Posted in October 2014

Schrum, Kelly. (2004) Some Wore Bobby Sox

Schrum, Kelly. (2004) Some Wore Bobby Sox


ARGUMENT Most cultural histories of teenagers focus on delinquent (white) boys in the 1950s as the first “teenage” culture.  However, Schrum argues that girls were the original teenagers.  Adolescent girls developed their own unique tastes and styles in fashion, beauty, movies, and music beginning as early as the 1920s and used consumer culture to create … Continue reading

Garvey, Ellen Gruber. (1996) The Adman in the Parlor

Garvey, Ellen Gruber. (1996) The Adman in the Parlor


ARGUMENT In the 1880s, advertising became a part of daily life and it socialized women and children (mostly girls) into adopting the new consumer culture. SUMMARY In The Adman in the Parlour, Garvey (1996) examines socio-cultural changes in the late nineteenth century to better understand the origins of women’s consumer culture. While most historians point … Continue reading

Formanek-Brunell, Miriam. (1992) “Sugar and Spite: The Politics of Doll Play in Nineteenth Century America”


ARGUMENT The author challenges the popular understanding that dolls limited girls’ development and restricted them to domestic and maternal responsibilities. Her studies of girls’ diaries, magazines, advice manuals and other primary sources finds that girls appropriated dolls and used them for purposes other than practicing their mothering skills. SUMMARY In the earlier part of the … Continue reading

Nasaw, David. (1992) Children and Commerical Culture: Moving Pictures in the Early 20th Century


ARGUMENT A study of Nickelodeon movies in the early 20th century demonstrates that children had independence, agency and collective buying power as early as 1910. SUMMARY Nasaw argues that although reformers and child protectors campaigned to keep children out of the Nickelodeon theatres, children continued to swarm to the theatres in search of cheap excitement … Continue reading

Jacobson, Lisa. (2004) Raising Consumers

Jacobson, Lisa. (2004) Raising Consumers


ARGUMENT   SUMMARY Jacobson  finds that children were often depicted in early twentieth century ads as precocious shoppers with distinctive preferences and a voice to express them. In line with Cross’ and Kline’s assertions about the changing nature of childhood, Jacobson adds that changes in family life, such as a decline in the number of … Continue reading