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Gilded Age: Assignment


U.S. History (10)
Werner, D'Harlingue, Dickens
Winter 2017-2018

Gilded Age Magazine Project

DUE: In class on Thursday 2/14 (D'Harlingue/Dickens); Friday 2/16 (Werner)

For this project, you will be part of an intrepid team of investigative journalists, reporters, editors, and cartoonists that will take up the muckraking spirit and create a magazine dedicated to a major Gilded Age event or topic.  


You will be divided into groups. Each group will create a magazine issue devoted to one of the following topics:


  1. Big Business and Trusts (theme: big business; year: 1870 and on)

  2. Massacre at Wounded Knee (theme: the West, Native American history; year: 1890)

  3. Women’s Activism (theme: women’s history, politics; year: 1870 and on)

  4. New Immigration (theme: immigration; year: 1892 and on)

  5. Labor Unrest, e.g., Pullman Boycott (theme: labor; year: 1894)

  6. Populism and the Election of 1896 (theme: politics, Populism; year: 1896)

  7. Spanish-American War (theme: imperialism; year: 1898)


Each magazine must contain the following:

  • Cover Page:

    • This cover page must feature an original magazine title of your group’s own creation. (For your inspiration, some real life Gilded Age-era magazine titles are: McClure’s, Collier’s Weekly, Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Weekly, Atlantic Monthly.)

    • This cover page should have an illustration and eye-catching headline

  • Staff page: A list of the following roles and who was in those roles (you may create a Gilded Age alias for yourself, but make sure to put your real name in parentheses):

    • Editor-in-Chief

    • Reporter(s)

    • Opinion Editor(s)

    • Advertising/Art Director

  • Articles:

    • 1 investigative cover story about your topic or event (600-800 words)

    • 2 op-ed pieces with opposing viewpoints (300-400 words each):

      • an op-ed supporting one side of your topic (e.g., “why women should have voting rights”)

      • an op-ed arguing for the other side of that topic (e.g, “why women should not have voting rights”)

    • 2 articles about Gilded Age society and culture (300 words each). Note: these do not have to be directly related to the theme your magazine issue.

      • Examples:

        • Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous (Carnegie, Rockefeller, the Vanderbilt Costume Ball)

        • Brief biographical feature of a famous figure (e.g., Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Mark Twain, Samuel Gompers)

        • Intellectual trends

        • Leisure activities and cheap amusements

        • Sports

        • The Gilded Age City – department store openings, skyscrapers completed.

        • . . . . and many more. Get creative!  

  • Images:

    • 1 original (student-created) political cartoon relating to your topic.

    • 2 original (student-created) advertisements with text and images – Be creative here. Think of/research new inventions, foods, fashions, fads, or cheap amusements that appeared during the Gilded Age.

    • 3 primary source images to support your articles.

  • A Bibliography with at least 3 visual primary sources, 3 textual primary sources, and 4 secondary sources. Wikipedia, SparkNotes, and your textbook do not count as primary or secondary sources. You can use these resources as starting points, but that’s about it. Each entry in your bibliography should be accompanied by a sentence explaining how you used this source in your magazine, whether to “illustrate” an article or for background knowledge.



Pay attention to the time period. Your magazine must cover events/trends that occurred during the Gilded Age (1865-1900), but if your topic focuses on a particular event, such as the Election of 1896, then you’ll need to make sure that your magazine doesn’t have any articles or stories about events that occurred after. Avoid anachronisms!



A hard copy of your magazine (because back in the Gilded Age, they didn’t read Google Docs). That said, save your files early and often.


WHAT YOU WILL BE GRADED ON (100 points total):

  • Historical knowledge and accuracy – 60 points. Do your articles, advertisements, and cartoons demonstrate a deep understanding of the topic? Do your op-eds accurately reflect the sentiments and arguments of the time?

  • Originality and Creativity – 10 points. Go for the “wow” factor!

  • Bibliography – 20 points. Is your bibliography formatted correctly? Did you meet the minimum number of sources? Did you find sources outside of those found in your textbook? Are your secondary sources scholarly? Do your primary sources fit your time period and do they relate to your topic? Did you rely only on websites or did you find a print source as well?

  • Presentation and neatness – 10 points. Is your magazine eye-catching and pleasing? Does it have minimal to no typos or errors? Does it look professional? Make it pretty!