English department launches 1925 virtual newsstand web site
While the advent of the Internet has endangered the future of print newspapers and magazines, it has enabled the history of a lost institution to be shared via The 1925 Virtual Newsstand Web site. Created by University of West Florida senior English majors, the site is the culmination of an ongoing senior capstone project lead by Assistant Professor David Earle who teaches the Capstone Experience class ENG 3944. The focus of the class is to introduce students to “periodical studies,” with all of its accompanying literary and critical methodology.
“The project’s goal is to convey the feel of the newsstand during the first half of the 20th century, which was ubiquitous in American cities and where the majority of Americans got their news, literature and culture,” said Earle.
Earle asserts that the newsstand has been one of the most important and visual aspects of the literary marketplace for the majority of Americans for generations.
“Although it was a vivid, colorful and constant part of daily urban life, there are scant records of this important institution in archives,” he said. “The academic archive largely ignores the vast history of mass-market magazine production due to both its ubiquity and ephemeral nature. My class seeks to recover that history.”
Students who have taken the class have given it rave reviews, including Kelley English.
“The class was an incredibly inspiring and bonding experience,” she said. “Through our efforts to create our database, I feel as though we have produced a strong foundation for archival research in periodicals at UWF for students to build on throughout the coming years.”
The Virtual Newsstand Web site could be considered a digital recapitulation of a 1925 newsstand. It also serves as a major research tool. Visitors can view photos and histories of newsstands and digital issues of magazines from the summer of 1925. It has been linked to the Modernist Journals Project at Brown University and the Modernist Magazine Project at the University of Sussex.
Robert Scholes, research professor of Modern Culture and Media at Brown University and co-director of the Modernist Journals Project, said that the Virtual Newsstand Project is widely known and much admired in the field of modernist studies. He commended Earle for his work.
“Earle is a leader in the uses of digital technology in studying and teaching modernism through the magazines of the early 20th century,” said Scholes. “He knows how to draw students into the world of the early 20th century, so that they can connect it to their own world.”
For more information about The Virtual Newsstand project, visit uwf.edu/dearle/enewsstand/ or contact Earle at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about the UWF Department of English and Foreign Languages, visit uwf.edu/english or e-mail English@uwf.edu.
By Lauren Smith, University Marketing Communications