- First Name
- Last Name
- United States
- Misericordia University
- Website URL
- Visual culture, material culture, advertising, trademarks, fraud, business history, cultural history, Early America, citizenship, public history
- Media Contact
- Additional Contact Information
- Will comment on historical background only.
- About Me
My scholarship examines the intersection of images, the law, and society in the United States, with a particular focus on fraud and the history of capitalism. My forthcoming book, Branding Trust: Advertising and Trademarks in Nineteenth-Century America, (University of Pennsylvania Press, Dec. 2023), examines the problem of counterfeit goods that ransacked the American market in the nineteenth century, the strategies used by advertising experts to combat the problem, and the effects of these on American consumers. Tracing the development of American trademark law, it reveals early strategies to build goodwill in the visual and textual appeals used by advertisers before 1920.
I’m also working on several new projects, which collectively interrogate the interplay between visual culture and concepts of belonging / exclusion, on the one hand, and between visual media, commerce, and authenticity on the other. I’m currently researching my next book project, which will further explore the history of counterfeit consumer goods order to uncover the cultural and economic that propelled the production and purchase of fakes. I’m particularly interested in art forgery and related frauds, especially considering the ways in which museums stimulated a market for fake collectibles in the nineteenth century. Aside from this line of research, I’m also working on several articles related to African American print culture in the nineteenth-century, advertising practices and infrastructure in the antebellum years, and the role of visual media in configuring popular and legal constructions of citizenship.
I have several years’ experience working as a public historian, including work for large and small public institutions such as the National Museum for Women in the Arts in Washington, DC, and the Anthracite Heritage Museum in Scranton, PA. In addition to teaching a variety of courses in American history, public history, and visual culture at Misericordia University, I am also the book reviews editor at H-Material Culture.
- Recent Publications
Branding Trust: Advertising and Trademarks in Nineteenth-Century America (forthcoming in December 2023, University of Pennsylvania Press).
“Noticing Material Culture,” Management & Organizational History 18, no. 1-2 (2023): 31-42.
“Teaching Public History Online” (with Abigail Gautreau, Will Stoutamire, and Katie Stringer Clary), History@Work: An Online publication of the National Council on Public History (2 October 2020).
“Autograph Albums and the Commercialization of Memory in the United States,” in Cultures of Memory in the Nineteenth Century: Consuming Commemoration, ed. Katherine Haldane Grenier and Amanda R. Mushal (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2020), 39-60.
“Gender in the Academy: Recovering the Hidden History of Women’s Scholarship on Scrapbooks and Albums,” Material Culture 50, no. 2 (2018): 38-52.
Anthracite Photographers: Photographers of Anthracite Exhibit Catalog (with Bode Morin, John Fielding, and Sarah Sporko), (Scranton, PA: Anthracite Heritage Museum, 2018).
“Exchange Cards: Advertising, Album-making, and the Commodification of Sentiment in the Gilded Age,” Winterthur Portfolio 51, no. 1 (2017): 1-53.
“Teaching Uncomfortable Narratives in Public History Courses,” History@Work: An Online publication of the National Council on Public History (27 September 2017).
“Historical Memory and Contemporary Politics,” The Junto: A Group Blog on Early American History (9 Aug 2017).
“Citizenship and Caricature: Teaching the American Past with Images,” in Art & Public History: Approaches, Opportunities, and Challenges, ed. Rebecca Bush & K. Tawny Paul (New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2017).
“Investing in Public History Students,” History@Work (8 Sept 2015).
Machines that Made History: Landmarks in Mechanical Engineering (New York: ASME Press, 2014).
“‘The Mark of Honor’: Trademark Law, Goodwill, and the Early Branding Strategies of National Biscuit,” in We Are What We Sell: How Advertising Shapes American Life…and Always Has, ed. Danielle Sarver Coombs and Bob Batchelor (Denver: Praeger / ABC-CLIO, 2014), 262-284.
“Corporate Calling Cards: Advertising Trade Cards and Logos in the US, 1876-1890.” Journal of American Culture 32, no. 4 (2009): 291-306.
Additional public history projects and reviews listed at: https://jennifermblack.org/publications-research/
- Media Coverage
- Country Focus
- Expertise by Geography
- United States
- Expertise by Chronology
- Expertise by Topic
- American Founding Era, Art & Architectural History, Capitalism, Economic History, Law, Material Culture, Museums, Public History