The 1920’s Experience
Decades of Prosperity: the Twenties
Flapper Culture & Jazz (The 1920’s)
The Roaring Twenties
The Women’s Suffrage Movement & The 19th Amendment
Ahead of Their Time: A Brief History of Woman Suffrage in Illinois
Biography of Suffragists — very brief biographies
Created Equal: History of the Suffrage Movement
A History of the American Suffragist Movement
The History of the Suffrage Movement
The History of Women’s Suffrage
The Long Road to Suffrage
One Hundred Years Toward Suffrage — timeline
It was a time of conservatism, it was a time of great social change. From the
world of fashion to the world to politics, forces clashed to produce the most
explosive decade of the century.
In music, the three sounds were jazz, jazz, and jazz. The Jazz Age came
about with artist like Bessie Smith and Duke Ellington. Youth ruled
everything. From the young styles of dress to the latest celebrities. If it was
young, it was the thing.
It was the age of prohibition, it was the age of prosperity, and it was the age
of downfall. It was the age of everything, and you’ll find [almost] everything
here. Thank you for visiting our site.
People: Al Capone and Charles Lindbert
Events Stockmarket Crash….October 1929…
Thursday, October 24, 1929 has the dubious honor of being called Black Thursday because it was on this day that the New York Stock Exchange crashed,
heralding the end of the "Roaring Twenties" and the beginning of the Great Depression. We’ve all read about it in the history books, but what was it like for the
people of the time? What did they see in the newspaper when it happened? What did they see that might have warned them of the impending trouble — or worse,
might have helped cause it??
[In the 1920’s, things were really rocking in the US and around the world. The rapid increase in industrialization was fueling growth in the economy, and technology
improvements had the leading economists believing that the uprise would continue. During this boom period, wages increased along with consumer spending, and
stock prices began to rise as well. Billions of dollars were invested in the stock market as people began speculating on the rising stock prices and buying on margin.
The enormous amount of unsecured consumer debt created by this speculation left the stock market essentially off-balance. Many investors, caught up in the race to
make a killing, invested their life savings, mortgaged their homes, and cashed in safer investments such as treasury bonds and bank accounts. As the prices
continued to rise, some economic analysts began to warn of an impending correction, but they were largely ignored by the leading pundits. Many banks, eager to
increase their profits, began speculating dangerously with their investments as well. Finally, in October 1929, the buying craze began to dwindle, and was followed
by an even wilder selling craze.
On Thursday, October 24, 1929, the bottom began to fall out. Prices dropped precipitously as more and more investors tried to sell their holdings. By the end of
the day, the New York Stock Exchange had lost four billion dollars, and it took exchange clerks until five o’clock AM the next day to clear all the transactions.
By the following Monday, the realization of what had happened began to sink in, and a full-blown panic ensued. Thousands of investors — many of them ordinary
working people, not serious "players" — were financially ruined. By the end of the year, stock values had dropped by fifteen billion dollars.
Many of the banks which had speculated heavily with their deposits were wiped out by the falling prices, and these bank failures sparked a "run" on the banking
system. Each failed bank, factory, business, and investor contributed to the downward spiral that would drag the world into the Great Depression.
The flapper, whose antics were immortalized in the cartoons of John Held Jr., was the heroine of the Jazz Age. With short
hair and a short skirt, with turned-down hose and powdered knees – the flapper must have seemed to her mother (the gentle
Gibson girl of an earlier generation) like a rebel. No longer confined to home and tradition, the typical flapper was a young
women who was often thought of as a little fast and maybe even a little brazen. Mostly, the flapper offended the older
generation because she defied conventions of acceptable feminine behavior. The flapper was "modern." Traditionally,
women’s hair had always been worn long. The flapper wore it short, or bobbed. She used make-up (which she might well
apply in public). And the flapper wore baggy dresses which often exposed her arms as well as her legs from the knees
down. However, flappers did more than symbolize a revolution in fashion and mores – they embodied the modern spirit of
the Jazz Age. For more information, check out these other related websites.
Costumes / Fashion
Men: Clothing for men became a bit more conservative in the 1920s. Trouseres widened to as wide as 24 inches at the
bottomes. Knickers grew in width and length and were called ‘plus fours’. White linen was popular during the summer.
And during the winter, an outstanding American coat was popular – the racoon coat. These were very popular with the
college men. The slouch hat was made of felt and could be rolled up and packed into a suitcase. A wool suit was only
$15.85. Garters were 40 cents. All this and a 12" long cigarette holder. Cigarettes were 10 cents a pack.
Women: By 1921 the longer skirt was back – some long and uneven at the bottom. The short skirt was popular by 1925.
This period was called the Flapper Age. No bosom, no waistline, and hair nearly hidden under a cloche hat. This decade
began the present hey-dey for the manufacturing of cosmetics. Powder, lipstick, rouge, eyebrow pencil, eye shadow,
colored nails. They had it all!
This period marked the spread of ready-to-wear fashion. More women were wage earners and did not want to spent time
on fittings. The status symbol aspect of fashion was losing its importants as class distinctions were becoming blurred.
Inexpensive fashion became available. America moved ahead of other countries mass production of contemporary style
clothing for women. America even produced several designers of this fashion including Jane Derby.
Researched by Wilbur Bush