American Jewess Index

Site Map

A) About American Jewess Digital Gallery
The home page of this site will feature a short history of the American Jewess Magazine, and will relay important facts, which researchers will need to know, and others may find interesting. This history will explain that the American Jewess Magazine was the first English language periodical published in the United States, by Jewish Women, for Jewish women. The editor Rosa Sonneschein, was the mastermind behind this magazine, that was published for a short four year period between 1895 and 1899. Relevant to this site, I will then say that a major factor in the decline of the magazine was a lack of sufficient advertising revenue towards the end of its life, which was vital to support the publication. I will also include historical background on Jewish immigrants at the turn of the century, with particular emphasis on women and their changing roles. This will help to put the assimilation story in perspective.

This section will also lay out exactly what is in the collection and what is not. I will explain the motivation behind the creation of this site. I first had the idea to create this site while I, myself, was researching advertisements from the late 19th century. I realized that there was no digitized collection of the advertisements I was examining, and in order to view them I had to sift through all of the periodicals, page by page. I will clearly state that while this collection does consist of all of the advertisements which were featured in the American Jewess Magazine, it is not a comprehensive set of Ladies’ Home Journal Advertisements. I will explain my selection process here by saying that I chose to include advertisements from a mainstream women’s magazine which were from advertisers who also appeared in the American Jewess. This feature is for the purpose of contrast, to demonstrate the manner in which advertisers either did or did not change their endorsements for specific audiences.

B) Contact
The contact information will be a special email account which I have created to answer inquiries related to the site. The address is moc.liamg|ssewejnacirema#moc.liamg|ssewejnacirema. As the web site grows, I plan to have interns, who are students of Jewish History, to help me respond to question.
C) Credits
I must credit the Jewish Women’s Archive for preserving this extraordinary document, and for the generous funding donation they have given to my project. I will also thank the staff of the Ladies’ Home Journal for helping me sift through pages of the long lasting popular magazine.
In an attempt to minimize the amount of inquiries which I must respond to I will include this section of frequently asked topics.
I will include the following questions and answers:
1. When was the American Jewess published?
The American Jewess was published from April of 1895- August of 1899.
2. Who published the American Jewess and what was the general platform?
The American Jewess was published by a well known club woman from St. Louis named Rosa Sonneschein. Sonneschein asserted that there was a need to connect American Jewish women across the country, especially in light of the growing number of sisterhood organizations. Contributors argued for expanded roles for women in the Jewish community and synagogue, promoted benefits of women’s religious education, and emphasized the importance of transmitting Jewish tradition to ensure group survival in America.
3. Who was the intended readership, and what was the circulation?
This magazine was intended for acculturating Jewish woman. Most of the readers were members of the middle class, or working class women who were upwardly mobile. At its peak this magazine reached a circulation of 29,000.
4. How many advertisements are featured in the American Jewess?
264 advertisements in total appear in the 44 issues which are available on line.
20 of these are self advertisements for the American Jewess Magazine, intended to boost circulation.
5. How much did advertisers pay to appear in the American Jewess?
By the turn of the century, a system of advertising pricing created by Munsey had become standard practice. The price for ad space was a dollar a page for each one thousand copies issued. This would have earned the American Jewess 29 dollars per issue, at its peak of popularity.

Since this site will be used most frequently by researchers, the search option is of utmost importance. Maintenance of the search tools will be of primary concern. Visitors will be able to browse and search in several different ways. All search options will be enumerated on the introductory page. Once visitors choose the manner in which they want to search/browse they can opt to hit the “next” option on the screen, so that it won’t be necessary to keep returning to the home page.
A) Browse:

The first option is for researchers to browse by date. The issues of this monthly magazine are numbered by Volume and Issue. There are nine volumes, and each contains a different number of issues. Under Browse by volume/issue all of the issues will be listed. If a researcher wishes to see Volume 1, issue 6 advertisements, one must simply click on that option.

The second option is to browse by date. A list of months will be featured under Browse by date, and a researcher can simply click on the month to view the advertisements from this issue.

The third option is to browse by frequency, either beginning with the advertisements which appeared most frequently and working down, or vice versa.

Researchers have the option of browsing advertising pages in their entirety (for those interested in context and layout), or one can also view the advertisements individually.

B) Search

Visitors to the site can also search the collection in a number of ways. The first search option is to search by advertiser. Under this option researchers can simply click on an advertiser and view the advertisements from this promoter.

The second option is to search by category of items being advertised. The American Jewess features advertisements for a diverse range of items and services, including household items/décor, children’s clothing and shoes, children’s books, home maintenance, food, liquor, beauty items, fashion, fashion services (tailoring/ custom making), water companies, medical (medicines/ services/ dental), literature (advice books/ poetry), language School, insurance Policies, vacations and American Jewess Advertisements. Under this option, researchers can pick any one of these categories to view advertisements by type of item/ service.

C) Viewing the Ladies’ Home Journal Advertisements

These advertisements are included in the collection to create contrast; therefore, under each advertisement for the American Jewess there will be a link which says either view LHJ advertisement from this advertiser or view LHJ advertisement for a similar product. When a researcher clicks on this link the advertisement will appear alongside the advertisement from the American Jewess (which the designers of the site have deemed relevant).
On the home page, under Browse there will also be an option which says view the Ladies’ Home Journal advertisements, and here the LHJ ads can be viewed as a small collection. Since there are only about fifteen of these advertisements they will be numbered for the purposes of this site, however pertinent metadata such as dates of publication and advertiser will be included and will appear below the advertisements.

D) Display features
The options to magnify, minimize and rotate the images are ever present on this site. A toolbar will appear at the top of each screen to offer these critical services.
Conditions of Use:

A) This section will explain how advertisements form this site will be cited. The site is designed for researchers, and it is my goal to encourage individuals to make use of these resources. Since all of the advertisements featured predate the 20th century, copyrights are not an issue. Researchers will cite the advertisement by Volume/Issue, and appropriately credit that they come from the American Jewess/ LHJ. Researchers will then cite the web address of this site.

I will also include links to related collections, directly related to the American Jewess Magazine, or its founder, and to Jewish women and consumerism. This will help my users to find more resources.

Searching & Browsing Tips
This option will appear on the home page, under the browse/ search option.
This section will include ideas for how to begin a search, for those unfamiliar with web based research. For example, if one wants to research an advertiser, hit search advertiser.
Purchasing Images:

For those who wish to purchase copies of the original images featured, the American Jewess website will offer the service of providing these copies for a price. Many researchers may want reprints of these advertisements for their books or journals. Interested parties may simply want a copy to have for personal enjoyment. This service will draw in extra revenue for the site. Prices vary based on the size and nature of the images. The home page will offer a “Purchasing images” option. If one clicks on this option, the screen will then offer:
About Ordering Images Online
Licensing Images
Purchasing Prints for Personal Use

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