Welcome Back Again, Guest Curator Chloe Amour

Chloe Amour is a senior at Assumption University in Worcester, Massachusetts, where she is majoring in History with a minor in Education. She is from Holden, Massachusetts. Her interests in history include Colonial America, World War II, and the Vietnam War. Beyond history, Chloe is active on campus as a Resident Assistant, Campus Life Intern in the Office of Student Affairs, an Admissions Ambassador, and a Tutor in the Academic Support Center. Chloe is currently applying to graduate programs in higher education administration with a concentration in student affairs.

Chloe previously served as guest curator for the Slavery Adverts 250 Project when she enrolled in HIS 359 – Revolutionary America in Spring 2019 and, again, when she enrolled in HIS 400 – Research Methods: Vast Early America in Spring 2020. In Fall 2020, Chloe pursued an independent study for HIS 366 – Careers in Public History. Throughout that independent study, she developed additional skills in the production of digital projects to supplement the research skills that were the focus of her previous contributions.

Welcome back again, guest curator Chloe Amour.

Welcome Back, Guest Curator Matthew Ringstaff

Matthew Ringstaff is a senior at Assumption University in Worcester, Massachusetts.  He is majoring in History and minoring in Art History and Criminology.  He was born and raised in Sicklerville in southern New Jersey and never really left the state until he ventured to college in Worcester. He is the middle of three sons in his family.  His older brother, Bill, is a police sergeant in Bridgeton New Jersey. His younger brother, Mark, is in high school and works at Pizza Hut. Matt admires his unbelievable work ethic. Most significantly, his mother, Christine Ringstaff, an amazing woman who worked three jobs to give her children every possible opportunity, inspires him.  He credits her as the best role model anyone could have. He strives to match her grit, wittiness, and resilience in all of his endeavors as a student, as an athlete, and throughout every aspect of his life. Matt conducted the research for his current contributions as guest curator for the Slavery Adverts 250 Project when he was enrolled in HIS 400 – Research Methods: Vast Early America in Spring 2020.

Welcome, guest curator Matthew Ringstaff!

July 31

What was advertised in a colonial American newspaper 250 years ago today?

Jul 31 - 7:31:1767 New-London Gazette
New-London Gazette (July 31, 1767).

“Intending to carry on my former Business …”

Charles Jeffery had been away from New London for a while, having left “to settle sundry Accounts of long standing,” but, “having almost compleated the same,” he was back and ready to resume the business he had allowed to lapse during his absence. To make sure that “all good old Customers” knew of his return, he placed an advertisement in the New-London Gazette.

Jeffery reminded readers of the various branches of the business he formerly pursued: “Butchery,—Baking Loaf and Ship Bread,—Butter Bisket, Tallow-Chandling;—Also brewing SHIP BEER, &c. &c. &c.” He did not elaborate on the goods he offered for sale, neglecting to make any of the common appeals to price or quality. He did, however, make a nod toward the sort of customer service that readers could expect; they could “depend on being used in the neatest and best manner, by their humble Servant.” He aimed this promise directly at “all good old Customers.”

Despite the hiatus in his business, Jeffery anticipated that readers of the New-London Gazette were sufficiently familiar with him and the commodities he sold that he did not need to do much by way of attempting to convince them to resume trading with him. In that regard, his advertisement resorted more to announcing his enterprise instead of marketing it. He did not even seem particularly interested in attracting new customers but rather desired to revive relationships with former associates, those “good old Customers” who made purchases from him in the past.

Jeffery may have felt little need to engage in much marketing, perhaps assuming that he had already achieved prominence and a positive reputation among residents of New London and its hinterland. In addition, he likely faced less competition than his counterparts in larger port cities, like Boston, Charleston, New York, and Philadelphia. Had he temporarily suspended business in any of those locales, he may very well have posted a rather different sort of advertisement when he sought to return to the marketplace.

Welcome Back, Guest Curator Elizabeth Curley

Elizabeth Curley is a junior at Assumption College. She is an Elementary Education and History double major, with the goal of becoming a sixth grade social studies teacher. When it comes to history her favorite topics are colonial America, the American Revolution, and the Industrial Revolution.  Beyond the classroom, she enjoys learning about different world cultures and cooking. You can follow her Public History Twitter account:  @WomenOfAC.  She has previous public history and digital humanities experience, including using T-PEN to transcribe and tag ballads for the Isaiah Thomas Broadside Ballads Project at the American Antiquarian Society. She was previously guest curator of the Adverts 250 Project during the weeks of February 14 to 20 and March 20 to 26, 2016. She is returning for the week of October 2 to 8, as well as curating the Slavery Adverts 250 Project during the week of October 30 to November 5, 2016.

Welcome back, Elizabeth Curley!

Introducing the Slavery Adverts 250 Project

Today is the first day of a twelve-week project being undertaken by students in my Colonial America course at Assumption College. The Slavery Adverts 250 Project seeks to identify and republish every advertisement that offered slaves for sale or reported runaways printed in colonial newspapers exactly 250 years ago. Unlike the Adverts 250 Project, which examines one advertisement each day, the Slavery Adverts 250 Project will feature multiple advertisements on most days, drawing from every colonial newspaper that has been digitized and made available to my students via Accessible Archives, Colonial Williamsburg’s Digital Library, and Readex’s America’s Historical Newspapers.

Each advertisement will appear individually via the Slavery Adverts 250 Project’s Twitter account (@SlaveAdverts250). In addition, all of the advertisements published on a given day will appear together in a single entry on the Adverts 250 Project’s blog. Individual advertisements will not be analyzed separately; instead, my students and I are creating an archive to be consulted for an essay about slavery in colonial America that will be their final exam at the end of the semester.

Each student will serve as curator of the Slavery Adverts 250 Project for one week. The curator will be responsible for identifying all relevant advertisements, posting them to the project’s Twitter account, and compiling statistics about how many advertisements were included in the project during their week. I am serving as curator during the first week, to establish the project and to troubleshoot any difficulties before turning the project over to my students.

This research project is both experimental and collaborative. I expect that I will learn just as much as my students do as we work together to gather and republish these advertisements. Throughout the project, we will ask ourselves a series of questions about what these advertisements tell us about slavery and its role in everyday life and commerce in colonial America.

  • What do these advertisements tell us about the experiences of enslaved men, women, and children?
  • What do these advertisements tell us about the experiences and attitudes of other colonists?
  • How often did advertisements featuring slaves appear in colonial newspapers?
  • Are regional differences apparent in the numbers, types, or content of advertisements featuring slaves?
  • What do these advertisements reveal that deviates from our expectations?

In the process of pursuing these questions, my students should enhance their research skills, gain experience using primary sources, and improve their information literacy. For many of them, this will also be part of a general introduction to digital humanities projects. Each student will also serve as guest curator of the Adverts 250 Project, taking on additional responsibilities that also move their coursework beyond the traditional classroom.

Announcement: Guest Curators Return

For the next five weeks the students in my Public History course at Assumption College will return as guest curators. As before, each guest curator will be responsible for a week’s worth of selecting advertisements and analyzing them. I will continue to offer additional commentary and work with the guest curators behind the scenes. Each of the guest curators previously participated in this project. Please visit the “Guest Contributors” page to learn more about them.

Welcome, Guest Curator Kathryn J. Severance

Kathryn J. Severance is a junior at Assumption College, majoring in English and minoring in history. She is also a multi-media journalist who works as a staff writer for Assumption College’s Odyssey online and as an intern for the business and news sections of the Worcester Telegram and Gazette. Her favorite historical interests include Native American history, colonial history, and World War II history, but she is interested in learning about as much of history as she can.  She will be the guest curator of The Adverts 250 Project during the week of February 7 to 13.

Welcome, Kathryn Severance!

Welcome, Guest Curator Maia Campbell

Maia Campbell is a first-year student and History major in the Honors Program at Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts. Outside of studying history, with the goal of ultimately becoming a public historian, she writes for the college’s paper, Le Provacateur. She will be guest curator of the Adverts 250 Project during the week of January 31 to February 6.

Welcome, Maia Campbell!