The resources in this guide will suggest a few more strategies for places to look for information about objects. Using a variety of resources (both primary and secondary) will help you to understand how your object was produced, sold, purchased, and used and by whom. Having some knowledge the cultural contexts in which your piece was used will give you a fuller perspective.
Who Who produced the object? Who is the intended user of the object? Who is the intended purchaser of the object? Keep in mind ideas of social status, gender, age, race?
What What is the object? What is the intended use? Was it for everyday use or special use (a luxury item)?
Where Where was the object produced? Was it imported?
When When was the item produced and used? What were the big social, economic, cultural issues at this time?
Why Why is this object significant and different than other similar objects?
These sources will be helpful to you in understanding more about the contexts in which your piece was produced and was used.
Original or digitized versions of materials printed at a particular moment in history that can be used to help us to understand that moment in history. For your purposes magazines, newspapers, and catalogs will be especially helpful. You may also wish to look for materials targeted at particular audiences - women, children, people working in trades, etc.
Bailey/Howe Library, Room 100