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Introduction

  • Kelly Schrum
Chapter
Part of the Girls’ History and Culture book series (GHC)

Abstract

Maureen Daly won first prize with her short story, “Sixteen,” in a Scholastic magazine high school writing contest. In this opening paragraph, Daly identifies her protagonist, a small-town high school student, as a “typical” teenage girl through her knowledge of the latest teen trends in fashion, beauty, music, and movies. The narrator understands her peers as well as the latest news from the New York society pages and Hollywood gossip columns. By 1938, growing awareness of teenage girls as a distinct group allowed Daly’s story of unrequited love and self-awareness to resonate with teenage and adult readers nationally.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Maureen Daly, “Sixteen,” in Saplings (New York: Scholastic, 1938), 1–6.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    “A New, $10-Billion Power: The U.S. Teen-Age Consumer,” Life (August 8, 1959): 78, 83–85; “Teenage Consumers,” Consumer Reports (March 1957) in Eugene J. Kelley and William Lazer, eds., Managerial Marketing: Perspectives and Viewpoints (Homewood, IL: Richard Irwin, 1958), 97–101Google Scholar
  3. Louis Kraar, “Teenage Customers: Merchants Seek Teens’ Dollars, Influence Now, Brand Loyalty Later,” Wall Street Journal (December 6, 1956): 1, 11.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    Dwight MacDonald, “A Caste, A Culture, and A Market–I,” New Yorker (November 22, 1958): 57; James Gilbert, A Cycle of Outrage: America’s Reaction to the Juvenile Delinquent in the 1950s (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1986), 205–10Google Scholar
  5. Eugene Gilbert, Advertising and Marketing to Young People (Pleasantville, NY: Printers’ Ink Books, 1957), 43Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Seventeen (March 1947): 2; Estelle Ellis, interview by author, tape recording, New York, NY, November 15, 1994; Estelle Ellis Collection, National Museum of American History, Archives Center; Kelly Schrum, “‘Teena Means Business’: Teenage Girls’ Culture and Seventeen Magazine, 1944–1950” in Sherrie A. Inness, ed., Delinquents and Debutantes: Twentieth-Century American Girls’ Cultures (New York: New York Univ. Press, 1998), 134–63.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Stanley C. Hollander and Richard Germain, Was There a Pepsi Generation Before Pepsi Discovered It?: Youth-Based Segmentation in Marketing (Lincolnwood, IL: NTC Business Books, 1992), 13–14Google Scholar
  8. Kathryn H. Fuller, At the Picture Show: Small-Town Audiences and the Creation of Movie Fan Culture (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1996)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    “Are You A Buyer for Your Family?” Scholastic (May 27, 1932): 26; Robert F. Allen, “Talking to the 6,000,000 Rulers,” Printers’ Ink (October 26, 1933): 12–13; “30 Million Young, Eager Prospects for Advertisers,” Printers’ Ink (February 16, 1933): 16; Amos Bradbury, “Advertising to Seven Million Young Skeptics,” Printers’ Ink (February 2, 1933): 17–20; Dewey H. Palmer and Frederick J. Schlink, “Education and the Consumer,” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 173 (May 1934): 188–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    For a discussion of the concept of “culture” and its use in historical research, see William H. Sewell, Jr., “The Concept(s) of Culture,” and Victoria E. Bonnell and Lynn Hunt, “Introduction,” in Victoria E. Bonnell and Lynn Hunt, eds., Beyond the Cultural Turn: New Directions in the Study of Society and Culture (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1999), 1–61.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Joseph Kett invigorated the study of youth in America in 1977 with Rites of Passage. He used the word “teenager” freely, discussing boys almost exclusively, and located the importance of consumer and popular culture in the period after World War II. Writing in the 1980s, James Gilbert looked at the role of consumer and popular culture in creating a new youth culture after World War II, the period, he argued, when “adolescents gained recognition as a distinct new consumer group.” Grace Palladino opened her book, Teenagers, with high school culture in the 1920s, but argued that the concept of teenagers first became popular around World War II. The rich history before the war has remained largely unexplored. Joseph Kett, Rites of Passage: Adolescence in America, 1790 to the Present (New York: Basic Books, 1977), 3–7Google Scholar
  12. Grace Palladino, Teenagers: An American History (New York: Basic Books, 1996), xvGoogle Scholar
  13. 15.
    Yvonne Blue Skinner diary, Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Yvonne Blue Skinner Papers, 85-M195; Arvilla Scholfield diary, Walters Family Papers; Katherine Rosner (pseudonym) diary, Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Katherine Rosner Papers, 92-M10; Adele Siegel Rosenfeld diary, Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Adele Siegel Rosenfeld Papers, 90-M109. Diaries are a unique primary source, personal records that provide insight into daily lives and friendships and record how societal messages are internalized and personalized. By their nature, diaries are incomplete texts, selectively describing feelings and interpretations. But diaries also serve as an outlet, a place to reflect, vent, and interpret one’s surroundings. For more on diaries as sources, see Margo Culley, ed., A Day at a Time: The Diary literature of American Women from 1764 to the Present (New York: The Feminist Press, 1985), 11–23Google Scholar
  14. Joan Jacobs Brumberg, The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls (New York: Random House, 1997).Google Scholar
  15. 19.
    Mary Cover Jones, et al, eds., The Course of Human Development: Selected Papers from the Longitudinal Studies, Institute of Human Development, The University of California, Berkeley (Waltham, MA: Xerox College Publishing, 1971), 4–15Google Scholar
  16. Carol L. Huffine and Elaine Aerts, “An Introduction to the Intergenerational Studies,” (Berkeley, CA: Institute of Human Development, 1998): 1–6.Google Scholar

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© Kelly Schrum 2004

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  • Kelly Schrum

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