Monthly Archives: December 2011

Topics & Themes Provide a Lens for Analysis

Christmas sketch for Harper's Weekly, 1902

One of the options for browsing the Marchand Archive is to use the  “Topic/Theme” menu on the right side of the Image Collection page. Most of the “Topic/Themes” were identified by the historians who contributed to our collection, in particular, Roland Marchand. The title of the topic or theme and the selection of the images filtered by historian can provide some insight into how they used them when teaching. In today’s post, we invite you to check out  three images of Uncle Sam at Christmas simultaneously organized under the topics “Symbols, U.S.  Nationalism,” and “Industrialization.” Considering the three images representing 1802, 1852, and 1902,  provides some food for thought on how Americans were thinking about themselves and what they considered to be their nation’s achievements over course of the Nineteenth Century.

Uncle Sam celebrates Christmas, 1802, with a toy carriage and agricultural products in a stocking

Uncle Sam in 1852 with gold from California, a small train and telegraph pole.

How would you guide students’ analysis of this series of images in your classroom? Share your thoughts here.

What does it mean to "Keep within compass?"

Keep within Compass

Title:  “Keep within compass,” 1785-1805

About the image: Contemporary English print advising women to “Keep within compass.”

Suggestions for Using this Image in the Classroom:

This image could spur a class discussion about how society viewed women at the turn of the eighteenth century.  After having students engage in a close observation of it lead the class in a discussion of the following:

  • What do you see outside of the circle? What stands out to you?
  • What is a compass, what is it used for, and what does it mean to “Keep within Compass?”
  • What does this image suggest about societal expectations of women in the late 1700s and early 1800s?
  • Expand the discussion by looking at similar images that include men found here or by finding other examples of the use of the proverb “Keep within compass.”
  • Compare the image with ones from later time periods and discuss what has changed in the way society defines the roles of it’s members.
  • Ask students to create a drawing interpreting their modern day compass.

For more on women’s roles in society during the late eighteenth/early nineteenth century see the resources in the National Humanities Center Toolbox Library .

Related Topics/Themed Collections: Eighteenth Century, Women in the Revolution

Related Lessons in the Marchand Collection:

  • Women Outside the Compass 1880-1922 by Sarah Scheeline, ONLINE – AVAILABLE ON THE HISTORY PROJECT WEBSITE
  • The Lowell Mills & the Women Who Worked There by Pamela Tindall, IN PRINT – AVAILABLE ONLY IN THE MARCHAND LIBRARY
  • Northern Reform Communities’ Town Hall Meeting by Jeff Pollard, IN PRINT – AVAILABLE ONLY IN THE MARCHAND LIBRARY

Related  Resources Available in the Marchand Collection:

  • Nancy Woloch, Women and the American Experience
  • Miriam Gurko, The Ladies of Seneca Falls: The Birth of the Woman’s Rights Movement

Share your ideas! How would you use this image? Let us know here.

Mining a Photograph for a Deeper Understanding

Title:  Kimberley Mine, Southern Africa, 1872

About the image: The Kimberley Mine photographed in 1872, one year after Dutch colonists discovered an 83-carat diamond here.  Once known as the Colesburg Kopje (hill) the mine was already on its way to becoming “The Big Hole.”

Why does Stacey Greer, Program Coordinator at the History Project at U.C. Davis find this image interesting?

“This photograph displays the enormity of the diamond-mining project at the Kimberley Mine in a way that would be impossible to grasp by just reading about it. This picture engages me, with many details to observe that reveal how European colonists procured valuable raw materials in the late nineteenth century. The rows of endlessly-deep ditches spread for an undetermined distance to the hills in the background and extend beyond each side, making the rows appear indefinite. I want to know the lengths, widths, and depths of the mines. Additionally, this image captures the limits of the technological developments by this time. There are no cranes or big machinery. Instead laborers, mostly Africans, work with cables (held by precariously-rigged wooden beams), horses, and carts. They walk above the maze-like mine on hazardously constructed footbridges. Looking closely, I can see a multitude of workers, yet they are difficult to count and it is unclear how many labor below the surface. I can imagine the many dangers they faced just moving about, as well as while digging for and transporting the diamonds. At the same time, I am struck that the European managers appear to be completely relaxed, only barely concerned with the hard, dangerous work underway to bring the immensely valuable gems to them. Finally, this image demonstrates the environmental destruction of the earth required to gather these diamonds. Yet, it is only the beginning of the changes to this area in what would become known as the Big Hole.”

Related Topics/Themed Collections: Imperialism

Lessons in the Marchand Collection:

Resources Available in the Marchand Collection:

  • Leonard Thompson, A History of South Africa
  • A. Adu Boahen ed., General History of Africa VII: Africa under Colonial Domination 1880-1935

Share your ideas! How would you use this image? Let us know here.

Deconstructing "The Mystery of 1920"

A well-dressed young woman enters “Voting Booth No. 1.”

A well-dressed young woman enters “Voting Booth No. 1.”

Title:  “The Mystery of 1920,” Leslie’s Illustrated Weekly Newspaper, cover, September 11, 1920.

About the image: A well-dressed young woman enters “Voting Booth No. 1.”

Why does Natomas Charter School Teacher Jeff Pollard find this image interesting?

I use this image as part of my introduction to a primary source investigation about the New Woman of the 1920s using Marchand Archive resources. I think it is a fantastic image because it gets students’ attention, and the increased status for women in the 1920s is so clear. The image itself does a lot of work for me as a teacher by setting up my investigation. The title of the image is “The Mystery of 1920.” So I ask students, “What is the mystery?” Students clearly can see that this New Woman was confident, stylish, and even a bit egotistical in her glance. Through analyzing the image students come to the conclusion that the mystery of 1920 is the question: How will America be changed as women step into voting and toward political equality?  It is a great example of how images can be used to set up investigations, get students’ attention, and link a concept to an image. I come back to this image later in the year when I review for the the standardized test required by California. I show this image again and ask students the following questions: What was the mystery? Why 1920? What amendment granted women suffrage? The students remember the image and remember the content associated with it as well.” 

Related Topics/Themed Collections: Twenties, 20’s pop culture, women

Lessons in the Marchand Collection:

  • The “New Woman” of the 1920s by Jeff Pollard, CHSS 11.5.4, 11.5.7, IN PRINT – AVAILABLE ONLY IN THE MARCHAND ROOM
  • Slang in the 1920s by Kevin Williams, CHSS 11.5, IN PRINT – AVAILABLE ONLY IN THE MARCHAND ROOM

Resources Available in the Marchand Collection:

  • Roland Marchand, Advertising the American Dream: Making Way for Modernity, 1920-1940, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985.

Share your ideas! How would you use this image?  Let us know here.

Complicating the Aztecs

Codex Telleriano-Remensis: Historical Chronicle 1383-1399, c. 1563

Title:  Codex Telleriano-Remensis: Historical Chronicle 1383-1399, c. 1563

About the image: The destruction of Colhuacan by the Aztecs and Tepanecs. Colhuacan had been founded by the Toltecs under Mixcoatl and was the first Toltec city.

Why does Professor Andrés Reséndez at U.C. Davis find this image interesting?

“In class we often present the Aztec empire as timeless: always powerful, always an empire.  Yet the Aztecs had a history too.  Their rags-to-riches story is so extraordinary that it is hard to believe (and rightfully so, for we know that they rewrote their own history!)  According to this version, the Aztecs were originally a lowly band of wanderers arriving to the valley of Mexico when it was already occupied by several other city-states.  Colhuacan was one of the dominant powers in the fourteenth century.  The leaders of Colhuacan tolerated the late-arriving Aztecs by employing them as mercenaries and giving them other menial tasks while also forcing them to live in marginal lands.

Yet, from these humble beginnings, the Aztecs rose to power by skillfully establishing alliances with other city-states of the valley.  This folio of the Codex Telleriano-Remensis shows the moment when the Aztecs allied with the Tepanecs finally defeated Colhuacan.  I find it especially interesting for what it reveals about the Aztecs’ evolving culture and identity.  Two Aztec warriors no longer clad in animal skins (as they are depicted in earlier folios of the codex) but dressed in cotton (and therefore fully assimilated to the sedentary culture of central Mexico) are battling the mighty city-state of Colhuacan and setting it on fire.  They were no longer outsiders but important players.  Undoubtedly, this victory was a turning point in the history of central Mexico, but a turning point all but ignored in a historical narrative that almost always begins much later with the Spanish arrival.”

Related Topics/Themed Collections: Ancient Mexico, Arts & Architecture, War, Religion

Lessons in the Marchand Collection:

Resources Available in the Marchand Collection:

  • Jacques Soustelle, Daily Life of Aztecs: On the Eve of the Spanish Conquest
  • David Carrasco, Daily Life of the Aztecs: People of the Sun and Earth
  • Gisele Díaz and Alan Rodgers, The Codex Borgia: A Full-Color Restoration of the Ancient Mexican Manuscript
  • Miguel Léon-Portilla, The Broken Spears: The Aztec Account of the Conquest of Mexico

Share your ideas! How would you use this image? Let us know here.