Education: Wagner-Ritter House

Johnstown Area Heritage Association
Teachers' Guide

(Wonder)Women's Work: Real vs. Ideal

Before the Visit

Materials List for this Lesson
Readings Activities Primary Sources

Over Anna's Lifetime - a timeline of her life

Anna Ritter lived from 1866, a year after the Civil War, to 1968, one year before man landed on the moon.  Anna was alive when President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated and died doon after President John Kennedy was assassinated.  In Anna's youth, there was no electricity, no cars, no long distance communication, no steel mills.  But by the time of Anna's death, there were nuclear power plants, jets, phones, and large factories in hundreds of cities across the United States.

Create a timeline marking each decade that Anna lived.  On the timeline, include atleast one event or invention that would have affected Anna's life.  Using a U.S. History textbook, look for events in these decades: 1860s, 1870s, 1880s, 1890s, 1900s, 1910s, 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s.

Two timeline templates are available.

  1. Printable timeline:  This timeline is designed to be copied and distributed to the students.
  2. Excel timeline: This timeline allows the student to complete the timeline electronically and then print a completed copy.  Instructions for using this timeline are part of the file.

Advertisements Never Cease

This activity may be completed as an individual student activity done with a worksheet, or it can be done as a full class discussion.  These directions are written in terms of a discussion.  The printable worksheet for this activity is available here.

Part One

Have students read the provided selections from Lippincott's Home Manual: Housewifery that are provided in the resources at the top of the page.  Discuss the reading in general terms with your class, enough that they understand the homemaking was considered a "job" to be taken as seriously as any other during this time period.  Ask students to list five (5) items they expect to see, in terms of household items, at the Wagner-Ritter House after reading the selections provided.

Part Two

First, students need to select and print a historical advertisement from those provided in the Advertisement Gallery in the resource section at the top of this page. Second, students must choose a present-day advertisement from a website such as Good Housekeeping, or choose an advertisement from a current newspaper or other home-type magazine.  This advertisment must also be printed/cut out to be turned in.

Discussion Questions:

1.  What are some comparisons that can be made between these two advertisements?

2.  What are some contrasts that can be drawn fron these two advertisements?

3.  What could be said about the time periods that produced these advertisements?

4.  Can you tell what qualities of life were important in these time periods by looking at these advertisements?  How so?


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