JENNIFER SCHMIDT

I am very interested in the recycling of information and ideas. The following projects involve the appropriation of historical broadsides, songs, recipes, and identity cards to create a newfound portrait of social conciousness, published in the present.

"Copy of a Letter- Said to have been Written by Jesus", 2008

This is an actual historical broadside/letter that I have reproduced and made available in the present. It is said to be the first example of chain mail. If you copy it, the letter opens to you. If not, it flies away.

"Ein Brief" poster mounted on flourescent orange posterboard. Stack of Letters from Jesus, copied by Jennifer Schmidt, for take-away, under an illustrative rock.

 


 

078-05-1120, 2008

Social Security Cards Issued by Woolworth, 1938
Social Security Cards Re-Issued by Jennifer Schmidt, 2008

The story of the most used number of all time…

The most misused SSN of all time was (078-05-1120). In 1938, wallet manufacturer the E. H. Ferree company in Lockport, New York decided to promote its product by showing how a Social Security card would fit into its wallets. A sample card, used for display purposes, was inserted in each wallet. Company Vice President and Treasurer Douglas Patterson thought it would be a clever idea to use the actual SSN of his secretary, Mrs. Hilda Schrader Whitcher.

The wallet was sold by Woolworth stores and other department stores all over the country. Even though the card was only half the size of a real card, was printed all in red, and had the word "specimen" written across the face, many purchasers of the wallet adopted the SSN as their own. In the peak year of 1943, 5,755 people were using Hilda's number. SSA acted to eliminate the problem by voiding the number and publicizing that it was incorrect to use it. (Mrs. Whitcher was given a new number.) However, the number continued to be used for many years. In all, over 40,000 people reported this as their SSN. As late as 1977, 12 people were found to still be using the SSN "issued by Woolworth."

 

A Round, 2008
2 Boomboxes play 2 looped Disc Recordings of Jennifer Schmidt singing the well-known song "John Jacob Jingle Heimer Schmidt"- psynched as a round. The 3rd voice present is the voice of the listener, intuitively re-playing the song, stuck in their head.

 

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