The Roaring Twenties is a term used to describe the 1920s, Peace returned to the world in the wake of World War I. Jazz music became popular and the flapper redefined modern womanhood, also the advent of Art Deco became news worthy, and then the Wall Street Crash of 1929 destroyed many company's and peoples fortunes during this era, which became known as the "great depression" 

The speakeasy. The flapper. Al Capone. Boosterism. Prohibition. Cars and consumer culture. The roaring twenties. Through these popular images, the colourful decade of the 1920s still resonates among generations that never experienced it. Yet the popular stereotype of this crucial decade largely obscures its greater cultural and historical significance. From a cultural and historical perspective, the 1910s and 1920s were marked by a deep clash of cultures.

Welcome to Pastreunited, here you will find hundreds of videos, images, and over 80 pages about all aspects of the 20th century. A great deal of the content has been sent in, other content is the work of numerous writers who have a passion for this era, please feel free to send in your memories or that of your family members, photos and videos are all welcome to help expand pastreunited's data base.

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Decorate the dorm room with some truly unique and fun Metal Signs and Wall Decals

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a 1920 horror silent film

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a 1920 horror silent film based upon Robert Louis Stevenson's novella The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and starring actor John Barrymore. The film was directed by John S. Robertson and co-starred Nita Naldi, and is now in the Public Domain.

This story of a split personality, has Dr. Jekyll a kind and charitable man who believes that everyone has two sides, one good and one evil. Using a potion, his personalities are split, creating havoc.

The 1920s Fashion

Langston Hughes was born in Joplin Missouri, in 1902. His father, who had studied to become a lawyer, left for Mexico shortly after the baby was born. When Langston was seven or eight he went to live with his grandmother, who told him wonderful stories about Fredrick Douglas and Sojourner Truth and took him to hear Booker T. Washington. She also introduced him to The Crisis , edited by W.E.B. DuBois. who also wrote The Souls of Black Folk, young Langston's favorite book.

After his grandmother died when he was twelve, Langston went to live with his friends, whom he called Auntie and Uncle Reed . At age fourteen his mother married again and soon he accompanied his new family to Illinois and then to Cleveland. This is where Homer Clarke, his mother's new husband found work at a steel mill.

Langston enter Colombia University and began living in Harlem, at that time and elegant section on the northern end of Manhattan Island that black people were making their own. The sights and sounds of Harlem, its music and dance and intellectual life, inspired Langston more than his classes in mining engineering, and eventually he quit school.

Meanwhile he sent more poems to the Crisis . Having difficulty finding work, Hughes, twenty-one, joined the crew of a ship sailing for Africa. Eventually he traveled through Italy, Holland, Spain, and France, writing all the while. Finally he returned to New York, and felt as though he had returned home.

An outburst of literary activity followed. Hughes's poetry absorbed the rhythms of blues and jazz and the dialect of African American speech that he heard around him. He continued to write and publish in the The Crisis . He met poet Vachel Lindsay, who liked his poems and promoted them. In 1926 Hughes published his first book of poems, The Weary Blues, about Harlem life.

Hughes continued writing through the 1930's and the 1940's, speaking for the poor and the homeless black people who suffered during the Great Depression. He wrote of their daily lives in American cities, of their anger and their loves. Black people loved reading his works and hearing him read his poems at public presentations all over the country. To them he was" Harlem's Poem." When Hughes died in 1967, a jazz band played at his funeral.

Langston Hughes

The Harlem that Hughes loved and where he lived most of his life was an exciting place. This newly developed suburb of New York City was planned, laid out, and built almost too fast; the bottom dropped out of the real estate market in 1904-1905. Harlem had broad boulevards, beautiful town houses, and exclusive apartment buildings-but no residents. Desperate to rent to anyone, many developers began to open Harlem to blacks, and by 1914 Harlem was a black city.

Its population almost exploded during the years of the First World War as blacks from the South moved north in search of better jobs and fuller citizenship--the beginning of what came to be known as the Great Migration. At the same time, because it was a port city, New York attracted a large influx of blacks from the West Indies and even Africa.

Meanwhile blacks enlisted in the armed forces in record numbers and distinguished themselves on the battlefield in Europe. They also too the sounds of ragtime and jazz to England and France, and caused a sensation.

After the war the combination of the Great Migration, the mix of cultures in Harlem, and a newfound sense of black unity and confidence produced a great burst of creativity. The black writer, educator, and intellectual Alain Locke described a new sense of Negro identity: " Here in Manhattan is not merely the largest Negro community in the world, but the first concentration in history so so many diverse elements of Negro life.... In Harlem, Negro life is seizing upon its first chances for groups expression and self-determination. It is--or promises at least to be--a race capital.

The October Revolution (Russian:, Oktyabrskaya revolyutsiya), also known as the Bolshevik Revolution, refers to a revolution as part of the Russian Revolution& that began with an armed insurrection in Petrograd (regarded by some as a coup d'état) traditionally dated to October 25, 1917 (November 7, N.S.).

It was the second phase of the overall Russian Revolution of 1917, after the February Revolution of the same year. The October Revolution overthrew the Russian Provisional Government and gave the power to the Soviets dominated by Bolsheviks. It was followed by the Russian Civil War (1917 1922) and the creation of the Soviet Union in 1922.

The October Revolution

The revolution was led by the Bolsheviks. Bolshevik troops began the takeover of government buildings on October 24; however October 25 was the date when the Winter Palace (the seat of the Provisional government located in Petrograd, then capital of Russia), was captured.

Except for the few far-sighted among them, the world's bankers, capitalists and war-profiteers paused only momentarily in their scramble for war booty. But the workers in the factories and the soldiers knee-deep in mud did not fail to register the tremors beneath their feet. For them, the events in Russia were a signal of hope, ushering in a new period of struggle of class against class instead of worker against worker. The soviet state became an inspiration and a call to arms for workers everywhere.

The Bolshevik Party was subjected to fierce repression in July: its papers banned, its leaders jailed or in hiding, all subjected to the slanderous accusation that they were "German agents". But by the end of October, the Party was in power, at the head of a mighty movement of the working class.

These titanic events, in just four short months, are a textbook demonstration of the sharp changes in the mood and political consciousness of the masses in a revolutionary situation. Although the Bolsheviks provided the necessary leadership - the subjective factor without which the October revolution would not have taken place - it was the elemental movement of the many-millioned Russian people that gave an unstoppable impetus to the revolution.

After the suppression of the Bolsheviks, reactionaries of all stripes and shadings began to raise their heads with new confidence and hope. Officers began to demand salutes, ignoring the soldiers' committees; factory owners in increasing numbers began to threaten to close their factories to break the power of the workers' committees. Thus, the ground was prepared for the attempted coup by General Kornilov.

But the reaction was not too deep and long lasting, and, before the Kornilov coup dissolved in ignominy, the workers' movement had already begun to recover. Even in late July, the Bolsheviks had begun to regain ground in the soldiers' meetings, in the navy, and in the workers' districts.

In reply to the capitalists' lockout a wave of strikes spread all over Russia, bringing into action for the first time completely fresh and untried layers of the working class. While the more experienced and battle-hardened sections of the workers bided their time - beginning to realize that a different, more serious struggle was necessary - others were catching up in their understanding of the class forces and the issues at stake.

The workers began to ponder over the slanders against the Bolsheviks: is it a coincidence, they asked, that the same people who exploited them and denounced their committees are also the loudest shouters about "German agents"?

The soldiers mulled over the same problems: why was it always the worst and most repressive officers who foamed at the mouth and went into apoplexy at the mention of Bolshevism?

The workers and soldiers knew that they themselves were not German spies and yet every action, every democratic demand, was denounced as "Bolshevism". There was hardly a factory or military unit that didn't have its "Bolshevik" who in reality had never been near the Party.


The mounting frustration of workers and soldiers erupted in July with several days of rioting on the streets, in what became known as the July Days. This event was sparked by the June offensive against Germany, in which War Minister Alexander Kerensky sent troops in a major attack on the Germans, only to be repelled. The July Days were also sparked by the workers' anger at their economic plight.

A group of 20,000 armed sailors from "Red Kronstadt,"the naval base on the island of Kronstadt located near St.Petersburg or Petrograd, as it was known, marched into Petrograd and demanded that the Soviet take power.

The capital was defenseless for two days. After suppressing the riots, the government blamed the Bolsheviks for encouraging the rebellion and many Bolshevik leaders, including Lenin and Grigory Zinoviev, were forced to go into hiding. Although the Bolshevik party had to operate semi-legally throughout July and August, its position on the far left end of the political spectrum was consolidated.

Radical anti-war social democrats, who had joined the Mezhraiontsy earlier in the year, merged with the Bolsheviks in August. Many of them, particularly Trotsky, Joffe and Konstantin Yurenev would prove vital to the Bolsheviks' eventual seizure of Petrograd.

The Kornilov Affair was another catalyst to Revolution. Alexander Kerensky, who held positions in both the Provisional Government and the Petrograd Soviet, felt he needed a trustworthy military leader. After appointing Lavr Kornilov, Kerensky soon accused Kornilov of trying to set up his own military dictatorship. It is still uncertain as to whether or not Kornilov did engineer a plot of this kind or not.

Kornilov, convinced Kerensky was acting under duress of the Bolsheviks, responded by issuing a call to all Russians to "save their dying land!" Unsure of the support of his army generals, Kerensky was forced to ask for help from other quarters- including the Bolshevik Red Guards, even providing them with arms. Kornilov's supposed attempt to seize power collapsed without bloodshed as his Cossacks deserted him. Kornilov and around 7,000 of his supporters were arrested.

1918 Europe was left in ruins

World War I, "The war that would end all wars.", had ended by 1918; Europe was left in ruins physically, politically, and economically. The years following the most devastating war to take place prior to the 1920s, Europe would struggle with economic and political recovery, but not the United States.

Left virtually unharmed by World War I, the United States was even able to experience a decade of peace and prosperity following such a disastrous war. Of the many reasons for America's prosperity, technology played one of the most vital parts in bringing the great economic and cultural prosperity that America experienced during the 1920s. New advancements, new discoveries, and new inventions improved American lives in many if not every conceivable way, but not without a few negative side-effects.

One of the first major inventions to become a national craze was the automobile. First developed with a combustion engine in 1896 by inventor Henry Ford, he later started the Ford Motor Company, which mass produced affordable auto-mobiles known as the Model-T. Ford's Model-Ts became such an overwhelming success that he sold over 15 million Model-Ts by 1927 (Gordon and Gordon 77).

By the end of the decade, there was almost one car per family in the United States As a result, the automobile became an increasingly important part of American lives. Workers no longer needed to live close to their workplace, instead they could live farther away and still arrive at their jobs with ease.

Home-makers could run errands with greater convenience. The overall increase in productivity and efficiency left the American people with more time for entertainment and recreation. Families could visit relatives on a constant basis, even distant relatives. The auto-mobile provided a perfect way for people, especially for adolescents, to socialize and make merry. The auto-mobile craze even came to a point where the back seat of a car replaced the parlour as a place for courtship and love.

Henry Ford, born July 30, 1863, was the first of William and Mary Ford's six children. He grew up on a prosperous family farm in what is today Dearborn, Michigan. Henry enjoyed a childhood typical of the rural nineteenth century, spending days in a one-room school and doing farm chores. At an early age, he showed an interest in mechanical things and a dislike for farm work.

In 1879, sixteen-year-old Ford left home for the nearby city of Detroit to work as an apprentice machinist, although he did occasionally return to help on the farm. He remained an apprentice for three years and then returned to Dearborn. During the next few years, Henry divided his time between operating or repairing steam engines, finding occasional work in a Detroit factory, and over-hauling his father's farm implements, as well as lending a reluctant hand with other farm work. Upon his marriage to Clara Bryant in 1888, Henry supported himself and his wife by running a sawmill.

In the grand scheme of things, the motor car hasn't really been around that long. It seems like a long time to some people because they aren't used to the idea that there was a time when cars weren't all over the place. They are too young to remember a time like that, but it happened. When Henry Ford brought out the first motor car it changed the world.

It set something into motion that is still moving forward today. Before that there were only wagons, horseback, and similar ways for people to travel on their own over long distances. People didn't do too much of that because it was very difficult for them and it could be unsafe and hard on the human body. The car changed everything, though, because it allowed people to go farther and faster (and in more comfort) than they could in the past.

It wasn't long before Ford started making more cars and they started to develop new features so that they were more reliable and more comfortable. Other companies got involved, too, so that Ford wasn't the only car manufacturer out there. Competition started up, and that was good for people who wanted cars - it kept prices lower and ensured that new features kept appearing on newer and better cars.


The decade of the 1920s is often characterized as a period of American prosperity and optimism. It was the "Roaring Twenties," the decade of bath tub gin, the model T, the $5 work day, the first transatlantic flight, and the movie. It is often seen as a period of great advance as the nation became urban and commercial (Calvin Coolidge declared that America's business was business).

The decade is also seen as a period of rising intolerance and isolation: chastened by the first world war, historians often point out that Americans retreated into a provincialism evidenced by the rise of the Ku Klux Klan, the anti- radical hysteria of the Palmer raids, restrictive immigration laws, and prohibition.

 So convinced were they that alcohol was the cause of virtually all crime that, on the eve of Prohibition, some towns actually sold their jails.

During the early 1800's, temperance societies offered two pledge options: moderation in drinking or total abstinence. After those who pledged the preferred total abstinence began writing "T.A." on their pledge cards, they became known as "teetotalers."

Although the temperance movement claimed Dr. Benjamin Rush (1745/46-1813) as one of its primary inspirations, he actually promoted moderation rather than prohibition. The temperance movement often had difficulty getting facts right.

Early temperance writers often insisted that because of their high blood alcohol content, "habitual drunkards" could spontaneously combust and burn to death from inside.

A temperance publication wrote of drinking parents who gave birth to small children with a "yen for alcohol so strong that the mere sight of a bottle shaped like a whiskey flask brought them whining for a nip."

One temperance "scientific authority" implied that inhaling alcohol vapors might lead to defective offspring for at least three generations.

1920s Dance marathons

Dance marathons began in New York in 1923, when Alma Cummings won a contest by dancing for 27 hours with six different partners. Marathons were popular during the Depression years of the 1930s, when unemployed people danced non-stop for many days to win money. The last couple standing won. Dancers were allowed only very short breaks and partners pinched and kicked each other to stay awake or tied themselves together to prevent one from falling down. Dance marathons were banned in many places because they were so dangerous for people’s health.

Mike Ritof and Edith Boudreaux danced from 29 August 1930 to 1 April 1931 at the Merry Garden Ballroom, Chicago, USA, to win a prize of $2,000. They danced for a total of 5,154 hours 28 minutes and 30 seconds (215 days) with only short rest breaks.

Bloody Sunday

Bloody Sunday was a day of violence on 21 November 1920 in Dublin, during the Irish War of Independence (1919 - 1921), which led to the deaths of more than 30 people.

The day began with the killing of fourteen of eighteen British agents of the Cairo Gang, or their informants, by the Irish Republican Army. Later that afternoon, British forces opened fire on the crowd at a Gaelic football match in Croke Park in north Dublin, killing 14 civilians. That same evening there were scattered shootings in the city streets, and three Irish prisoners in Dublin Castle were killed by their British captors under suspicious circumstances.

One of the most significant events to take place during the Irish War of Independence, which followed the formation of a unilaterally declared Irish Republic and its parliament, Dáil Éireann. The army of the republic, the Irish Republican Army waged a guerilla war against the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC), its auxiliary organisations and the British Army, who were tasked with suppressing Irish separatism.

In response to IRA actions, the British Government formed paramilitary forces to augment the RIC, the "Black and Tans" (a nickname arising from their mixture of uniforms), and the Auxiliary Division (generally known as the Auxiliaries or Auxies). The behaviour of both groups immediately became controversial (one major critic was King George V) for their brutality and violence towards not just IRA suspects and prisoners but Irish people in general. In Dublin, the war largely took the form of assassinations and reprisals on either side.

The events on the morning of 21 November were an effort by the IRA in Dublin, under Michael Collins and Richard Mulcahy to wipe out the British intelligence organisation in the city. It was the police that were responsible for the British reprisals on the afternoon of Bloody Sunday.

Early on the morning of 21 November, the IRA teams mounted the operation. Most of the killings occurred within a small middle-class area of south inner-city Dublin, with the exception of one shooting at the Gresham Hotel on O'Connell Street. At 28 Upper Pembroke Street, four agents were killed. At 22 Lower Mount Street, one British officer was killed and another narrowly escaped. The building was surrounded by Auxiliaries, alerted by the firing, and in the ensuing gun fight two Auxiliaries were killed and one IRA man, Frank Teeling, was wounded and captured

Future Irish Taoiseach, Seán Lemass was involved in the killing of a Captain Bagely, also on Mount Street, while in two further incidents on the same street three more British agents and one of their wives were killed. One wife was to give birth to a stillborn baby less than a week later. Only a few streets away, further shootings took place on Baggot Street, Fitzwilliam Square, Morehampton Road and Earlsfort Terrace.

In all, 14 people were killed and 6 wounded, including suspected agents and those with no connection to politics, and two Auxiliaries. Four of the British casualties were military intelligence officers and another four were Secret Service or MI5 agents. Only one Squad member was captured, Frank Teeling, and he managed to quickly escape from gaol. One more IRA man was slightly wounded in the hand.

However, out of the 35 people on Collins' hit list, only about a third had been killed. IRA man and future Irish politician, Todd Andrews recalled later, "the fact is that the majority of the IRA raids were abortive.

The men sought were not in their digs or in several cases, the men looking for them bungled their jobs"nevertheless the action terrified and crippled British intelligence in Ireland, causing many other agents and informers to flee for Dublin Castle, and caused consternation in the British administration.

Collins justified the killings in this way; "My one intention was the destruction of the undesirables who continued to make miserable the lives of ordinary decent citizens. I have proof enough to assure myself of the atrocities which this gang of spies and informers have committed.

If I had a second motive it was no more than a feeling such as I would have for a dangerous reptile. By their destruction the very air is made sweeter; For myself, my conscience is clear. There is no crime in detecting in wartime the spy and the informer. They have destroyed without trial. I have paid them back in their own coin.

The St. Valentines Day Massacre

The St. Valentines Day Massacre.

Probably the most publicized and talked about Mob event ever is the St. Valentines Day Massacre. Several movies have been made about it and numerous books have been published.
The North Side gang, led at the time by George 'Bugs' Moran, were being a major thorn in Al Capone's side. Capone finally decided he had had enough and, with the help of 'Machine Gun' Jack McGurn and others, hatched the plot that was to make murder history.

Capone had a gangster from Detroit set up a deal with Moran for a quantity of liquor that had been recently hijacked. Moran accepted the deal and arranged to take possession at a garage at 2122 North Clark Street on February 14th, 1929. Capone's friends from Detroit informed him of the arrangements and phase two of the plan went into effect. Capone's team acquired a police paddy wagon, either by theft or bribery, and police uniforms and proceeded to the garage on the morning of the 14th.

Two of the hit team dressed in the police uniforms, the others wore long coats and presumably looked like the detectives of the group. They pulled up to the front of the garage and all charged out and in to the building just as the police would have in a routine raid. Inside the garage were six members of Moran's gang (the old O'Banion gang) - Adam Meyer, John May, James Clark, Al Weinshank, the Gusenburg brothers, Frank and Pete and an optometrist Dr. Reinhardt Schwimmer who picked a bad day to visit.

The hit team had all seven men stand up and face the wall. The seven complied, expecting a pat down search for weapons and identification. Then two of Capone's men opened up with Thompson sub-machine guns, peppering each victim with numerous rounds from the .45 caliber weapon. The hoods disguised as cops then took the guns and marched the plain clothed gun men out of the garage with their hands raised as if they were under arrest. They all got into the police wagon and drove off. 

Alphonse Gabriel Capone

Alphonse Gabriel Capone (January 17, 1899 January 25, 1947), popularly known as Al Capone or Scarface, was an Italian American gangster who led a crime syndicate dedicated to the smuggling and bootlegging of liquor and other illegal activities during the Prohibition Era of the 1920s and 1930s.

The North Side Gang, also known as the North Side Mob, was the dominant Irish-American Mafia criminal organization (although a large number of Polish-Americans were members as well) within Chicago during the Prohibition era from the early to late 1920s and principal rival of the Johnny Torrio-Al Capone organization, later known as the Chicago Outfit.

At the stroke of midnight, on January 16th, 1920, America went dry. There wasn't a place in the country (including your own home) where you could legally have even a glass of wine with your dinner without breaking the law. The 18th Amendment, known as the Volstead Act, prohibited the manufacture, sale and possession of alcohol in America. Prohibition lasted for thirteen years.

Mob-controlled liquor created a booming black market economy. Gangster-owned speakeasies replaced neighbourhood saloons--and by 1925 there were over 100,000 speakeasies in New York City alone. Mob bosses opened plush nightclubs with exotic floor shows and the hottest bands. At Small's Paradise in Harlem , waiters danced the Charleston , carrying trays loaded down with cocktails.

Popular stars like Fred and Adele Astaire performed at The Trocadero. And at the Cotton Club, Duke Ellington led the house band as tap dancer Bojangles Robinson and jazz singer Ethel Waters packed the house in rural America , on Midwestern college campuses, kids drank "bathtub gin" and danced to the hot jazz of Bix and the Wolverines in lakeside pavilions.

 The Jazz Age

The Jazz Age is inextricably associated with the wealthy white "flappers" and socialites  White New Yorkers went "slumming" at jazz clubs in Harlem. Boosted by radio and the gramophone. The motion picture The Jazz Singer (1927) brought the music to the big screen in the first-ever "talkie," although the hero was the white performer Al Jolson in a black face make up.

And of course, the eventual repeal of the prohibition act in 1933 was seen by many as a signal that the first great domestic experiment of the twentieth century had failed; a factor that further pushed Al Capone and his bootlegging gangs into legendary status.

The term flapper first appears in Britain, though the etymology is disputed. It may be in reference to a young bird flapping its wings while learning to fly, or it may derive from an earlier use in northern England of flapper to mean "teenage girl" (whose hair is not yet put up), or "prostitute".

While many in the United States assumed at the time that the term flapper derived from a fashion of women wearing galoshes unbuckled so that they could show people their bodies as they walked, the term was already documented as in use in the United Kingdom as early as 1912. From the 1910s into the 1920s, flapper was a term for any impetuous teenage girl, often including women under 30. Only in the 1920s did the term take on the meaning of the flapper generation style and attitudes, while people continued to use the word to mean immature.

The Great Gatsby is a novel by the American author F. Scott Fitzgerald. First published on April 10, 1925, it is set on Long Island's North Shore and in New York City during the summer of 1922. It is a critique of the American Dream.

The novel takes place following the First World War. American society enjoyed unprecedented levels of prosperity during the "roaring" 1920s as the economy soared. At the same time, Prohibition, the ban on the sale and manufacture of alcohol as mandated by the Eighteenth Amendment, made millionaires out of bootleggers and led to an increase in organized crime. Although Fitzgerald, like Nick Carraway in his novel, idolized the riches and glamor of the age, he was uncomfortable with the unrestrained materialism and the lack of morality that went with it, a kind of decadence.

Although it was adapted into both a Broadway play and a Hollywood film within a year of publication, it was not popular upon initial printing, selling fewer than 25,000 copies during the remaining fifteen years of Fitzgerald's life. It was largely forgotten during the Great Depression and the Second World War.

After its republishing in 1945 and 1953, it quickly found a wide readership and is today widely regarded as a paragon of the Great American Novel, and a literary classic. The Great Gatsby has become a standard text in high school and university courses on American literature in countries around the world,  and is ranked second in the Modern Library's lists of the 100 Best Novels of the 20th Century.

F. Scott Fitzgerald The great gatsby

The Great Gatsby is a novel by the American author F. Scott Fitzgerald. First published on April 10, 1925, it is set on Long Island's North Shore and in New York City during the summer of 1922. It is a critique of the American Dream.

The novel takes place following the First World War. American society enjoyed unprecedented levels of prosperity during the "roaring" 1920s as the economy soared. At the same time, Prohibition, the ban on the sale and manufacture of alcohol as mandated by the Eighteenth Amendment, made millionaires out of bootleggers and led to an increase in organized crime. Although Fitzgerald, like Nick Carraway in his novel, idolized the riches and glamor of the age, he was uncomfortable with the unrestrained materialism and the lack of morality that went with it, a kind of decadence.

Although it was adapted into both a Broadway play and a Hollywood film within a year of publication, it was not popular upon initial printing, selling fewer than 25,000 copies during the remaining fifteen years of Fitzgerald's life. It was largely forgotten during the Great Depression and the Second World War.

After its republishing in 1945 and 1953, it quickly found a wide readership and is today widely regarded as a paragon of the Great American Novel, and a literary classic. The Great Gatsby has become a standard text in high school and university courses on American literature in countries around the world,  and is ranked second in the Modern Library's lists of the 100 Best Novels of the 20th Century.

Eddie Cantor

Eddie Cantor (January 31, 1892 - October 10, 1964) was an American comedian, singer, actor, songwriter. Familiar to Broadway, radio and early television audiences, this "Apostle of Pep" was regarded almost as a family member by millions because his top-rated radio shows revealed intimate stories and amusing anecdotes about his wife Ida and five children.

His eye-rolling song-and-dance routines eventually led to his nickname, Banjo Eyes, and in 1933, the artist Frederick J. Garner caricatured Cantor with large round and white eyes resembling the drum-like pot of a banjo. Cantor's eyes became his trademark, often exaggerated in illustrations, and leading to his appearance on Broadway in the musical Banjo Eyes (1941).

Cantor was born in New York City, the son of Russian Jewish immigrants, Meta and Mechel Iskowitz. The precise date of his birth is unknown. His mother died in childbirth one year after his birth, and his father died of pneumonia when Eddie was 2, leaving him to be raised by his beloved grandmother, Esther Kantrowitz. As a child, he attended Surprise Lake Camp. A misunderstanding when signing her grandson for school gave him her last name of Kantrowitz (shortened by the clerk to Kanter). Esther died on January 29, 1917, two days before he signed a long-term contract with Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. to appear in his Follies.
The Cantors in 1952.

He had adopted the first name "Eddie" when he met his future wife Ida Tobias in 1913, because she felt that "Izzy" wasn't the right name for an actor. Cantor married Ida in 1914. They had five daughters, Marjorie, Natalie, Edna, Marilyn and Janet, who provided comic fodder for Cantor's long-time running gag, especially on radio, about his five un-marriageable daughters. Several radio historians, including Gerald Nachman (Raised on Radio), have said that this gag did not always sit well with the girls.

He was the second president of the Screen Actors Guild, serving from 1933 to 1935. He invented the title "The March of Dimes" for the donation campaigns of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, which was organized to combat polio. It was a play on the The March of Time newsreels popular at the time. He began the first campaign on his own radio show in January 1938, asking people to mail a dime to the nation's most famous assumed polio victim, President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Other entertainers joined in the appeal via their own shows, and the White House mail room was deluged with 2,680,000 dimes.

Following the death of daughter Marjorie at the age of 44, both Eddie's and Ida's health declined rapidly. Ida died in August 1962 of "cardiac insufficiency." On October 10, 1964 in Beverly Hills, California, Eddie Cantor suffered another heart attack and died, aged 72. He was buried in Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery. Cantor was awarded an honorary Academy Award the year of his death for distinguished service to the film industry.

1920s montage

The accepted American order was certainly taking place during those early years of the Post-war Decade, but it was one with which Nikolai Lenin had nothing whatever to do. The shock troops of the rebellion were not alien agitators, but the sons and daughters of well-to-do American families, who knew little about Bolshevism and cared distinctly less, and their defiance was expressed not in obscure radical publications or in soap-box speeches, but right across the family breakfast table into the horrified ears of conservative fathers and mothers.

Men and women were still shivering at the Red Menace when they awoke to the no less alarming Problem of the Younger Generation, and realized that if the constitution were not in danger, the moral code of the country certainly was.

This code, as it currently concerned young people, might have been roughly summarized as follows: Women were the guardians of morality; they were made of finer stuff than men and were expected to act accordingly.

Young girls must look forward in innocence (tempered perhaps with a modicum of physiological instruction) to a romantic love match which would lead them to the altar and to living-happily-ever-after; and until the “right man” came along they must allow no male to kiss them.

It was expected that some men would succumb to the temptations of sex, but only with a special class of outlawed women; girls of respectable families were supposed to have no such temptations. Boys and girls were permitted large freedom to work and play together, with decreasing and well-nigh nominal chaperonage, but only because the code worked so well on the whole that a sort of honor system was supplanting supervision by their elders; it was taken for granted that if they had been well brought up they would never take advantage of this freedom.

And although the attitude toward smoking and drinking by girls differed widely in different strata of society and different parts of the country, majority opinion held that it was morally wrong for them to smoke and could hardly imagine them showing the effects of alcohol.

The war had not long been over when cries of alarm from parents teachers, and moral preceptors began to rend the air. For the boys an( girls just growing out of adolescence were making mincemeat of this code.

The dresses that the girls-and for that matter most of the older women were wearing seemed alarming enough. In July, 1920, a fashion-writer reported in the New York Times that “the American woman . . . has lifted her skirts far beyond any modest limitation,” which was another way of saying that the hem was now all of nine inches above the ground. It was freely predicted that skirts would come down again in the winter of 1920- 21, but instead they climbed a few scandalous inches farther.

The flappers wore thin dresses, short-sleeved and occasionally (in the evening) sleeveless; some of the wilder young things rolled their stockings below their knees, revealing to the shocked eyes of virtue a fleeting glance of shin-bones and knee-cap; and many of them were visibly using cosmetics. “The intoxication of rouge,” earnestly explained Dorothy Speare in Dancers in the Dark, “is an insidious vintage known to more girls than mere man can ever believe.” Useless for frantic parents to insist that no lady did such things; the answer was that the daughters of ladies were doing it, and even retouching their masterpieces in public. Some of them, furthermore, were abandoning their corsets. “The men won't dance with you if you wear a corset,” they were quoted as saying.

The first transatlantic radio news dispatches were broadcast to England from New Jersey . . . In Columbia, Missouri, fifty women attended the hanging of a Negro accused of assaulting a fourteen-year-old girl . . . The Senate voted a $5,000 annual pension to President Harding's widow . . . Henry Ford said no, he would not run against Calvin Coolidge for President . . . Thomas E. Dewey was graduated from the University of Michigan . . . Bad liquor killed fourteen persons during the New Year's celebration in York . . .

Dr. Ales Hrdlicka, a leading anthropologist, said that man did not descend directly from the ape we knew then but had his origin 400,000 years ago in Europe . . . Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan debated fundamentalism vs. evolution in the Chicago Tribune . . . The Equal Rights Amendment for Women was introduced in Congress and would go into the hopper every year thereafter before the House embraced it, 350 to 15, in 1970.

It can rightly be said that the 1920s ushered in the era of modern fashion. Women fashion for example, moved from the constricting fashions and into the era of short skirts and pants. Men fashion moved from the overly formal style to the wearing of sport clothes. In fact, even in the formal world, modern suits are still based on those worn in the late 20s.

With two distinct fashions emerging, the first running from 1920-25 and the other style, commonly associated with the roaring Twenties running from 1925-32, 1920s fashion had taken a turning point that would forever define fashion down to our time. 1920s fashion, as now, defined who people were and where they belonged in society. Clothes during that time were under heavy scrutiny and criticism especially from the feminists of the 20s who felt that revealing dress styles was not acceptable. Consider also another aspect of 1920s fashion. Fashion always has a political side at its core. The 1920s fashion had a political-like revolution.

The fact that clothes in the 1920s were readily available to any ‘regular' person was as a result of the Industrial Age automation apparently. Now that machines could make clothes faster and cheaper, this ushered in the ready-to-wear revolution that was never there before. The 1920s fashion of the elite in Paris, London and New York were producing low-cost attire and making them available even in rural farms and outposts of the Midwest. A ‘high-class' girl and a ‘Midwestern' girl from off the farm could now not be distinguished by their clothes.

The political statement that the 1920s fashion made set the world on fire and has continued to influence modern fashion down to our day. This can be seen in the ‘Roaring Twenties' styles that fashion designers have re-invented into their modern creations. The fact that this age of fashion gave even the regular people ‘style' which was uncommon in an age influenced by the Victorian status quo is one reason why the 1920s fashion is so inspiring.

It can thus be said that the 1920s fashion set the bar of classical style that we still live by. The idea that a woman had a sense of style and individuality had emerged and was reflected in the beauty and elegance of 20s clothing. The Roaring Twenties fashion is everywhere today. If you know what you are looking for, you will likely see the influence of the 1920s fashion the next time the red carpet is rolled and the likes of Nicole Kidman walk past it.

1920s shoes

The 1920s women's shoes caused quite a debacle among the society of the streets of those days because many pivotal and changing events took place leading up to the change of shoe wear for women as well as the dress of women. It was the 1920s women's shoes that were first seen by others as women generally dressed with their skirts right down to the ground and were often seen sweeping all around them as they walked. However, it was due to this very unwanted dirt on the skirt bottoms that provoked the new style as well as the cause for introducing the 1920s women's shoes.

It happened just before the 1920s women's shoes became popular, famous and widely controversial that the skirts of the women were raised just four inches from the floor. This change or desired change, grew panic and gasps from the men and other women in the general society but because of the horse faeces so commonly found, and walked through in the streets in those days, the women felt it was not only wanted by other women but it was imperative for the cleanliness of the skirt. Well four inches up reveals quite a lot more than a full-length skirt that covered feet and legs because now there was four inches of bare leg as well as exposing the feet.

The 1920s women's shoes had to be reinvented because there wasn't much significance put on women's shoes at that time, why would there be, they weren't seen except sitting in the porch. Now it was essential that the 1920s women's shoes be emphasized due to this change in attire and the number and types of shoes sky rocketed. Soon it was introduced in the realm of the 1920s women's shoes the still famous and often still worn shoe that was high heeled and had extremely pointy narrow toes.

These were highly criticized because of the terrible support and the very uncomfortable nature of shoes. The 1920s women's shoes had a full frontal attack released on them trying to discourage the sales of these shoes because they were terrible for the health for the feet and it isn't an old wives tale that tight shoes destroy character. They do and we know this today but in the era of the 1920s women's shoes, they choose fashion as first and comfort as dead last.

Fashion in the twenties of 20 century was brave and modern. Bare legs and opaque stockings were quickly becoming a norm, skirts were getting shorter and therefore shoes were clearly visible for the very first time. Women were not afraid to make a fashion statement, and footwear quickly became the new must-have accessory. Shoe designers of the 1920s were heavily influenced by the Art Deco movement.

Before Nicholas Kirkwood, before Jimmy Choo and Manolo Blahnik, a French man named Andre Perugia go to for show-stopping shoes. Indisputably, one of the most influential shoe designers of 1920s, he was known for his experimental designs. He used new, and often exotic materials for his masterpieces and was in constant pursuit of new, unseen-before shapes and forms.

Perugia was born in 1893, in Nice, France, when he was 16-year-old, he opened his own shoe shop, but it was after World War I that his creativity really took off. He had to work in an aircraft factory during the war, and the engineering knowledge he gathered there turned his vision for shoes and shoe design upside down. It inspired some of his most memorable and experimental designs, such as a series of shoes with aerodynamic heels in steel alloy, as well as the heelless shoe.

What makes Andre Perugia to be a true pioneer when it comes to shoe design is the fact that he saw and really understood that there is an intricate connection between the shoe, the heel and the body weight. He wanted the shoe to be comfortable as well as beautiful, saying "A pair of shoes must be perfect like an equation and adjusted to the millimeter like a motor piece." Many shoe designers of the 1920s are now forgotten, but one name still stands for the ultimate quality in footwear--Salvatore Ferragamo, the Italian fashion designer started his career when he was 9 years old as a shoemaker apprentice.

He moved to California at 16 to make cowboy boots, but quickly found success in making made-to- measure shoes for the Hollywood darlings of that time as well as for Warner Bros, Universal and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and became known as "The shoemaker to the stars". Mary Pickford, Marilyn Monroe and even Eva Peron were among his star-studded clientele. Ten years later he returned to Italy, Florence and started his own label designing shoes for the most powerful and rich people of that time.

When it comes to shoe design, Salvatore Ferragamo was a true visionary, his designs were more like objects of art, with uppers made of unusual but high-quality materials in shapes and forms that were revolutionary for that time, including bejewelled heels. He is credited with originating the wedge heel, platform shoes and metal support in high heels. His most famous invention is the "cage heel" shoe, and one of his most innovative one was the "invisible shoe." Andre Perugia and Salvatore Ferragamo were not the only shoe designers of the 1920s.

There were others whose names have disappeared over time or have been forgotten. However, it does not make them less important. Most of them were based in Paris, which was a shopping heaven at the time. These exclusive designers, known as "The Bottiers of Paris," designed exquisite shoes made out of the most deluxe materials. They used brocade, lace, painted silk, rhinestones and removable buckles and clasps. Amongst these designers were A Gillet, Sarkis del Balian and Julienne.

When most of us think of the era known as the roaring twenties we imagine what it must have been like to live during the time of flappers, silent movies, and prohibition. Motion pictures produced during this period pale technically in comparison to the films that show on our silver screen today. In the early part of the twenties, films were silent with the possible exception of a piano or organ being played live in the theater as a background to the picture.

This all changed with the debut of the Jazz Singer in 1927 starring famed entertainer, Al Jolsen. The most celebrated stars of the silent era were Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, and Greta Garbo. All three created magic on the silent screen and more than lived up to their legendary reputations made during the Golden Age of Hollywood. Deservedly, the most honored of these stars is Charlie Chaplin. The multi-talented Chaplin was both a wonderful actor and a brilliant director.

In 1914 Chaplin appeared in his very first silent film Making a Living and continued to make many more successful silent films until the invention of talkies. Chaplin disliked talking pictures, but successfully made the transition from silent to sound pictures. Not all silent era stars were able to successfully make the change. For many of them sound brought only silence. Buster Keaton was also very popular in both America and many other countries of the world. Keaton was recognized as a comedic actor, but like Chaplin was also a brilliant director.

His trademark was always demonstrating a stoic face no matter what the circumstances of a scene. His career began in 1917 playing a gag man and he co-stared in a great many movies including Cops(1920), The Play House(1921), and One Week(1920). The success of these movies and the publics love of his characterizations earned him a spot among the top three film stars of the silent era. Greta Garbo was the silent screens glamour queen and one of the most popular stars of both the silent and sound era.

Her most popular silent movies were made with co-star John Gilbert, whom she had an off-camera affair with that provided her a great deal of press. Audiences couldn't get enough of their romantic chemistry on screen, magazines couldn't stop writing about their affair, and gossip columnists had a field day reporting on their relationship.

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