American Jewess Project Managemen

The first step in creating this digital history collection is to gain funding for my project. This project is worthy of funding from an academic institution, but I will also appeal to Jewish institutions, since the history which I am offering is specific to Jewish interests (especially in light of the fact that scholars of early American Jewish history who do not speak Yiddish have very few source options from the Jewish Press) . I am not hesitant to partner with an academic institution, because my site is designed to inspire points of view, rather than to provide one. In order to gain recognition from these institutions, I have prepared an extensive research paper on the advertisements in the American Jewess, in which I argue that the advertisements featured in the American Jewess are representative of the unique acculturation process which Jewish immigrant women engaged in at the turn of the 19th century. I will send a copy of this scholarly work to all of the institutions from which I’m requesting funding. My interest here is to demonstrate that a digital collection of advertisements is a rich source, which scholars can utilize for a variety of different purposes. Also, I am hoping to give academic credence to my web site. However, I have chosen not to feature this research on the web site, since I wish to prompt creative projects based on advertisements, rather than promote my own work.
My next step is to gain access to the advertisements from the American Jewess. The microfilm collection is currently in the possession of the Jewish Women’s Archive. The Jewish Women’s Archive is located at 138 Harvard Street, in Brookline, Massachusetts. My budget will include funds that will pay for me and my site manager to take a trip to Brookline to examine the collection. I will serve as the project manager, and take the responsibility of managing the historical content of the site. I will employ a site manager, who possesses both expert knowledge of website creation and maintenance, as well as the technical ability to scan images.
For the purposes of this site, it is crucial that the scanning equipment be top quality. The fonts used in the advertisements are often quite small, and a poor scanning mechanism could damage the researchers’ ability to utilize the information provided. Furthermore, at present the advertisements appear 3 or 4 to a page. My site manager will be responsible to scan these images separately, so that the viewer can examine one ad at a time. However, for those who wish to view the advertisements as they appeared in the original layout, entire advertising pages will also be made available to those who are interested in context.
In addition, since I believe that this source will be highly beneficial to scholars in women’s history, Jewish history, the history of advertising, as well as consumption history, it is likely that many individuals will request reproductions of these images to be used in their own scholarly works. With an audience which will consist largely of researchers, precision is of the utmost importance and my funding will be best spent on scanning equipment, as well as site management. The collection is not too large and therefore I will purchase only two high quality scanners. The images are from the early American Press, and therefore are in black and white, and will therefore be scanned as such. I want the website to evoke the feel of an early American newspaper, and so authenticity is crucial.
After the equipment is in place, my site manager will immediately begin digitizing the collection. The Jewish Women’s Archive has graciously agreed to lend two of their volunteers to check the scans after they have been digitized. They have also agreed to contribute the hardware necessary for us to backup our files so that they will never be lost to us, or to the interested parties. The images will be presented alongside, pertinent metadata such as the advertiser, dates on which the ad appeared, and how many times it appeared. The image names will correspond to the advertiser so that they will be easily indexed, and accessed. We will also provide information regarding how to cite these advertisements, so that researchers will have no difficulty including us in their bibliographic information.
After the careful scanning the 264 advertisements from the American Jewess has been completed (20 of which are self advertisements), I will consult with an expert advertising historian to help me choose the contrasting advertisements from the Ladies’ Home Journal. The advertisements we select will be from advertisers who appear in the American Jewess, or for similar types of products that are advertised in the publication. These advertisements are for comparative purposes only, and the design of the site will emphasize their secondary status. I will also indicate in words that these ads are included for comparison only, and this collection is by no means a comprehensive set of Ladies’ Home Journal Advertisements. We will choose mostly advertisements from the earliest issues of the Ladies’ Home Journal, because the focus of this site is the history of advertising, rather than contemporary promotions.
The opportunity cost of these expenses may very well be the lack of funds available to employ a graphic designer. However, this web site offers advertisements which contain interesting and diverse images, and therefore, I do not believe that the aesthetic appeal of the site will suffer. The graphics are a built in part of my project, and even those visitors to the site who are not engaging in formal research will find the material fascinating. Our site will be compatible with various types of software so that even the least technologically advanced visitor can view these images; however we recommend the newest versions of programs for increased precision.
Advertising for the site will appear first on the web site of the Jewish Women’s Archive. Popularity of my site will be beneficial for their interests. As the number of visitors to the site increases I will advertise on Jewish websites of several varieties, academic as well as mainstream websites. I will also contact the Ladies’ Home Journal and inquire about advertising with them, since I am promoting their interests as well. I plan to try and get my research paper into academic journals, to spread further knowledge of my site, amongst the scholarly community.

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