Wiley politicians. Stock market roller coasters.
A youth culture obsessed with new kinds of music and entertainment.
Sound familiar? No, it’s not 2020—it’s the 1920’s. It’s been called “the first modern
decade”—the first time more Americans were living in cities than on the farm, buying up consumer goods,
and devouring what would come to be known as “pop culture”.
Explore some of the real-life people and events that turn up in THE GALLERY.
The Birth of Buying Stuff
For the first time, people could buy cars and household goods on credit, and advertising became an art form. People responded with a buying frenzy. Click through this slideshow of advertising from the Jazz Age . . .
What was the Crash of 1929?
America's spending spree led to a very big bill to pay. But before Black Tuesday, there was the "mini" crash of March 25, 1929. Scroll through this timeline to see how the events unfolded . . .
Going to the "Pictures"
By the late 1920's, films like Steamboat Willie and The Jazz Singer ushered in the world of talkies--and made silent movies obsolete . . .
Hoover vs. Smith
A contentious campaign that split the country, pitted personalities, and whipped up conflict around values and immigration. Sound familiar?
Meet Isabella Stewart Gardner
This formidable Gilded Age art collector was a model for the character Rose in THE GALLERY.
Meet Helen Clay Frick
Another model for Rose, Helen Clay Frick managed the art collection of her father, industrialist Henry Frick.
Meet Zelda Fitzgerald
Her outrageous antics defined the "flapper," yet covered a downward spiral of pain.
Meet Dorothy Parker
This New Yorker writer became the voice of the decade.
What did the 1920's sound like?
Check out this playlist of 1920's jazz classics, including the music of Duke Ellington (above).
Meet Sacco and Vanzetti
Did they or didn't they? Even today, it's unclear whether this pair was guilty of the crime for which they were executed. Either way, the case became the country's most famous example of anti-immigrant prejudice . . .
Who lived on Fifth Avenue?
Most of Manhattan's "Millionaire Mile" was built up during the Gilded Age around the turn of the 20th century. By the 1920's, plenty of millionaires remained--but high-rises were moving in. Here are some of the palaces lost to the building boom . . .
What was Vaudeville?
By 1875, it was the most popular entertainment in America. But by the 1920's, it was dying out as people flocked to moving pictures or stayed home to listen to the radio. Learn more about this American art form . . .
What was Tin Pan Alley?
If you can hum a tune from the early 20th century, chances are it was born on West 28th Street . . .
Meet William Randolph Hearst
Publishing titan, politician, father of yellow journalism--this is the model for THE GALLERY'S J. Archer Sewell.
Meet Arnold Rothstein
In the time of Prohibition, gangsters like Rothstein made a fortune through various illegal schemes. He is (coincidentally?) the Sewells' neighbor in THE GALLERY.