American Cultural History 1970 – 1979

The chaotic events of the 60’s, including war and social change, seemed destined to continue in the 70’s.  Major trends included a growing disillusionment of government, advances in civil rights, increased influence of the women’s movement, a heightened concern for the environment, and increased space exploration.  Many of the “radical” ideas of the 60’s gained wider acceptance in the new decade, and were mainstreamed into American life and culture.  Amid war, social realignment and presidential impeachment proceedings, American culture flourished.  Indeed, the events of the times were reflected in and became the inspiration for much of the music, literature, entertainment, and even fashion of the decade.

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Organized activities for the girls - cheerleaders. The purpose of this web and library guide is to help the user gain a broad understanding and appreciation for the culture and history of the 1970s.   In a very small way, this is a bibliographic essay.  While there is no way we can link to everything, we have attempted to find areas of special interest and to select information that we hold dear today – movies we watch, songs we sing, events that move us, people we admire.

To see the whole picture, we encourage users to browse all the way through this page and then visit the suggested links for more information on the decade.  We feel the best way to immerse oneself in a topic is to use both Internet and the library.  The real depth of  information is best read in books.  More photographs, more information, more depth.   Then, there is information that will be found only on the Internet; a journal from someone, photographs like those on our pages.  If you can add a valuable site or information to this page, we invite you to write.   Thanks for the visit.  ENJOY!

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David Hockney, Lawn Being Sprinkled Seventies art reflected a slowing and refinement of some of the avant-garde trends prominent in the Sixties.  Earth art, a movement that combined environmental and minimalist ideas on a large scale, was promoted by artists such as Michael Heizer, Walter de Maria,  Robert Smithson, James Turrel, Alice Aycock, Claes Oldenburg, and  Richard Serra.  Massive earthworks such as Smithson’s Spiral Jetty, challenged all the rules regarding mass, time, size, and space. Land art and environmental art, variations of earth art, were also prominent.  Other notable schools of art were illusionism, which  sought to surprise viewers and cause them to question their interpretation of reality, and photo realism and hyperrealism, which imitated
photography, created by such artists as Richard Estes. Couple, plaster by George Segal Pop Art was still represented by artists such as Andy Warhol and  David Hockney; and George Segal continued to sculpt his white plaster, such as  Three Figures on Four Benches (1979).  The influence of the women’s movement was represented by Lynda Benglis, Jackie Winsor, and Judy Chicago, who created the feminist art exhibition, The Dinner Party.  Performance art challenged the traditional, stationary aspect of art.  Andrew Wyeth began painting his Helga pictures.

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In architecture, the “modern movement” retreated and there was a gradual move toward architectural humanism and a renewed respect for traditional and historical design.  Increasingly architects attempted to consider the needs and feelings of the people who would use their buildings.

The historical element is evident in the pyramid form of San Francisco’s Transamerica Building (William L. Pereira, 1972) and the classical Piazza d’Italia in New Orleans (Charles Moore, 1979).  Houston’s  Pennzoil Place  (Philip Johnson and John Burgee, 1976) combined modernism with humanism utilizing an eight-story atrium to connect two trapezoid-shaped towers.  Architect  Paolo Soleri, advocated Arcology, a new theory of architecture embodying the fusion of architecture with ecology.  Modernism survived in buildings such as the Frank Gehry House in Santa Monica, California (1978), and the Dallas City Hall , designed by I.M. Pei (1978).

Other noteworthy structures of the decade include:

  • Kimball Art Museum, Fort Worth, Louis I. Kahn (completed 1972)
  • Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, Gunnar Birkerts (1972)
  • Sears Tower, Chicago, Bruce Graham (1973) – later renamed Willis Tower (2009)
  • National Air & Space Museum, Washington, D.C., Gyo Obata (1976), and
  • I. M. Pei’s East Wing of the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. (1974 to 1978).


  • Links to Later 20th Century Art   |   Resources for the Study of Art History from the Department of Art History, Sweet Briar College, Virginia.
  • American Architecture – Twentieth Century – 1970 to 1979   |   From the Great Building Collection.   
  • Digital Archive of American Architecture   |   By century and building type from Boston College.
  • Great Buildings Collection from Architecture Week.
  • Art on the Internet   |   Art research guide from Kingwood College.
  • Art History Resources on the Web   |   Impressive research guide by Christopher L. C. E. Whitcomb, Professor of Art History at Sweet Briar College, Virginia.


N6490 .L792 1997    Visual Arts in the Twentieth Century   |   History of art in the 20th Century which includes all art forms and architecture. Arranged chronologically by decade.
Ref N6512 .A578 1985     American Artists: Illustrated Survey of Leading Contemporary Americans   |   Reviews and biographical data on more than 1,000 living American artists.
N6537 .C48 A2 1996     Beyond the Flower: the Autobiography of a Feminist Artist   |   Autobiography of Judy Chicago.
N6537 .W86 W55 1987     Andrew Wyeth: the Helga Pictures   |   Photographs with criticism and interpretation.
N6797 .H57 A4 1993     Hockney, David. That’s the Way I See It.
NA712 .L4 1993     20th Century American Architecture   |   Photographs and discussions of 200 key buildings.
NA712 .R86 1989      Architecture and Design, 1970-1990   |   Discusses architectural trends as a reflection of the times.

NA737 .J6 A4 2002 The Architecture of Philip Johnson   |   includes almost 400 photographs of Johnson’s creations with detailed building descriptions.
NA737 .K32 B73 1992     Kimbell Art Museum   |   Architecture in detail, an examination of the building with photos, drawings and discussion.
NB237 .S44 H86 1989     George Segal   |   Essay and 132 photographs of his true-to life sculptures, which often capture the pulse of the time.
NB237 .S46 A4 1998      Richard Serra: Sculpture   |   Retrospective study of more than 100 of his works.


John Updike. See at Many of the books published in the 70’s revolved around a general theme of man’s alienation from his spiritual roots.   John Updike portrayed characters trying to find meaning in a society spiritually empty and in a state of moral decay.  Joyce Carol Oates wrote of the search for spiritual meaning in the contemporary world, and  Kurt Vonnegut explored the loneliness of contemporary society and the power hungry materialism that pervaded it.  One of the strongest literary voices to emerge from this decade was Toni Morrison, who examined the Black American experience as never before.  The poetry of Rod McKuen was immensely popular.  No playwright dominated this decade of both social and artistic unrest.  Among the most acknowledged were Sam Shepard, Lanford Wilson, David Mamet, Christopher Durang, and Neil Simon.



  • The Pulitzer Prize  |  Award winners from 1917 forward in fiction, non-fiction, poetry,drama and other categories
  • The Noble Prize for Literature  |  Noble Laureates in literature from 1901-
  • Hit Parade of Literature  |  Comprehensive listing of prize-winning literature organized by decade

(Pulitzer, Nobel, National Books Award) from Sigma Tau Delta, the English Honor Society

Books That Define the Time 

  • All the President’s Men – Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward
  • The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations by  Christopher Lasch
  • The Hite Report: A Nationwide Study of Female Sexuality – Shere Hite 
  • I’m OK, You’re OK – Thomas A. Harris
  • Jonathan Livingston Seagull – Richard Bach

Books About Books

Ref PN50 .L574  Literature and Its Times   |   Profiles notable literary works and the historical events that influenced them.  Vol. 5 covers 1960 forward.
Z1003.2 B66 1998   Books of the Century   |   Anthology of the best writing about books and authors originally published in The New York Times Book Review, arranged chronologically from 1896-1997.
Z1003.2. C66 1993  American Literacy   |   4-6 page essays on 50 books that define the American culture.

Children’s Book Award Winners of the seventies

Newbery Award Winners – Began in 1922 (most distinguished book of the previous year)1970: Sounder by William H. Armstrong
1971: Summer of the Swans by Betsy Byars
1972: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien
1973: Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
1974: The Slave Dancer by Paula Fox
1975: M. C. Higgins, the Great by Virginia Hamilton
1976: The Grey King by Susan Cooper
1977: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor
1978: Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
1979: The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
Caldecott Award Winners – Began in 1938 (most distinguished picture book of the previous year)1970: Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig
1971: A Story A Story, retold and illustrated by Gail E. Haley
1972: One Fine Day, retold and illustrated by Nonny Hogrogian
1973: The Funny Little Woman, illustrated by Blair Lent; text: retold by Arlene Mosel
1974: Duffy and the Devil, illustrated by Margot Zemach; retold by Harve Zemach
1975: Arrow to the Sun by Gerald McDermott
1976: Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears, illustrated by Leo & Diane Dillon; text: retold by Verna Aardema
1977: Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions, illustrated by Leo & Diane Dillon; text: Margaret Musgrove
1978: Noah’s Ark by Peter Spier
1979: The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses by Paul Goble

Typical school girl in 1970s.


Two trends not directly related to education nonetheless heavily impacted the nation’s schools and campuses during the Seventies.  Social movements, particularly the anti-war movement, were highly visible on college and university campuses.  The Kent State massacre was the most devastating event, with four students gunned down by Ohio National Guardsmen attempting to stem the anti-war demonstrations.  Mandatory busing to achieve racial school integration, particularly in Boston and other Northeastern cities, often led to violence and a disruption of the educational process.  On a positive educational note, Congress guaranteed equal educational access to the handicapped with the Education of All Handicapped Children Act of 1975.


  • School: the Story of American Public Education  | PBS series (2001) documenting American education from 1770’s to 21 Century
  • History of American Education Web Project
  • Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education  |  1971 Supreme Court decision approving busing as a tool for desegration of public schools
  • “Education in the United States”  |  sample chapter from The Seventies in America (Salem Press, 2005)
  • “How to Tell If Your Child Is a Potential Hippie”  | 1970 Parent Teacher Association parent education pamphlet by Jacqueline Himelstein
  • History of the United States Department of Education


 LA 216 .C73 1990 American Education :  The Metropolitan Experience 1876-1980 History of education.  Other titles by Lawrence A. Cremin also may be helpful.
Ref LB15 .E47 2003 Encyclopedia of Education Eight volume set with more than 850 signed articles examining institutions, processes, roles, and philosophies. Also includes brief biographies of influential educators and relevant Supreme Court cases.
Ref LB15 .H57 1999 Historical Dictionary of American Education Contains more than 350 alphabetically arranged entries on the development of American elementary and secondary education.
LA11.L8 1972 Our Western Educational Heritage The final long chapter contains a history of the American educational system.



RV - the thing to have in the 1970s. Mood rings, lava lamps, Rubik’s cube, smiley face stickers and pet rocks all captured the imagination of Americans during this decade.  The wildest fad surely was streaking nude through very public places!   Families vacationed in station wagons and everyone wanted an RV.
Station Wagon, #1 son gives the peace sign from the back seat.
The fashion influence of Sixties hippies was mainstreamed in the Seventies, as men sported shoulder length hair and non-traditional clothing became the rage, including bellbottom pants, hip huggers, colorful patches, hot pants, platform shoes,  earth shoes, clogs, T-shirts, and gypsy dresses.  Knits and denims were the fabrics of choice.  Leisure suits for men became commonplace, and women were fashionable in everything from ankle-length grandmother dresses to hot pants and micro-miniskirts.  The movie Annie Hall (1977) even inspired a fashion trend with women sporting traditional men’s clothing such as derby hats, tweed jackets, and neckties worn with baggy pants or skirts.

Peace sign

  • Clothes of the Seventies  | Descriptions and pictures of hundreds of clothing items of this decade, from “In the 70s.”
  • The 70s Disco Fashion & Costume History from
  • Super  |  where the 1970’s never ended
  • 70s Links  |  great set links to everything 70’s – fads, fashions, entertainment, people, and events
  • Retro Nostalgic Skooldays  |  A look back at the music, fashion, toys, fads, tv, movies and more, organized by decade


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.
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.
GT510 .B6713 1987 20,000 Years of Fashion Chapter XIII covers 1960-1983. With illustrations and photographs.
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.



A visit to NASA in Houston, 1975 The floppy disc appeared in 1970, and the next year Intel introduced the microprocessor, the “computer on a chip.”   Apollo 17, the last manned craft to the moon, brought back 250 samples of rock and soil.  Unmanned space probes explored the moon, Jupiter, Mars, Saturn, Uranus, and Venus.  The U.S. Apollo 18 and the USSR’s Soyuz 19 linked up in space to conduct joint experiments. Atari produced the first low-priced integrated circuit TV games, and the videocassette recorder (VCR) changed home entertainment forever.  Jumbo jets revolutionized commercial flight, doubling passenger capacity and increasing flight range to 6,000 miles.  The neutron bomb, which destroys living beings but leaves buildings intact, was developed. In medicine, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) technology was developed to help in diagnosis. The discovery of recombinant DNA technology in 1973 led to research in genetic engineering. This was soon halted pending development of safer techniques.  The first test tube baby, Louise Brown, was born, developed from an artificially inseminated egg implanted in the mother’s womb.  Other noteworthy developments of the 1970s included these inventions or innovations: email (1971), first retail barcode scanned (1974), the laser printer (1971), and the first space lab (USA Skylab, 1973). Additionally, a new format for books, the electronic book, was invented in 1971, eventually resulting in Project Gutenberg, the largest collection of online books.


  • Computer Chronicles  | a history of important developments in computer technology
  • Timeline of Computer History  |  from the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA
  • Twentieth-Century Inventions  |  a timeline of innovation from
  • Web Sites on Invention and Innovation  |  from the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention & Innovation
  • History of Microbiology |  Microbiology’s 50 Most Significant Events 1875–Present


  • Ref Q125 .A765 1989   Asimov’s Chronology of Science & Discovery   |   Scientific breakthroughs by year
  • Ref T15 .C378 2004   Scientific American Inventions and Discoveries: All the Milestones in Ingenuity from the Discovery of Fire to the Invention of the Microwave Oven
  • Q180.55 .D57 L54 2005 The Discoveries: Great Breakthroughs in 20th Century Science


Gary and Kathy During the 1970’s the United States underwent some profound changes.  First a Vice President and then a President  resigned under threat of impeachment.  The Vietnam War continued to divide the country even after the Paris Peace Accords in January 1973 put an end to U.S. military participation in the war.  Roe v. Wade legalized abortion.  Crime increased despite Nixon’s pledge to make law and order a top priority of his presidency.  Increased immigration followed passage of the Immigration Act of 1965, which reformed an earlier policy that favored western Europeans.  People from Third World countries came to this country in search of economic betterment or to escape political repression.  Women, minorities, and  gays increasingly demanded full legal equality and privileges in society.  Women expanded their involvement in politics.  The proportion of women in state legislatures tripled.  Women surpassed men in college enrollment in 1979.  However, the rising divorce rate left an increasing number of women as sole breadwinners and forced more and more of them into poverty.  African-Americans also made their presence felt as the number of black members in Congress increased, and cities such as Los Angeles, Detroit, and Atlanta elected their first African-American mayors.  Affirmative action became a controversial policy as minorities and women asserted their rights to jobs and quality education.  Native Americans began to demand attention to their plight.  In 1975 the Indian Self-Determination Act encouraged Indians to take control of their own education and promote their tribal customs.

Presidents:  Richard M. Nixon (1969-1974),  Gerald Ford (1974-1977), and  Jimmy Carter (1977-1981).
Houston’s U.S. Representative  Barbara Jordan gained national prominence with her eloquence during the Watergate investigation and hearings which resulted in impeachment proceedings against Nixon.

22 April 1970 First “Earth Day” celebrated as environmental movement launched.
4 May 1970 Four students killed when National Guardsmen opened fire during anti-war demonstrations at Kent State University in Ohio.
28 June 1970 First Gay Pride march held in New York City commemorating the first anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion, considered to be the beginning of the moderm GLBT movement.
24 April 1971 Huge anti-war march in Washington, D.C.
1971 Daniel Ellsberg leaks the Pentagon Papers,  massive collection of top-secret government documents, whose publication helps to discredit the Vietnam War policies of the Nixon administration.
17 May 1972 Republican agents burglarize Democratic headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C.
29 May 1972 Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT I) signed by U.S. & Soviets.
5,6 September 1972 Nineteen killed in terrorist siege at Munich Olympic Games
1973 Arab oil embargo causes severe shortage and energy prices skyrocket
22 January 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision legalizes abortion
10 October 1973 Amid charges of corruption and scandal, VP Spiro Agnew pleads no contest to income tax evasion and resigns from office.
6 December 1973 Gerald Ford, congressman from Michigan, becomes the new vice president.
1974 Economy in worst recession in 40 years.
9 August 1974 Ford becomes the thirty-eighth president after Richard Nixon, facing impeachment charges, is forced to resign.
1975 United Nations declares International Year of the Woman.
30 April 1975 South Vietnam falls to Communist forces of North Vietnam.
4 July 1976 The country commemorates the 200th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence with a spectacular bicentennial celebration.
1978 Residents of Love Canal, NY, evacuated due to dangerous toxic chemicals buried in the area.
19 November 1978. American religious cult leader Jim Jones and 900 People’s Temple followers die in mass suicide in Jonestown, Guyana.
28 March 1979 Radioactive leak at Three Mile Island nuclear power plant.
4 November 1979 Iranian militant students seize the U.S. embassy in Tehran capturing 66 hostages and setting off an intense standoff that lasted 444-days.


Cesar Chavez Organized farm workers to demand higher wages, health insurance, and other benefits for migrant workers in California.
Shirley Chisholm First African-American woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives; ran for the office of President of the United States in 1972.
Patty Hearst Granddaughter of newspaper mogul, William Randolph Hearst,  kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army, and subsequently participated with the SLA in an armed robbery of a San Francisco bank.
Jesse Jackson A leader in the civil rights movement who founded PUSH (People United to Save Humanity) in 1971.
George McGovern The senator from South Dakota was shot five times while campaigning to be the 1972  Democratic Party nominee for President in 1972.
Karen Silkwood An employee of the Kerr-McGee nuclear processing plant who was killed in a car crash on the way to a meeting with a New York Times reporter to reveal evidence of unsafe and illegal practices at the nuclear plant.
Benjamin Spock A pediatrician, author, and social reformer whose permissive philosophy in his influential book, The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care, was blamed for a wide range of social problems in the 1970’s.
George Wallace Governor of Alabama; shot and paralyzed from the waist down while campaigning for the presidency in 1972 on an anti-bussing, law and order platform.
Andrew Young First African-American voted into the U.S. House of Representatives from the deep South since 1898.


  • Historical Atlas of the 20th Century  |  Collection of maps and stats of the 20th century.
  • 1970’s Week by Week Archives  |  “The most complete look at the major events, pop culture, sports, music, TV, movies and radio,” from Mr. Pop Culture (site also includes the 1950s, 1960s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s).
  • American History 1860-present  |  Kingwood College guide to history sites on the internet.
  •  |  Searchable biographies of more than 25,000 famous people, past and present from the Biography Channel.
  • Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year”   |  Influential persons, 1927 to the present.
  • This Day in History  |  from the History Channel
  • Celebrate the Century, 1970’s  |  U.S. Postal Service’s stamps honoring the culture of the 1970’s.
  • 1970-1979 World History  |  Major events and people of the decade from InfoPlease.


Ref E174.D52 2003 Dictionary of American History From very brief to multi-page signed entries on topics in American History.
Ref E169.1.A471872 1995  America in the 20th Century  1970-1979 is covered in volume 8.  Typical of Marshall Cavendish publications, 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  Volumes 19 covers the early part of this decade through 1973.  Set contains essays and excepts from important writers and on important topics of the time.  Most valuable for this research.


Street musicians in Jackson Square, New Orleans, 1974 By the 1970’s, the term “rock & roll” had become nearly meaningless. This decade saw the breakup of the Beatles and the death of Elvis Presley, robbing rock of two major influences. Pop music splintered into a multitude of styles: soft rock, hard rock, country rock, folk rock, punk rock, shock rock -­ and the dance craze of the decade, disco!  But whatever sub-genre(s) you preferred, rock music was big business.
Among the top names in popular music were  Aerosmith, the Bee Gees,  David Bowie, Jackson Browne,  Alice Cooper, Eagles, Electric Light Orchestra, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Fleetwood Mac, Billy Joel, Elton John, Led Zeppelin, John Lennon, Pink Floyd, Bob Seger, Bruce Springsteen, Rod Stewart,Three Dog Night, and The Who.  “Easy listening” regained popularity with groups such as the Carpenters, and Bob Marley gained a huge core of fans in the U.S. performing Jamaican reggae music. Even though Michael Jackson was only 12 years old in 1970, his career as a solo performer skyrocketed during this decade.


  • I Love the 70’s   |  VH1’s tv documentary series, the 70’s year by year
  • Lyrics Database   |  song lyrics, searchable by title
  • Music in the Public Domain  |  Includes song lists – with links to some lyrics
  • Super Seventies Almanac  |  music, news, and sports highlights, including the top singles, albums, movies and television shows for each year from 1970 through 1979
  • In the 70’s  |  music, movies, TV shows and a whole lot more in this salute to the Seventies
  • Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland  |  neat site includes lots of rock history
  • Super Seventies RockSite  |  Super site for 70’s music and culture
  • History of Rock Music  |  Piero Scaruffi’s comprehensive look, including lots on the 70’s
  • The 70’s Preservation Society  |  dedicated to the Music and Memories of the 70’s.”
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 ML390.S983 1986  Show Tunes 1905-1985  Features important composers.  Lists their shows and the published music for each show.
Ref ML3470 .M36 Illustrated History of Popular Music 20 volumes covering the music, events, and people of Rock.


Princess Leia - Star Wars The Seventies was the decade of the big comeback for the movies.  After years of box office erosion caused by the popularity of television, a combination of blockbuster movies and new technologies such as Panavision and Dolby sound brought the masses back to the movies.  The sci-fi adventure and spectacular special effects of George Lucas’s Star Wars made it one of the highest grossing films ever. Darth Vader / Luke Other memorable movies were the disaster movies, Towering Inferno, Earthquake, Poseidon Adventure, and Airport.  Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky reaffirmed the American dream and gave people a hero with a “little guy comes out on top” plot.  The Godfather, based on the book by by Mario Puzo, spawned multiple sequels.  There also was the terror of Steven Spielberg’s Jaws,  the chilling Exorcist, and the moving  Kramer vs. Kramer. There was a definite public yearning for simpler, more innocent times as evidenced by the popularity of the movies, American Graffiti and Grease, both of which presented a romanticized view of the Fifties.   Saturday Night Fever with John Travolta fueled the “disco fever” already sweeping the music and dance club scenes; and the nation’s experience in the Vietnam War and its aftermath influenced the themes of several movies, including Coming Home, The Deer Hunter, and Apocalypse Now.

Happy Days TV Show gif Television came of age in the Seventies as topics once considered taboo were broached on the airwaves for the first time.  Leading the way was the humorous social satire of All in the Family, which had plots on many controversial issues such as abortion, race, and homosexuality.  Saturday Night Live also satirized topics and people once thought of as off limits for such treatment, such as sex and religion.  Nothing was considered sacred. Bert & Ernie of Sesame Street fame Television satellite news broadcasts from the frontlines of the conflict in Vietnam continued to bring the horrors of war into the homes of millions of Americans and intensified anti-war sentiment in the country.   The immensely popular TV miniseries Roots fostered an interest in genealogy, a greater appreciation of whites for the plight of blacks, and an increased interest in African American history.  Happy Days, which followed the lives of a group of fifties-era teenagers, was TV’s primary nod to nostalgia, while The Brady Bunch comically presented the contemporary family.  The relatively new publicly funded  Corporation for Public Broadcasting gained viewers and stature with such fare as Sesame Street for children, and live broadcasts of the Senate Watergate hearings.


  • Academy Award Winners & History  |  All of the Oscar winners since the first award (by decade).
  • TV Ratings   |  Top 30 Shows for each year,1950 to 2000, from
  • Top TV Shows of the 1970’s  |  from The 70’s Preservation Society.
  • Television History – The First 75 Years  |  advertising, books, magazines, programming, FAQs, stats.
  • This Day in Movie History  |  Births, deaths and marriages of  everyone Hollywood, from the Internet Movie Database.
  • The 70s Project  |  Music, movies, and television shows of the 70s


Library of Congress browse area: PN1700 – PN230

Ref PN1992.18 .E53 2004 Encyclopedia of Television  A comprehensive examination of the people, organizations, technology, and productions that have made television a major influence of the 20th Century (4 vols.).
Ref PN2189.L65 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.  Vol. 2 covers 1948-1979.
PN1993.5 .U6 H55  History of the American Cinema Volume 9 covers 1970-1979.


Big Business dominated the sports world in the Seventies.  Television had opened the door to major changes during the Sixties, and business sought ways to exploit and profit from the new sports market.
Professional athletes, previously “owned” by their teams, demanded and received the right to “free agency,” whereby they would be able to market themselves to the highest bidder.  By 1979, baseballer Pete Rose was able to negotiate a $1 million per year contract.  Before 1970, only a few athletes earned more than $100,000 per year; at the end of the decade hundreds did.  Additionally, professional atheletes substantially increased their worth by appearing in television and print advertisements and endorsing products.  In one of the more interesting television celebrity endorsements, famed New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath appeared in women’s pantyhouse.

This decade also saw the rise of “Ping Pong Diplomacy,” as the Americans faced the Chinese in a series of highly publicized matches.

Notable Sports Events of the Seventies

March 13, 1971 – Legendary race car driver Mario Andretti won the Grand Prix of South Africa, his first Grand Prix victory. In 1978, he won the World Championship of auto racing.
1972 – U.S. swimmer Mark Spitz won an unprecedented seven gold medals at the Olympic Games in Munich, Germany.
1972 – A.J. Foyt made racing history by winning the Indianapolis 500, 24 hours of Le Mans, and the Daytona 500.
1973 – Secretariat won the Triple Crown of horse racing, winning the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and then the Belmont.
1973 – Roberto Clemente was the first Latin American to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Sept. 20, 1973 – Billie Jean King defeated Bobby Riggs in the much-hyped “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match.
February 18, 1973 – Stunt driver Evel Knievel jumped across 50 cars stacked four deep in the Los Angeles Collesium.
April 8, 1974 –Hank Aaron slammed in the 715th home run of his career, topping the previous record set by Babe Ruth.
1975 – Martina Navratilova turned pro, setting off one of the major rivalries in women’s tennis with Chris Evert.  Of the 80 times they faced other, Martina won 43 and Chris 37.
February 5, 1977 – Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner won the first of four consecutive national U.S. Figure Skating titles.
February 25, 1978 – Kurt Thomas became the first American man to win a medal at the World Gymnastics Championships, taking a first-place gold in the floor exercise.


National Football League History,1971-1980 |  Major events and players in the history of the NFL, by decade and year
The SI Vault   |  Sports history from Sports Illustrated
The Vault from   |  Sports history of the 20th Century
Sports: Breaking Records, Breaking Barriers  |  an online exhibition of American sports history from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History
Wide World of Sports Highlights -1970s | ABC Sports presents a list of yearly highlights for the decade


Library of Congress browse area: GV

Ref GV567 .H518 1992   The Encyclopedia of North American Sports History
GV697 .A1 W69 1992 Outstanding Women Athletes: Who They Are & How They Influenced Sports in America
Ref GV709 .I58 2001    International Encyclopedia of Women and Sports (3 vols.)
Ref GV741 .I58 2005    The ESPN Sports Almanac
Ref GV861.12 .A2 P76 1994   Professional Sports Team Histories (4 vols.)