Dept. of History, University of North Carolina-Greensboro
1947: A housing crisis becomes a major national concern in the United States
1948: The term "Cold War" becomes widely used to describe the relationship between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.
1950: 9% of American homes have a television set
1951 June: CBS presents the first commercial color television broadcast
1954: 54% of American homes have a television set
The Rubenstein Library offers several introductory videos to our digital collections. They cover useful information on refining search results, navigating digitized items, proper citations and copyright.
This teaching module explores the intersection of gender and consumer culture during the postwar period in the United States. Through an analysis of Ford Motor Co. print advertisements students will explore the shifting economic, cultural and social landscape in the United States in the decade immediately following the conclusion of the Second World War.
Primary Source Literacy:
The J. Walter Thompson Co. advertising agency became the agency of record for Ford Motor Co. during World War II. This digital collection represents all of the print advertising prepared by the agency for Ford cars, trucks, vans, and beyond. In most cases, the advertisement is the final proof--the advertisement as it appeared in print--with insertion details.
The Rubenstein Library also offers several introductory videos to our digital collections on our Instruction web page. They include useful information on refining search results, navigating digitized items, proper citations, and copyright. Links to these videos are in the Additional Resources box column on the left.
Students will break out into assigned groups, each of which will be assigned one advertisement to discuss in-depth, following the questions below. Student will then present their findings to the group. While each group will focus on one advertisement, groups should browse other advertisements to provide greater context to help them assess change over time.
Students will be graded upon completion of the assignment. They will not turn anything in, but will be responsible for leading discussion on their assigned advertisement. While there will not be a specific follow-up assignment on these materials, other in-class and out of class assignments could build on the skills they learned during this lesson. Students will gain skills in analyzing images and text-based primary sources which they will use to produce a research project at the end of the semester.