FACTS about this decade.
Early modernism in art, design, and architecture, which began at the turn of the century, continued through to 1940 and the war. In cities, Skyscrapers (first in 1870s) were erected and hundreds of architects competed for the work. The first successful design was the Woolworth Building in New York. In Chicago, the Wrigley building was designed by Graham, Anderson, Probst, and White while the Chicago Tribune Tower was designed by Howells and Hood. The Art Deco design was exemplified by the Chrysler and Empire State Buildings (depression projects – the Empire State Building completed early 1931.) Frank Lloyd Wright was prolific during this period, designing homes in California and in Japan. The term Art Deco (1925-1950) is derived from the International Art Exposition in Paris in 1925. In the 20s and 30s art of that style was referred to as modern. Designers included Karl (Kem) Weber and Eliel Saarinen.
Art movements included the modernist movement [George Luks, Charles W. Hawthorne], abstract expressionism [Willem de Kooning], surrealism, and dadaism [Georgia O’Keeffe, Morgan Russell, Man Ray], realism [ Thomas Hart Benton, Edward Hopper, Grant Wood, Leon Kroll] and landscape [Aldro Thompson Hibbard, N.C. Wyeth]. Horace Pippin is considered one of America’s foremost primitive or naive painters. The best museums featured shows by these important artists.
- World Wide Art Resources from the Metropolitan Museum of Art | Searchable by artists, movement, galleries, museums, architecture.
- 1925 The Year in Review | Texas.net Museum of Art – an online art museum.
|N65122.5.A7D86 1986||American Art Deco||Includes art deco of the 20s and 30s – exhibitions, furniture, silver, ceramics, textiles, architecture, jewelry, painting and much more. Very complete – with col and b&w illus.|
|N6494.D3I5 1985||In the Mind’s Eye: Dada and Surrealism||Excellent resource for these movements – includes American art and artisits.|
|NA680.F723 1983||Modern Architecture 1920-1945||Photographs, floorplans and review of architecture during this time.|
|N6505.C7 1994||American Art: History and Culture||Overview by era. By Wayne Craven.|
|ND205.Z4 1987||300 Years of American Art||I consider this the best source. Very good explanation of movements, then 1 page entry on important artists, a color photo of one of their works, 10 year average of value of their art, and public collections list. 2 volumes.|
BOOKS & LITERATURE
The Algonquin Round Table, also called THE ROUND TABLE, informal group of American literary men and women who met daily for lunch on weekdays at a large round table in the Algonquin Hotel in New York City during the 1920s and ’30s. Many of the best-known writers, journalists, and artists in New York City were in this group. Among them were Dorothy Parker, Alexander Woollcott (author of the quote “All the things I really like are immoral, illegal, or fattening”, Heywood Broun, Robert Benchley,Robert Sherwood, George S. Kaufman, Franklin P. Adams, Marc Connelly, Harold Ross, Harpo Marx, and Russell Crouse.
Acids stain you; And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren’t lawful; Nooses give;
Gas smells awful; You might as well live.
RESUME by Dorothy Parker
Southern gentle lady,
Do not swoon.
They’ve just hung a black man
In the dark of the moon.
They’ve hung a black man
To the roadside tree
In the dark of the moon
For the world to see
How Dixie protects
Its white womanhood
Southern gentle lady,
Silhouette by Langston Hughes
Quote by Gertrude Stein, who coined the phrase, Lost Generation
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in my heart)i am never without it(anywhere i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done by only me is your doing,my darling) i fear no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true) and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant and whatever a sun will always sing is you here is the deepest secret nobody knows (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide) and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)
Books That Define the Time
|Books About Writers of the Twenties|
|REF PN771.G27||Twentieth Century Literary Criticism||Vol 26, p. 45-126. This TOPICS volume of TCLC is an excellent source for excerpts from critical essays on the Harlem Renaissance.|
|E173.A793||Annals of America||Vol 11-12 contain essays by the important writers of the time, including excerpts from books listed above.|
|PS153.N5H26 1984||The Harlem Renaissance Remembered||Essays about the people of the Harlem Renaissance.|
|PS159.F5P59 1996||American Expatriate Writing and the Paris Moment||Pizer focuses on 7 major writers self-exiled to Paris following WWI.|
|REF 1003.2.C66 1993||American Literacy||4-6 page essays on 50 books that define the American culture.|
|PS129.C27 1988||Geniuses Together: American Writers in Paris in the 1920s||Includes photographs in Paris – includes the dark side of life there.|
|REF Z1219.C96 1905 (annual)||Book Review Digest||Indexes and abstracts book reviews. Use it to find books written during the period and their reviews|
1922: The Story of Mankind by Hendrik Willem van Loon
1923: The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting
1924: The Dark Frigate by Charles Hawes
1925: Tales from Silver Lands by Charles Finger
1926: Shen of the Sea by Arthur Bowie Chrisman
1927: Smoky, the Cowhorse by Will James
1928: Gay Neck, the Story of a Pigeon by Dhan Gopal Mukerji
1929: The Trumpeter of Krakow by Eric P. Kelly
FADS & FASHION
- A period of slang: slang used for “girls or women”: a broad, a bunny, a canary (well, one who could sing), a charity girl (one who was sexually promiscuous), a dame, a doll, cat’s meow, cat’s whiskers
- Jazz age jargon included: Joe College – better yet a Joe Yale – or a Joe Zilch , jazzbo, jellybean, blind date, upchuck, jazz babies, pos-a-loot-ly, and the real McCoy.
- Games included mah-jngg, ouija boards, and crossword puzzles
- Endurance races of all sorts gained popularity and included Marathons and flagpole sitting
- Dance marathons – began in 1923 and really became the rage.
- Harry Houdini was the great escape of the 1920s.
- American Baseball! and other sports were very popular.
- Miss America contest began in Atlantic City in 1921. Margaret Gorman (16 years old) was the first winner with measurements of 30-25-32
- Dance crazes included the Charleston, the Black Bottom, and the Shimmy.
- Dining at Sardi’s.
LINKS to Fads & Fashion Sites:
Early 20th Century Fashion | Links to world wide fashion at the turn of the century. Good ones..
The Flapper Culture and Style | The Jazz Age.
The Roaring 1920s | A collection of links to more information.
Books on Fads & Culture
|REF E169.1.P19 1991||Panati’s Parade of Fads, Follies and Manias||Arranged by decade, includes fads, dance crazes, radio, tv, popular books and songs.|
|E 169.1.R7755 1964||Mass Culture: The Popular Arts in America||Important essays analysing mass culture in American history.|
|E169.1.S9733 1984||Culture as History : The Transformation of American Society in the Twentieth Century||Excellent source for this topic. Events which transformed the social, political and cultural face of America in this century.|
Costumes / Fashion
Men: Clothing for men became a bit more conservative in the 1920s. Trousers widened to as wide as 24 inches at the bottomes. Knickers grew in width and length and were called ‘plus fours’. White linen was popular during the summer. And during the winter, an outstanding American coat was popular – the racoon coat. These were very popular with the college men. The slouch hat was made of felt and could be rolled up and packed into a suitcase. A wool suit was only $15.85. Garters were 40 cents. All this and a 12″ long cigarette holder. Cigarettes were 10 cents a pack.
Women: By 1921 the longer skirt was back – some long and uneven at the bottom. The short skirt was popular by 1925. This period was called the Flapper Age. No bosom, no waistline, and hair nearly hidden under a cloche hat. This decade began the present hey-dey for the manufacturing of cosmetics. Powder, lipstick, rouge, eyebrow pencil, eye shadow, colored nails. They had it all! AND pearls.
This period marked the spread of ready-to-wear fashion. More women were wage earners and did not want to spent time on fittings. The status symbol aspect of fashion was losing its importants as class distinctions were becoming blurred. Inexpensive fashion became available. America moved ahead of other countries mass production of contemporary style clothing for women. America even produced several designers of this fashion including Jane Derby.
BOOKS ON FASHION AND DESIGN
|GT596.E9 1986||History of 20th Century Fashion||Very good chapter on Developments in fashion manufacture from 1918-1939 and one on New fashion makers 1920-1930. .|
|GT738.B97 1987||A Visual History of Costume: The Twentieth Century||Photographs or illustrations. Presented by year, each includes a note, information about the head and the body and a description of accessories.|
|GT605.H35 1992||Common Threads: A Parade of American Clothing||Includes an overview of the 20th century, then chapters on contributors to changes in fashion. If you only see one book, this is the one. It has photographs of people during the 20s including the dandy outfits of the Ku Klux Klan to Eleanor Roosevelt’s enticing wardrobe.|
HISTORIC EVENTS AND PEOPLE
1913-1920 Woodrow Wilson | 1921-1923 Warren G. Harding
| 1923-1928 Calvin Coolidge| 1928-1932 Herbert Hoover
Links To the People and Events of the 20s
- Illinois Trail – 1920s | Excellent coverage of the decade, from speakeasies to politics.
- 1920s timeline | News arranged chronologically. Very helpful.
- American History from 1860 to the present | Web Guide for this period.
- American Memory Project | By the Library of Congress, digitized library of photographs
- Turn of the Century From Reconstruction to WWI – from U.S. History Net.
- Historical Atlas of the 20th CenturyCollection of maps and stats of the 20th century.
- Two views of the 20s | The Roaring 20s and the Boring 20s
- Industry and Technology | Pictures and essays from Library of Congress.
- Biography Index | Biography of over 15,000 famous persons.
- Genealogy Guide |; Helpful in locating past people, places and events
Library of Congress browsing areas :
E -F – U.S. History [ Remember, history covers all areas of the library.]
Important Historic and Cultural Events
|REF E169.1G664 1995||The Columbia Chronicles of American Life: 1910-1992||Covers topics in the news, entertainment and more – by year.|
|REF E178.5.A48 1981||Album of American History||This is a great book to give the reader the real flavor of the decade because it is made up of photographs, captions, and brief entries.|
|REF E169.1 G665 1987||American Chronicle: 6 Decades in American Life 1920-1980||Overview, economic, social, consumer, entertainment, and vital information by year|
|REF E174.D52||Dictionary of American History||From very brief to multi-page signed entries on topics in American History.|
|REF HA202.B87 1975||Historical Statistics of the United States: Colonial Times to 1970||2 volume set. Statistical tables and explanations from the Bureau of the Census. Covers all aspects of American life.|
|REF E169.1A471872 1995||America in the 20th Century||1920-1929 is covered in volume 3. Typical of Marshall Cavendish, this encyclopedic set is accessible and gives easy to use background information for this decade. Covers from art to transportation.|
|REF E173.A793||The Annals of America||Use volumes 14 and 15. Set contains essays and excepts from important writers and on important topics of the time. Most valuable for this research.|
|REF E169.M45 1995||The Writer’s Guide to Everyday Life from Prohibition through World War II||Neat book for writers. Includes slang, crime, transportation, clothing, entertainment, and great events. Mostly lists – arranged dictionary-style.|
MUSIC of the Twenties
Ain’t we got fun?
Not much money, oh but honey’
Ain’t we got fun?
People were going places and singing about them; Chicago; That Toddling Town, Carolina in the Morning, Way Down Yonder in New Orleans, California Here I Come (love YouTube), Alabamy Bound, and Puttin’ on the Ritz by Irving Berlin. (featuring Clark Gable. Try the other versions, I just love Young Frankenstein.
Library of Congress browse areas: ML, look by musical era
|REF ML200.H15 1996||A Chronicle of American Music 1700-1995||Arranged by year, historical highlights, world cultural highlights, American art and literature, music – commercial and cultural.|
|REF ML197.S634 1994||Music Since 1900||Arranged by day, includes important premiers and musical events.|
|REF ML128.S37L4 1984||The Great American Song Thesaurus||Arranged by year, summary of world and musical events, list of important songs.|
|REF ML390.S983 1986||Show Tunes 1905-1985||Features important composers. Lists their shows and the published music for each show.|
THEATER, FILM RADIO
Broadway reached an all time peak. Gershwin was hot with An American in Paris, Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein created Show Boat starring Helen Morgan. Fred and Adele Astaire opened in Funny Face. There were 268 plays offered in New York City in the year 1927. This compaired with 50-60 in the 1970s.
Radio networks began during this decade: David Sarnoff’s NBC and William Paley’s CBS both went on the air. Billboard Magazine published its first charts in 1928. Bing Crosby and other crooner singing stars aided their sales with their live and recorded radio performances.
|REF PN2189.L85 1983||Twentieth Century Theatre||A theater buff’s bible. This book lists and describes by year premiers, productions, revivals, events, births/death/debuts in both America and Great Britain.|
|REF PN1993.5.U6H55||The Transformation of Cinema||Volumes 1 and 2 are needed to cover this decade. A great source for information about early cinema. Photographs.|
|REF ML390.S983 1986||Show Tunes: 1905-1985||Limited because it only covers only Jerome Kerns and Irving Berlin [try this letter to Irving Berlin] from this era. Worth a look for these two – because it lists plays, performances, theater information, and published songs.|
American Popular Music 1900-1950 | A look at the music and the times.
Music in the Public Domain | Includes song lists – with links to some lyrics.
Roaring Twenties Online Concert | Hear it weekly via your computer or radio
Arts of the 20s | All of the arts of the 1920s