Sourcing a Significant Personal Object
1. What is the story of this 1st place ribbon?
2. Source (what type of source is this? who created it? when and where was it produced?)
For my significant object I chose a blue ribbon I received during September 2017 for finishing my portion of cake the fastest at Anmore’s annual Ma Murray celebration. It is a primary source as it was given out at the event and is record of an amazing day for me. This ribbon was created by an event organizer to reward the winner of the cake eating contest and to make them feel accomplished. Although there are no indicators on the ribbon it was likely made at a local party store as it has custom engravings for this event. It was produced in the same year as the event, likely a few weeks before the event in September. There is no other ribbon exactly like this.
3. What other events or developments were happening when the source was created? How might have they influenced this source?
In September 2017 America was in the midst of the North Korean missile crisis. For many Americans this was an extremely stressful time as there was a dangerous threat of North Korea’s ICBMs hitting the United States. Although this artifact appears to originate from Anmore which is a British Columbian suburb, Canadians were also in the threat zone. A nuclear weapon detonation on the mainland United States would impact Canada as well. With a bit of inferring we can see how this event impacted the production of my ribbon. In the North Korean missile crisis American tensions rose between many other large Asian countries, particularly China. It is well known that many North American goods are produced by this Asian powerhouse country and stale relations largely affected the transfer of goods. In short, fewer Chinese product shipments came to America or Canada due to NATO trade agreements. This helps us infer about the ribbons creation. We can infer because of the reduced transfer of goods that the ribbon was not created in China as many cheap plastics generally are. Because of this fact and custom writings on the ribbon we can assume that it was produced locally.
Another ongoing development during this time frame is the growth of social media and especially the increase of popularity for older generations. In years from 2014 and onwards site demographics show an increase in the use of social media for older generations. Platforms such as Facebook that were once predominantly popular with youth have begun to change demographics to middle age and older men and women. They are just as interested in sharing exciting parts of their lives online as youth are. The decision to create this ribbon and to hold the cake eating contest at all was largely influenced by this new desire to share. The adults in leadership positions who organized this event wanted to share an exciting part of their lives and a silly fun event such as a cake eating contest would certainly add to their Facebook feed.
4. What do you notice that is important about this source? What is interesting? What can’t you explain?
All the information about this source can be gathered from the 4 pieces of text on the frontal side of the ribbon :”Village of Anmore, Ma Murray, Eating Contest, 1st”. The first piece of text on this source is extremely beneficial in our research of it. The village of Anmore is a small suburb located just outside the tri cities area of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. A notable part of the Anmore municipality is the luxury and price of houses. No house is cheaper than $400,000 and most homes are in the multi millions. From the link given below we can infer about the abundance of money that exists here.
This information greatly supports our previous inferences about social media. The greater amount of money Anmorians hold would help them afford internet enabled devices. Being richer, this raises the question of why higher class people would hold something as seemingly cheap, low class, and messy as a cake eating contest. I cannot explain this.
The other important piece of text on this ribbon is “Ma Murray Day”. From online research we can determine that “Ma Murray” was a Canadian newspaper editor who’s full name is Margaret Lally Murray. She lived from 1888 to 1982 and owned a house in Anmore in the elder years of her life. Perhaps Ma Murray was an extremely active community member as there is an annual celebration of her life and impact on Anmore. This is interesting as I could not find the significant impact she left on Anmore through the internet.
5. What groups might the creator have belonged to? Why do you think they made the source? Who was the audience? How might the background / values of the creator and audience have influenced this source?
As we have determined in question 3 and 4, the creator and organizer of this cake eating contest was likely a moderately wealthy Anmore citizen upwards of 40 years of age who possesses the time to volunteer their time towards an event. The decision to create such an award in the form of a ribbon can be related to the social media aspect of question #3. Watching a cake eating contest is an extremely entertaining for watching in person and through social media. As the creator was a volunteer they wanted to ensure the most successful event possible and a cake eating contest was an amazing way to attract attention.
The audience was a wealthy group of Anmorian’s who largely had social media and were looking to share their daily lives online. Both the creators desire to have more people in attendance and the audiences desire to share meet each other very well in a cake eating contest. The cake eating contest gave the audience an exciting event to share on social media which benefited the creator by having more people aware for next year and giving happiness to the audience and a positive reputation to the event.
6. What do you learn from examining this source? How does it help you answer your inquiry question? Does it confirm, extend or contradict what you know? What does it not tell you? What further questions do you have?
From this source and inferences we have made about it we can learn a lot about Anmorians and their values. We learn about the purpose of Ma Murray day and how a cake eating contest can help improve the popularity, bringing more money into an already flourishing community. The research and inferences I have made about the source help us learn the story of this 1st place ribbon. We now know about who created it, when it was created, likely where it was created and why the ribbon was created for this event. This information largely confirms what I know of Anmore as resident of Port Moody, a suburb directly south of Anmore.
From the artifact alone we are still left without a large part of the valuable information. The ribbon does not contain any manufacturing information on the back. Who exactly was in charge of planning the event and where did they get the ribbon custom engraved? How can you custom engrave a ribbon?
To conclude this 1st place cake eating contest ribbon may seem childish and unimportant at first, but when looked at from a sourcing lens provides us with a special insight into the history of the creators and their wants and desires in September of 2017. This insignificant ribbon shows effects of nuclear crisis and helps us learn so much more about the history of a small rural community called Anmore.