The 1920's were a prosperous time known as the Roaring Twenties, the Jazz Age, and the Age of Wonderful Nonsense. There were many different and interesting things that occurred during the 1920s in America.
Interesting Statistics The population of the US was 106,521,537 people. In the year 2010 it was 308,745,538 people. The average yearly income was $1,236. In the year 2010 it was $51,144. The price of a gallon of milk was $.58. Today it is $3.50. Men lived about 54 years. Women lived about 55 years. Today men live about 77 years, and women live about 83 years A public school teacher earned about $729 a year. Today the average salary for a teacher is $46,800. It took 13 days to reach California from New York driving on 2 lane roads. On today’s interstates it can be done in 44 hours, or 5 hours by plane.
Red Scare • After the Communist revolution in Russia people in the U.S. feared it might spread here to America. The led to a wave of anti-immigrant feelings.
Prohibition In 1919, the 18th Amendment passed the Act of Prohibition, which made the making of, the transportation of, and the selling of alcohol illegal. The intent of the Amendment was to lower the crime rate and to improve the general way of life, but the opposite happened.
Crime increased as people rebelled against not being able to buy alcohol. People began making homemade alcohol using equipment called stills. This homemade alcohol was sometimes called bathtub gin.
Numerous illegal bars called speakeasies were created to provide drinks for the people who wanted alcoholic beverages.
Gangsters profited during this decade by smuggling alcohol and distributing it to different illegal businesses. Al Capone from Chicago was one of these gangsters. He made $105 million a year smuggling alcohol.
Women received the right to vote by the 19th Amendment, but they still had little interest in politics. During the 1920s women asked guys out. They wore the new flapper style of clothing and were more assertive. They took the same jobs as men, but still fought for equality in the workplace.
Fashion Flappers were considered reckless rebels. They had short sleek hair. They wore a shorter than average shapeless shift dress. They wore make-up and put it on in public. They exposed their legs in public. They put their cigarettes in long holders to smoke them. They enjoyed doing the new dances, such as the Charleston, in the jazz clubs.
Men took their fashion ideas from the sports or gangster heroes of the day. Men wanted to appear “dapper.” Baggy pants, polished shoes, and a handkerchief in the pocket let others know that this man was someone to pay attention to. The baggy zoot suit was worn for fancy occasions.
New Inventions Henry Ford began mass production of the "Model T" automobile, the first car priced so the average man could afford one.
Other well-known inventions of the decade included band-aids, kleenex, and zippers.
New food products introduced during the 1920's included Welch's Grape Jelly, Wrigley's chewing gum, and the Eskimo ice cream pie.
Entertainment The main form of entertainment was listening to the radio. Entire families would gather around the radio and listen to the popular shows. Popular songs included “You’re the Cream in My Coffee,” “Lady-Luck Blues” by Bessie Smith, “California, Here I Come!” by Al Jolson, “Rhapsody in Blue” by George Gershwin, “It Had to Be You.” and “Yes, Sir! That’s My Baby!” by Carlton Coon and Joe Sanders.
Silent movies became "talkies" when sound was finally added. Charlie Chaplin, the Little Tramp, was one of the most famous stars in motion-picture history. He wrote and directed nearly all of his films, and composed the music for all of his sound pictures.
The best movies of the decade were "Treasure Island" and "Ben Hur." Favorite actors were Rudolph Valentino as the Sheik, Clara Bow as the "it" girl, Mary Pickford, and Al Jolson, the star of the "Jazz Singer."
In 1924 Alvin Kelly, also known as Shipwreck Kelly, decided to attempt to sit on a flagpole in response to a dare from a friend. He sat upon the pole for 13 hours and 13 minutes. Within weeks hundreds of people were trying to become the “King of the Pole.” One man sat for 12 days, another for 17, and another for 21 days. Huge audiences would gather to watch the sitter. In Atlantic City, New Jersey, Kelly reclaimed the title by sitting atop a flagpole for 49 days in front of 20,000 people. Flagpole Sitting
The series of steps are thought to have originated with the African-Americans who were living on a small island near Charleston, South Carolina. In 1922/3, it was introduced to the theater going public at the New Amsterdam Theater in New York In the 1920's, women who did the Charleston were called "Flappers" because of the way they would flap their arms and walk like birds while doing the Charleston. Many men of the period wore raccoon coats and straw hats. The Charleston
For Children Only Favorite children's books were "Winnie the Pooh," "Bambi," "Dr. Doolittle," and "The Velveteen Rabbit."
Favorite toys included the new baby doll that said, "mama," paper dolls, and teddy bears for the girls. Boys played with metal trucks, Tinker toys, and Erector sets.
Popular children's games were marbles, jump rope, roller skating, and Statues.
Mickey Mouse, Little Orphan Annie, and Felix the Cat were popular cartoon characters.
Slang Words describes a wrong idea or person He's all wet. All wet what you say when you are angry "Oh, applesauce!" Applesauce
the most important person the boss The Big Cheese something splendid or wonderful the best The Cat’s Meow Cheaters eyeglasses OK Everything is Jake. Jake
Dogs feet Giggle water alcohol Heebie jeebies A scary nervous feeling jalopy An old car moll A gangster’s girlfriend
pushover Someone easily convinced scram leave swell wonderful vomit upchuck whoopie Have a good time
Important People Amelia Earhart was the first female aviator to cross the Atlantic Ocean and the first woman to fly solo. She disappeared in 1937 in an attempt to be the first woman to fly around the world. No trace of Miss Earhart or her plane have ever been found.
Babe Ruth was the greatest slugger in baseball history. His record of 714 regular-season home runs wasn't broken until 1974 by Hank Aaron. He was named to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936.
Red Grange was one of the greatest football players of all time. He became known as the Galloping Ghost when he scored five touchdowns on his first five carries in one game.
Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald was one of the great writers of the Jazz Age. F.Scott Fitzgerald began his career as a writer of stories for mass-circulation magazines. He was one of the main writers for “The Saturday Evening Post.” The publication of his novel, This Side of Paradise, made him famous overnight.
Bessie Smith was the greatest and most influential classic blues singer of the 1920s. During her heyday, she earned upwards of $2000 per week, a queenly sum in the 20s. By the time the decade had ended, Smith had become the most respected black singer in America and had recorded a catalog of blues that still stands as the yardstick by which all other female blues singers are measured.
King Oliver is a legend in Jazz history. As a trumpet player, he was strongly influenced by Buddy Bolden whom he imitated, but Oliver soon became a Jazz stylist in his own right. In the end, the designation of "king," which Bolden had long assumed, became Oliver's--particularly after one memorable night in Storyville.
In the early 1920s, Louis Armstrong joined King Oliver in Chicago--playing solos with Fletcher Henderson at the Roseland Ballroom in New York and making jazz history with the Hot Five. It was in Chicago that he initiated his "scat" singing -- singing nonsense syllables in place of words and vocally simulating instrumental sound.
Herbert Hoover was President of the United States from 1928-1932. He was a millionaire businessman and a successful public official. Seven months after becoming president the stock market crashed and the Great Depression began.
ResourcePage www.stuorg.iastate.edu mayhem-chaos.net xroads.virginia.edu www.vp-rarebooks.com www.skyglass.com burlingamepezmuseum.com erectorset.net www.talontoys.com www.punchstock.com www.fotosearch.se/ comp/phd www.lib.mq.edu.au www.adirondackmuseum.org www.disneyanaexchange.com www.biglittlebooks.com www.digitalmediafx.com vnexpress.net www.rare-baseball-books.com www.wheaton.edu www.npg.si.edu www.badfads.com www.lauratoops.com/welcome.htm www.costumesinc.com/Costumes/images/ www.suavecito.com/Westword.html xroads.virginia.edu/Fashion/fashionfun.html www.moviepostershop.com www.pbs.org/gointochicago/learning/after6.html forum.hardware.fr/hardwarefr/ Photonumerique/P... img18.imageshack.us www.villastjean.com www.meredy.com/ pickfordtriv.htm www.subvulture.com/ archive/229.html www.surfnetkids.com www.business-supply.com www.realisticdrawing.com buy.overstock.com www.walgreens.com http://www.geocities.com/MotorCity/Lane/6341/History/Roaring20s.html The World Almanac and Book of Facts 2003, World Almanac Books, 2003, pgs. 233, 898