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About the Exhibit

About the Exhibit

19th-Century Periodicals:

Framing the New American Standard

We all need social connection. While today we might reach for Facebook groups to share our stories and find a sense of belonging, Americans in the nineteenth century took advantage of a newly-blossoming media: the periodical. Amid Civil War tensions, evolving gender roles, and the rise of higher education, readers gravitated toward publications which reflected their emerging identities, finding simultaneous comfort and education.

Godey’s Lady’s Book and the Vanderbilt Austral helped readers connect across state lines and define themselves as citizens, women and scholars. As both sources of news and culture, advice and reproach, readers saw these periodicals as more than just papers: Godey’s and the Austral offered definition and certainty. Godey’s and the Austral offered the new American standard.

Josanda AddoHealth and Beauty as Seen Through Godey’s Lady’s Book

Robby EspanoGodey’s Lady’s Book 1868: Building Community through Prescriptive Literature

Hannah TsiaoThe Vanderbilt Austral: A Paper and a Self for Nashville’s University

The word clouds show how the Fellows responded to both issues of Godey’s Lady’s Book and to the Vanderbilt Austral at the start of the project, and how their opinions changed after their research for the exhibit was complete.