General Project Description And Specifics

The American Jewess magazine was the first English language periodical published by Jewish women, for Jewish women, in the United States. Even before Jews in America began publishing English language periodicals, advertisers recognized Jewish women as distinct agents of acculturation who identified the use of new products as an important mode of participation in American life, and thus targeted them specifically.

In 1895, the conception of The American Jewess magazine offered advertisers a unique opportunity to reach Jewish women through the pages of an English language periodical. Several of the advertisers which appear in The American Jewess, also appeared in more mainstream women’s magazines such as the Ladies’ Home Journal, yet often in various forms. The similarities and differences between the advertisements is revealing of the evolving nature of American advertising at the turn of the 19th century.

Historians have only recently begun to appreciate advertisements as culturally rich sources. Consequently, advertisements rarely appear as distinct collections. The rising number of historians, economists, advertising specialists and others, who are fascinated with this history, must spend countless hours sifting through periodicals in order to make use of these sources. This collection offers a history of advertisements targeted at women in America, at a pivotal moment in which advertisers recognized the important buying power being demonstrated by American women. Most importantly, this history of advertising web site does something which few sites do; lets the advertisements themselves tell the story.

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