Teaching Cleveland
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Elementary School Edition: K-5

Lesson 26

Looking at Newspaper Ads of 1946


Students will analyze a variety of newspaper advertisements from 1946 in order to draw conclusions about what life was like for ordinary people in Cleveland in 1946.



OPA - Office of Price Administration: Established in 1942 to insure against inflation during World War II. The OPA was authorized by Congress to set price ceilings. Was kept in place for a year after the war in order to control post-war inflation.


  1. How do advertisements reflect the society of the time period?
  2. What products, services or entertainments interested Clevelanders in 1946?


  1. There are nine different advertisements. Each student should receive a copy of one of the ads, however, make certain that all the ads are distributed throughout the class. Students will not all have the same ads.
  2. Announce to students that they will become the "historian" today. They have an opportunity today to analyze a document from the past. They will be studying these documents in order to draw conclusions about what life might have been like 50 years ago. As they begin to study the document, they will need to complete the document analysis sheet to record their findings. When students have completed their research, they should be grouped with "historians" who analyzed the same advertisements and share and compare their information. Each group will then be asked to report their findings to the rest of the class. The information will be recorded on the board. Students will then be asked to draw some conclusions about the people and their lifestyles in 1946. Suggested areas of discussion could include interests, concerns, entertainment, etc. Statements describing life in 1946 should be written on the board. In order for statements to be used, students will need to support their statements or conclusions with the evidence from their research.
  3. Once all statements have been made, and using the evidence from their research, students are to write a paragraph describing what life was like in Cleveland in 1946.
  4. This lesson could be a directed lesson where the teacher reproduces the ads on transparencies and the documents are analyzed as a class activity through class discussion.

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