Mrs. Cornelia Ward Hall and Her Children

Writing assignment 2: Research paper


Mrs. Cornelia Ward Hall and Her Children


Your second paper assignment for this course will be a research project focused on an object from the Museum of the City of New York.  You will write an 8-10 page paper about this object and what it tells us about the history of New York prior to the 20th century.




Assignment details: You will need to select one object from the collection. You can select from any category (prints, drawings, paintings, furniture and other objects, clothing and costumes, etc.) as long as it was made prior to 1900.  This assignment will be evaluated on the quality of your research, your attention to the form of your object and ability to connect it to historical context, and on your writing.




The assignment will be broken up into several phases:


1. Select an object. Visit the museum and select something that is interesting to you. While there, take detailed notes on the object’s form, similar to your first writing assignment. The form of the object or image is essential to this paper.


Also be sure to note historical information, what it is, who made it and when, who it was used by/for, materials, etc.


2. Find resources: Using internet and library tools, begin finding resources that give you more information on this object and objects like it, the time period, the people, etc.


Due date 1: April 21:  Hand in a brief description of the object (1-2 paragraphs) and a list of 5 sources with notes on how they relate to your object.


3. Develop your thesis: what will you argue about this object? What do you think is most important or most interesting about it?  Initial research will help you develop your thesis; once you have you can continue with more in-depth and focused research.


Please feel free to talk with me about this phase, I am very happy to help you develop a thesis based on initial thoughts and research, and we can do it in person or over email.


4. Write an outline: Once you have completed the bulk of your research, you should outline how you will present your findings and your argument.



Due date 2: by May 5: Email to me your thesis statement and outline. If you’d like to send it earlier, that’s fine.


5. Write the paper: Write 8 to 10 pages based on your research, ideas, and outline. You can use any standard formatting and referencing model you’d like (MLA, Chicago, etc.) as long as it is consistent throughout.  I encourage you to write a draft and edit it—writing always improves through editing. Also be sure to proofread, or have someone proofread it for you, to catch small errors of spelling, punctuation, etc.


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