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A Sense of the '20s

 girl in car

     The decade of the 1920s holds a fascination because it has both the familiarity of home and the exoticism of a foreign land.
     In the years between the First World War and the Great Depression most of the elements of the rest of the twentieth century -- the modern world as we know it -- reached mainstream American culture. The everyday world became dominated by commerce, influenced by packaged entertainment, run by machines. It was a place of easy travel, physical comfort, and many different choices of possessions and lifestyles. For most people, these changes were only additional resources, along with such longstanding values as clean living and hard work, toward a comfortable, prosperous, and respectable life.
     And yet, the Jazz Age reputation for full-fledged craziness was real. While most people sampled this brave new world from the security of respectable family life, some pushed the ever-stretching boundaries. The automobile could take a family to church, or take a restless young couple into town to a speakeasy -- with some private time in lovers' lane on the way home. The record player brought symphonies into homes far from a concert hall, and spread the hot notes of jazz throughout the country. Housewives sought a couple of hours' escape from their routine chores at the movies, made in a place with a wild reputation, called Hollywood. Illegal gin flowed, and a constant succession of fads burst into fashion and died overnight. It was easier than ever before for the young and otherwise restless to follow their mad desires. The drive to be "modern" -- the goal of both flaming youth and staid community boosters -- provided permission to experiment, and creativity flourished.


What Went Before

The Real World, part 1: At Home

 The Real World, part 2: Downtown

 Fantasy Worlds:
     Stage & Screen, Music, Literature, Visual Arts & Design

 Portal to the Future: Technology

 21st Century Interpretations: Art, Stories & Poems

 The Valentino Nook

 Web Links

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