Welcome, Guest Curator Sean Duda!

Sean Duda is a sophomore at Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts. He is double majoring in History and Education. He is also pursuing a minor in Music. He is a member of several organizations on campus, including Music Ministry, Jazz Band, Charismatic Praise, and Advocates for Life. He enjoys learning how to play new instruments and learning about Medieval Europe.

Welcome, Sean Duda!

Welcome, Guest Curator Zachary Dubreuil!

Zachary Dubreuil is a sophomore majoring in history at Assumption College. He plans to become a museum curator. He enjoys learning about the American Revolution, World War II, and the War on Terror. He is a part of multiple campus organizations, including the Residence Hall Association and Peer Ministry. He also plays on the club Ultimate Frisbee Team.

Welcome, Zachary Dubreuil!

Welcome, Guest Curator Luke DiCicco!

Luke DiCicco is a sophomore with a double major in History and Political Science at Assumption College. His main historical interests include the World Wars and the history of Europe, but he is always eager to learn about anything related to history. He is a member of the Honors Program as well as a resident assistant in Hanrahan Hall. He is involved in the Resident Hall Association and Peer Ministry. He just returned from a SEND trip (or alternative spring break) to Washington, DC.

Welcome, Luke DiCicco!

Welcome, Guest Curator Olivia Burke!

Olivia Burke is a junior at Assumption College. She is majoring in history and is in the Honors Program. Next year, Olivia will complete her senior capstone thesis on the African American experience in the Civilian Conservation Corps. Besides the Honors Program, Olivia competes on the equestrian team, is in music ministry, and works in Admissions as an administrative assistant. Seasonally, Olivia is an interpretation ranger for the National Park Service at Cape Cod National Seashore. She leads programs for the public such as guided hikes, activities for children, and history lectures.

Welcome, Olivia Burke!

Reflections from Guest Curator Chloe Amour

During my time as guest curator for the Adverts 250 Project, I learned a great deal about what it means to dive into history. From retrieving dozens of colonial newspapers from 1769 to wisely selecting advertisements to dissect, I was able to jump into the daily life of colonists. Prior to working on this project, my knowledge of colonial America was solely based on high school textbooks, documentary clips, and some pre-selected additional readings. It was a change of pace to use more advanced historical skills to gain a deeper understanding of consumer culture and advertising in print culture. I was no longer just reading a summary of historical facts; I was “doing history” in a way that allowed myself to go beyond the text. By using primary sources, I was able to apply critical thinking skills to analyze various advertisements. It was fascinating to see which goods were sought after, such as chairs, sugar, flour of mustard, and textiles. Amongst the goods, there were also advertisements for slaves and other services which appealed to colonists. The most interesting I found was the advertisement for hair styling – self-image was valued back then too! Adding to that, it is even more interesting how prevalent and important the printed newspaper was. The newspapers contributed to the uproar of advertising, which I was able to see through this first-hand experience. Today, people rarely read a printed copy of the news – social media makes it way easier to keep up with the news via smartphones or tablets. Diving into the realm of historical research was an experience that enhanced my analytical skills. I gained a deeper appreciation for history, too.

Initially the biggest challenge I faced was how to find the meaning behind each advertisement. With varying lengths, it did not appear that some had too much to grapple with. At a glance, the brief words made me think I would struggle to make connections to Revolutionary America. However, during my time working on the project, I was able to gain the skills necessary to interpret advertisements. Now, I am able to look at a brief advertisement and go beyond the surface to learn about colonial society. It’s exciting to explore the symbolic meanings, which encapsulates the purpose of historical research. There are so many aspects to look at closely and make connections that highlight the advertisement. Having read through several newspapers, it was interesting to see the trends in consumer goods in advertisements all the way from Connecticut to Georgia. The complex demand for slaves as well as consumer goods varied yet shed light on the differences in the colonies. My main takeaway from the research was that the desire to hold a British identity was universal. Advertising “London goods” attracted colonists longing to uphold ties to the Crown. This speaks on the values, everyday life, and culture of colonial America, which had not yet pulled away from Britain in 1769.

One of my favorite aspects of the project was conducting research with scholarly articles to find additional information on colonial and revolutionary America. Using online databases to find journal articles was a bit of trial and error as I tired various keyword searches to find just the right supplementary source. I liked being able to connect the colonial advertisements to some other aspect of lifestyles and politics. I have furthered my knowledge in regard to using scholarly sources, which I look forward to applying in future historical research.

It was rewarding to carry out historical research to contribute to the Adverts 250 Project. I learned a great deal about the colonists’ desire to be identified as British, which influenced consumer culture. Through my work on the project, I have a greater sense of appreciation for advertisements, and the realm of marketing, as it has the ability to strongly influence society. I am still in a bit of awe that newspapers are recovered from 250 years ago. Having those readily available, with online databases, makes history that much more accessible and intriguing. As I continue my studies in the field of history, I strive to continue to find unique sources that give further insights on different periods of history. It was a pleasure to present my remarks on such interesting advertisements throughout the week, and I hope I am able to return as guest curator in the future.

 

Welcome, Guest Curator Chloe Amour

Chloe Amour is a sophomore double-majoring in History and Secondary Education at Assumption College. Her interests in history include Colonial America, World War II, and the Vietnam War. Beyond the classroom, Chloe is actively involved in campus life. She is a resident assistant, member of the Student Government Association, vice president of the Class of 2021, an executive for the Campus Activities Board, an active volunteer through the Reach Out Center, a peer minister with Campus Ministry, and a SOPHIA Program Collegian.

Welcome, Chloe Amour!

Reflections from Guest Curator Jonathan Bisceglia

During my time working on the Adverts 250 Project I spent quite a lot of time trying to decipher the meaning of sometimes very vague advertisements for things as basic as lodging and as complex as slavery. I feel this taught me more about history than pretty much anything I have ever done. The reason this was so powerful and effective for me was because it was real and in most cases I could see the actual thing I was learning about and working with. These were not just some boring anecdotes in a text book or a slow documentary. They were actual advertisements in newspapers created 250 years ago. Working with this type of primary sources is something that I have never had a chance to do, which was scary at first, but once I started doing my research it became a lot easier to decipher meaning in these sources.

I cannot stress enough the meaning this project has to me. There are several different reasons why I was hesitant to even work on the project but having worked through it I feel changed in many ways. I know this sounds cliché but for me this project changed quite a bit in my life and gave me new meaning for the future.

At the beginning of the Adverts 250 Project I thought the most difficult part would be gathering the information and then composing my summary and analysis. This was not the case. This project created a revival in what was a dwindling passion for history. The hardest part of the project was coming to terms with the idea that I wanted to change my prospective future career. I had originally planned on being a high school history teacher but the Adverts 250 Project made me realize that I would not enjoy that but rather I would enjoy teaching upper-level students who can appreciate it more.

This would become the meaning that I found during the course of my week guest curating for the Adverts 250 Project. I would also say that this was also one the most rewarding parts of the project. The other was the amount of information that I learned through my time curating the project. This is not just how to look at a primary source and deduce what it is about, but actually what can be learned from every single advertisement. For instance, my advertisement from April 19, 1767, by James King was an open advertisement to try to get men who were “Genteel” to lodge at his abode. Through my years of history class, we had never even used the word genteel. Of course I had known what it meant today but this new curiosity led me to so much new knowledge about the topic and ideas about gentility in colonial and Revolutionary America that I had never had before.

As I already stated, this project really meant a lot to me. It was challenging at times, rewarding at others, but for the most part it was a fun project. I have now realized the importance of doing work like this in college. It has opened my eyes to the possibilities of the future but more importantly it has shown to me that I truly am interested in history and I want to devote my life to this sort of studying and teaching.

 

Welcome, Guest Curator Jonathan Bisceglia

Jonathan Bisceglia is a sophomore double majoring in History and Education at Assumption College. He has previously completed an interview in collaboration with the Worcester Women’s Oral History Project and presented on that project at Assumption College’s annual Undergraduate Symposium in 2016. His graphic design work was featured in an exhibit at the American Antiquarian Society during Black History Month in 2016: “From Frederick Douglass to Ferguson: Graphic Design Projects on Race in Modern America Inspired by the Collections of the American Antiquarian Society.” He is a resident assistant at Assumption College during the academic year and works on Cape Cod over the summers.

Welcome, Jonathan Bisceglia!

Reflections from Guest Curator Shannon Dewar

For as long as I can remember, History has been my favorite subject in school. I can remember doing full body outlines of prominent women in the Revolutionary War, basket weaving, and making our own countries up and creating their own governments throughout my days as a student in elementary school. Middle and high school challenged me to delve deeper into both primary and secondary sources and I grew a passion for uncovering knowledge about the past. My fondest memory was the summer going into junior year when we had homework for AP U.S History: it was to read John Adams by David McCullough. While most others in my class found the book long and considered it boring, I found it enriching and insightful. It was from that point on that I knew my love of history would be with me forever, and it ignited in me a spark to continue that passion as a major in college.

Being a guest curator for the Adverts 250 Project has given me the opportunity fall in love with history all over again. I have been able to view it from an entirely new perspective. Instead of just reading sources and integrating them into essays for classes, I actually get to do history. I was able to take what I’ve learned, and actually create my own pieces to be posted for many historians and others to view. After all the years I had been the one reading people’s work, now I can actually know that someone is reading and learning from mine.

While serving as guest curator has been an amazing and insightful experience, it has not come without its challenges. I have had to learn about an entirely new topic, advertising. In addition, I have had to delve deeper into commerce and business in the colonial and Revolutionary periods and learn about the economy in a new light. Though challenging, this project has allowed me to see more into the daily life of Revolutionary America and enabled me to acquire new knowledge about the period.

Just as this project has had challenges, it has also had many rewards. I have absolutely loved the chance to work on a project that allows me to address readers not just within in the small realm of my classroom on campus, but way beyond that, including both national and international readers. The thought of someone reading my work who does not know me is quite amazing. Also, I’ve grown in confidence in my ability to write about history, and take chances in my work, allowing myself to interpret what I read and see differently than how others may. Throughout the process, I have loved to work with sources at the American Antiquarian Society and in online databases that I have never seen before. Being able to work at the American Antiquarian Society, I believe, has been my favorite part, because it is places like that where history is still alive and flourishing.

Going forward, I hope that I get the chance to work again in some capacity with a digital humanities project. It has allowed me to grow in confidence as a writer and historian, as well as provided me with undergraduate experience in a different kind of project. Guest curating the Adverts 250 Project has taught me skills that will take me farther into my future endeavors.

Welcome, Guest Curator Shannon Dewar

Shannon Dewar is a junior at Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts. She is majoring in History with minors in Education and Psychology. Her career goals include pursuing a master’s degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs in hopes of working in a university setting. On campus, she works as a resident assistant, Admissions Ambassador, and, most recently, as an intern for the Dean of Campus Life. Her favorite historical topics include imperialism, the Revolutionary War, and the Cold War.

Welcome, Shannon Dewar!