Tag Archives: voting

Historic Campaign Posters & the Common Core

The 2012 Presidential Election day is finally here, one day to go.  But don’t fret, there is still time to get your students interested in the election!  One of the important themes in any election is that of perspective and point of view.  Developing the ability to recognize an author’s point of view helps students develop a critical eye in reading texts both historical and contemporary.  A good example of a primary source from the Marchand Archive is this poster, “The Whole Story in a Nutshell!” from the 1888 election.  It depicts both the Republican platform championed by Benjamin Harrison and the Democratic platform headed by Grover Cleveland.

Take a moment to digest each candidate’s platform as presented by this image.  Can you discern which party produced this image?  What was their motive for producing this campaign ad?  How do you know?  Asking students these and other questions related to point of view and purpose (detailed in the Common Core Reading Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies RI6) will help them better analyze primary sources and engage with the political process today.

A Republican campaign poster contrasting Harrison’s ideas with Cleveland’s, 1888.

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.