History 110e: the term paper

I want you to search The New York Times for two or three interesting news articles about some technology and write a five page paper about it. The paper should  explain how the technology became “socialized,” that is to say, integrated into the larger social order of the United States of America from 1877 through 1920.

Here are two timelines of American inventions:

Before 1890
1890 to 1940

You can search for Times articles via your campus access to the newspaper’s historical database.

typewritergirlFor example, just searching for the word “typewriter” on the database, I found an 1896 article titled “Typewriter girl gets swindled” followed by a 1901 item with the headline “Merchant weds typewriter.” What were the circumstances under which women became so associated with office typing that they became not only “typewriter girls” but embodied by the machine itself?

typewritermarriedTo answer this question you will search the Jstor database (also available via our library system) for articles about women and typewriters. The paper will then posit a question about the socialization of this technology and answer the question via information found in the Jstor texts, which can be scholarly articles, feature stories, reviews of books, or similar texts. You can also use a relevant book that you found at the campus library.

FAQ about the term paper

1. When is the term paper due?

It is due via Google Classroom on the last day of lecture.

2. What should I use for references and a bibliography?

Let’s go with Turabian footnotes and a bibliography right after the concluding paragraph.

3. How many sources should I use?

I suggest several Jstor articles to back up your New York Times sources. Or you can find a book at the library (don’t read the whole book; just explore the relevant sections).

Checklist and term paper rubric


1. Does your paper have a clear argument that appears in the first paragraph of your essay’s first page?

2. Does your paper offer a clear conclusion that recapitulates your argument?

3. Does your paper reference all quotes and factual claims?

4. Are you adhering to your reference system?

5. Is your paper double spaced with page numbers inserted on each page?

6. Have you spell checked and grammar checked your paper?

7. Have you checked for errors that a spell checker cannot find?

8. Does your paper include a short bibliography listed after the conclusion?

9. If you mention my name on your first page, is my name correctly spelled?

10. Are the names of your principal historical figures correctly spelled?

11. Are you taking pains to avoid plagiarism in this paper?


Excellent paper: explores a clearly articulated original argument which is bolstered by a strong narrative and referenced evidence. The writing is compelling and free of spelling or grammatical errors. The paper itself is competently presented (see items 5 through 10).

Very good paper: explores an argument with competent writing and references. The paper contains no spelling or grammatical errors and is competently presented.

Satisfactory paper: explores a vague but identifiable argument with adequate writing and references. The paper contains some errors but is competently presented.

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