Jennifer Black

"Let's just see if this works…"


I am a PhD Candidate in History at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, but my heart will always belong to the Great Lakes. I earned my BA in Art History and MA in Public History both from Western Michigan University, and have worked at several public institutions, including the Cleveland Museum of Art and the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC.


My dissertation, "Branding Trust: Advertising, Trademarks, and the Problem of Legitimacy in US Popular Visual Culture 1870-1930," examines the cultural production of trust through advertising imagery. I am particularly interested in how particular iconographies were used by advertisers to visually communicate with potential consumers, establish a sense of rapport and trustworthiness, and ultimately convince consumers to buy the newly-available and yet unfamiliar household products that emerged at the end of the 19th century.


online and otherwise

Luna Francis Lambert, “The Seasonal Trade: Gift Cards and Chromolithography in America, 1874-1910” (Dissertation, The George Washington University, 1980).

  • This dissertation provides some good general information about the economics of the chromolithography industry for small, gift card prints after 1870, including detailed information for the firm JH Bufford / Bufford & Sons; and the import / export debates that preoccupied the industry in the 1890s.

Intro to Visual Studies Syllabus
Visual Studies at USC

Sources on Advertising

Annotated Bibliography (see "Files," below)
Online Bibliography from Prof. Robert Rabe, Marshall University
Advertising History Timeline