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Edward H. Nabb Research Center for Delmarva History and Culture
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History 102 - Visual Research Project

Fall 2017


Illustrations can serve as important sources to help us understand previous periods and to help us make comparisons between earlier times and our own time. Advertisements in magazines show a variety of features of popular culture—clothing, personal habits (smoking, drinking, eating), modes of transportation, and changes in the way we have decorated our house interiors. The purpose of this assignment is to examine visual records of a period to glean the subtle cultural information presented. You will need to sharpen your skills of observation and infer from clothes, expressions, even hair styles, the values of popular culture from a time and place.

You have five categories to select from: transportation, women’s apparel, home interiors, tobacco, and beverages. Each category has about four "early" paintings (pre-20th century) and approximately 12 mid-20th century print ads from Life magazine primarily. As you write your paper, you must select one category and use two of the "early" visuals and then select a minimum of four print ads to examine.

Here are some questions to ponder:

Note the year/timeframe of each visual and what has changed in the theme over time.

What are the obvious versus the subtle differences from one visual to another?

Who is the intended audience/viewer?

What does the visual tell you about the values of the people living at that time?

How did the utility of these various items/categories change over time? (their use)

These are just a few suggestions. Try to tie these items into an historical context, particularly as they are viewed today.

These visuals are housed in the Nabb Research Center for Delmarva History and Culture on the east campus of Salisbury University. You will need to visit the Center to study the visual grouping you choose. Take careful notes as you study each one as this data will provide the basis of your analysis.

This exercise should be a minimum of 4 pages, type-written. It should be double-spaced, 12-point, 1" margins on all sides, in black ink, and stapled. Proofread and edit your work. Please include a "Works Cited" page and list each visual used as it is defined below on the List of Visuals. You should not need to consult other sources for your analysis but if you do, you must credit and cite the source and explain why you include their wisdom.

Please check the SU website for the Nabb Center’s hours and rules. You can find this through the library portal.

All work is expected to be that of the student submitting it – no collaboration will be tolerated. This assignment is due in class on November 9, 2017. No late papers will be accepted. You must also submit electronically a copy to Turnitin via MyClasses.

HIST 102 Nabb Research Project

List of Visuals



Jan Van Goyen, Street in Bilt, with Troops, 1623 Claude Lorrain, A Seaport at Sunset, 1639 Louis Le Nain, The Milkmaid’s Family, 1648 Giovanni Paolo Pannini, Piazza del Quirinale, 1733 Richard Parkes Bonington, Boats on the Shore of Normandy, 1825

Ads from Life Magazine & others:

1941 Oldsmobile 1953 Studebaker 1956 Dodge 1957 GM Air conditioning 1959 Buick 1961 Cadillac 1963 Rambler 1965 Ford 1965 Continental 1965 Plymouth 1967 Pontiac



Anthonis Van Dyck, Philadelphia and Elizabeth Wharton, 1630s Johannes Vermeer, The Milkmaid, 1658-60 Johann Baptist Lampi the Elder, Catherine II (the Great), 1830 Charles-Auguste-Emile Duran, N.M. Polovtsova, 1876

Life Magazine ads:

1940 Ivory Flakes 1955 Lettuce Look 1956 Stewart Slip 1956 Ganton 1956 Hochschild Kohn 1958 Mennen Baby products 1958 Burlington 1962 Airstep 1964 Jantzen 1964 Maidenform 1969 Tampax 1971 Hutzlers



Pieter Janssens, A Dutch Interior, 1623 Jan Steen, The Prayer before the Meal, 1663-65 Johannes Vermeer, Lady Writing a Letter with her Maid, 1670 Johannes Vermeer, The Glass of Wine, 1696

Life Magazine Ads:

1940 Bedroom with red bedspread 1940 Green living room with leather chair 1940 Red Room 1940 Armstrong linoleum 1940 Armstrong floor 1947 Red sofa 1948 Living Room – McMillan 1954 Green den 1955 Living Room with 4 paintings 1958 Room with wicker 1963 Floor squares 1971 Hotpoint



Adriaen Brouwer, The Smoker, 1605-06 Pieter de Hooch, Card Players by the Fireplace, 1656 Jan Steen, As the Old Sing, So Pipe the Young, 1663-65 Emile-Jean-Horace Vernet, Self Portrait, 1789-1863

Life Magazine Ads:

1940 Lucky Strike 1941 Chesterfield 1950’s Tareyton 1950’s Pall Mall 1956 Winston 1958 Marlboro 1959 Dutch Masters 1963 Marlboro (w/1972 on back) 1964 Salem 1967 Kool (w/1972 on back) 1971 Benson & Hedges 1972 Marlboro



Valezquez, Three Men at a Table, 1599 Heda, Still Life, 1637 Mathieu Le Nain, Peasants in a Tavern, 1640’s Johannes Vermeer, The Procuress, 1656 Jan Steen, Rhetoricians at a Window, 1663-65 Jan Steen, Twelfth Night, 1668

Life Magazine Ads:

1941 Calvert Blend 1952 Beer 1955 Gordon’s Gin 1957 Seagrams 1957 Schlitz 1958 Dr. Pepper 1957 Budweiser 1961 OFC Schenley 1963 Pepsi 1963 Miller 1964 Coke 1964 Coke

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