems with this category of sources/what cant’ you learn, what are the biases?

The main problem with this source, as well as the category as a whole, is that I cannot understand how this message was actually interpreted and if its goal was carried out.  There are inconclusive ways to analyze this, such as looking at readership of the magazines, archives from the advertising agency (although I don’t think market research was big until the early 60s), and Elizabeth Arden sales.  None of these methodologies are specific enough, however.   There is an inherent bias on my part to believe a source as great as this worked and that I can build an argument on its message, but, alas, this cannot be verified.  There is also a bias on the part of the advertisers to believe that college women would be amenable to this message.  (revist text and imagery)