BROWSE DECADES
   
 

1920's

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Events of the Decade:

Prohibition in US
Famine in China; Nationalist government established
Fascists under Mussolini vs. Socialists in Italy
Irish Rebellion leads to establishment of Irish Free State
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics established
Cyprus becomes British Crown Colony, Turkey, Albania and Greece Republics, Mongolia independent
Cars licensed in America: 8,887,000; Britain 663,000
Populations in millions
1921 - 1926:
U.S.S.R. 136 - 148
U.S. 107 - 115
Japan 78 - 85
Germany 60 - 64
Britain 42.7 - 45
France 29.2 - 41
Italy 38.7 - 40

Who's 'In':

President Woodrow Wilson
President Warren G. Harding
President Calvin Coolidge
President Herbert Hoover
Charlie Chaplin
Emily Post and her etiquette books
Football player Harold "Red" Grange
Margaret Mead
Chess champs Raul Capablanca and Alexander Alekhine
Baseball players Babe Ruth, Rogers Hornsby, Ty Cobb
Rin Tin Tin
Rudolph Valentino
British PM's: Andrew Bonar Law, Stanley Baldwin, James Ramsay MacDonald
Child protégé fiddler Yehudi Menuhin
Architect Buckminster Fuller
Emperor Hirohito
German President Paul von Hindenberg
René Lalique
Golfer Bobby Jones
Josephine Baker in Paris
Red Grange "the Galloping Ghost"
Helen Wills
Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks
Clarence Darrow
Tennis star Bill Tilden
Pilots Charles A. Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart
Benito Mussolini
Sonia Henie, ice-skating star
Al Jolson
Chiang Kai-shek
Josef Stalin
Marilyn Miller
Gertrude Ederle
Eddie Cantor
Antarctic Explorer Admiral Byrd
Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks
Paul Whiteman and his band
Paul von Hindenberg, President of Germany

Who Died:

180,000 in landslide in Kansu Province, China
142,807 in killer earthquake in Japan
Singing castrati
3 million in drought and 100,000 in China earthquake
Smallpox and Cholera kills 1.3 million in India
Fatty Arbuckle's career in movies after false rape accusation
450 in L.A. dam burst
35 dead, 130 wounded in Wall Street Bomb explosion
689 in Midwest tornado, 28 in Chicago tornado
Robert Edwin Peary, 64
Camille Saint-Saëns, 86
Ernest Shackleton, 48
Alexander Graham Bell, 75
Marcel Proust, 51
Sergei Diaghilev, 57
President Warren G. Harding, 57
Katherine Mansfield, 35
Wilhelm von Röntgen, 78
Sarah Bernhardt, 77
Gustave Eiffel, 91
Claude Monet, 66
Harry Houdini, 52
Nikolai Lenin, 54
Woodrow Wilson, 67
Eleonora Duse, 64
Anatole France, 79
Giacomo Puccini, 66
Sun Yat-sen, 58
Queen Alexandra, 80
Rudolph Valentino, 31
Thomas Hardy, 87
Douglas, Earl Haig, 66
H.H. Asquith, Earl of Oxford & Asquith, 75
Ellen Terry, 80
Roald Amundsen, 56
Wyatt Earp
Pope Benedict XV
Modigliani, 36
Lillie Langtry, 75
Eddie Foy
Marshal Ferdinand Foch
Louis Phillippe-Robert duc d"Orleans
Hermann Rorschach
Carl Benz
Luther Burbank
Victor Herbert
Franz Kafka
Georges Feydeau
Lillian Russell
Mary Cassatt, 69
Emmeline Pankhurst
Pancho Villa
William Jennings Bryan
Enrico Caruso, 48
Joseph Conrad
Sacco and Vanzetti
Isadora Duncan, 59
Marie Lloyd
King Ludwig III Bavaria
John Reed
Bat Masterson
Annie Oakley
George Clemenceau
John Wanamaker

Bad Guys:

Al Capone
Frank Nitti
Bugs Moran
Eight Chicago White Sox baseball players indicted for throwing the World Series
Secretary of Interior Albert Fall in Teapot Dome Scandal
Murderers Leopold and Loeb and Sacco and Vanzetti
Murderess Ruth Snyder
British for imprisoning Mohandas Gandhi
Flatheads gang
Murderer of 12 women - Henry Desire Landru and German mass murderer (26) Fritz Haarmann
Ku Klux Klan rampages in South
The term "apartheid" first used

What's 'In':

THE ROARING 20"S
THE JAZZ AGE
New Cars: Duesenberg, Chrysler, Imperial, Lincoln, Plymouth, Rolls Royce, Ford's new Model A
Boilermakers (whiskey with a beer chaser)
The flapper, the "It" girl
American cocktails in Europe
Leica cameras
The grappling crane redemption game at arcades
Water skiing invented in France
First outdoor neon sign in Los Angeles for Packard cars
Kodak's 16mm color movie film
The Tommy Gun
Aluminum outdoor furniture
First airmail flights
Chef Boy-ar-dee spaghetti dinners
The Hair-dryer
Simmons "Beautyrest" mattresses
Ouija boards
Popeye the sailor man
Tarzan
The big-band music of Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong
Milky Way candy bars
The League of Nations
Nursery schools in the U.S.
Thompson's sub-machine gun
BBC in England, NBC and CBS in America
Dancing the slow fox trot
A birth control clinic in New York
First air-conditioned office building
Harlem Globetrotters
Mah Jong
New dance crazes - the Charleston, Black Bottom, Shimmy, and Rumba.
Crossword puzzle books
Crop-dusting with airplanes
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
Eskimo Pie ice cream bars and Popsicles
Flagpole sitting
Winter Olympics
Ethyl gasoline
gas chamber executions
Burial chamber of King Tut opened by Howard Carter
19th Constitutional Amendment - Women can vote.
Madame Tussauds waxworks opens in London.
First Commercial Airline: KLM
Lincoln Memorial in D.C.
Early television demonstrations
Scopes "Monkey Trial"
Ku Klux Klan
Pee-wee golf
Radio! Sports, news, election results and even commercials!
First Kleenix (called Celluwipes)
Miss America contests
Discovery of King Tut's Tomb
America's first motel
Johnson & Johnson's band-aids
New inventions: Gas refrigerator, Mr. Schick's electric shaver, iron lung respirator, automatic changer for record players, machine to roll ice cream cones, Ink paste, the self-winding wristwatch, foam rubber, wall-mounted can openers, the golf tee, the whistling teakettle

Entertainment:

George White's Scandals
"Showboat,", "Roberta," "Sally," by Jerome Kern
The Ziegfeld Follies
George Bernard Shaw's "Back to Methuselah," "St. Joan," and "the Apple Cart"
Eugene O"Neill's "Beyond the Horizon," "The Emperor Jones," "Anna Christie," (Pulitzer winner), "The Hairy Ape," "All God's Chillun Got Wings," "Desire Under the Elms," "The Great God Brown," "Lazarus Laughed," "Marco Millions,"
Elmer Rice "The Adding Machine" and "See Naples and Die"
Irving Berlin's Music Box Revues and "Cocoanuts"
The Greenwich Village Follies
Artists and Models Revues
Rudolf Friml's "Rose Marie" and "The Vagabond King"
Sigmund Romberg's "Blossom Time," "The Student Prince" "The Desert Song"
Ed Wynn as "The Perfect Fool"
George Gershwin's "Lady be Good," "Oh Kay!" "Funny Face," "Strike Up the Band"
Cole Porter's "Fifty Million Frenchmen"
Rodgers and Hart musicals inc. "A Connecticut Yankee"
"No, No, Nanette"
Noël Coward's "The Vortex," "Hay Fever," "Bitter Sweet"
Jean Giraudoux's "Amphitryon 38"
Sean O"Casey's "Juno and the Paycock," "The Plough and the Stars," "The Silver Tassel"
Franz Lehár's operetta "Frasquita"
Brecht and Kurt Weill's "The Threepenny Opera"

Movies:
First Academy Awards to "Wings" and "The Broadway Melody"
Chaplin's "The Kid," "The Gold Rush," "The Circus,"
Buster Keaton's "The General"
Fritz Lang's "Metropolis"
Also "The Last of the Mohicans," Eisenstein's "Battleship Potempkin," "The Ten Commandments," "Ben Hur" with Ramon Navarro, John Barrymore in "Don Juan," "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" Rudolph Valentino's movie "The Sheik"
Douglas Fairbanks swashbucklers: "The Mark of Zorro," "Robin Hood," "The Thief of Baghdad"
The Marx Brothers in "Cocoanuts"
The first talkie 1927 - "The Jazz Singer" with Al Jolson
First Technicolor film, "On With the Show"
Disney's first "Mickey Mouse" film "Steamboat Willie"
Grauman's Chinese Theatre opens in L.A
Warner Brothers, Columbia Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn- Mayer (MGM) founded

Radio:
"Grand Ole Opry," "Amos and Andy

Music:

Stravinsky's ballets "Pulcinella" and "Le Chant du Rossignol" and his opera "Mavra," wind octet, "Capriccio"
Ralph Vaugham Williams 3rd Symphony ("Pastoral")
Prokofiev's opera "Love of Three Oranges"
Puccini's opera "Turandot"
Alban Berg's opera "Wozzeck" and Chamber Concerto
Sibelius's Symphony No. 6 in D minor
Paul Hindemith's opera "St. Susanna," song cycle "Das Marienleben,"
Maurice Ravel's sonata for violin and cello, "Bolero,"
Bartók's "Dance Suite"
George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue," "An American in Paris"
Aaron Copland's Symphony No. 1
Dmitry Shostakovich 1st Symphony
Arturo Toscanini directs New York Philharmonic
Hit Songs:
Ain't We Got Fun
Look for the Silver Lining
I"m Just Wild About Harry
"Way Down Yonder in New Orleans
Yes, We Have No Bananas
California, Here I come
If You Knew Suzie, Like I Know Susie
I"m Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover
Happy Days are Here Again

Literature:

Random House, Simon & Schuster, The Book-of-the- Month Club and Literary Guild are founded
Franz Kafka's "The Country Doctor," "The Trial," "The Castle"
"Mein Kampf" Vol. 1 & 2 by Adolf Hitler
"Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" by Anita Loos
Theodore Dreiser "An American Tragedy"
Hermann Hesse "Siddhartha," "Steppenwolf"
Kahlil Gibran "The Prophet"
Carl Sandburg's "Abraham Lincoln," "Rootabaga Stories," "The American Songbag"
Steven Vincent Benet's "John Brown's Body"
W.B. Yeats "The Tower"
William Faulkner's "Soldier's Pay," "The Sound and the Fury"
Jean Cocteau "Les Enfants Terribles"
"The Bridge of San Luis Rey" by Thorton Wilder
André Gide "Si le grain ne meurt"
P.G. Wodehouse "Carry on, Jeeves," "Leave it to Psmith"
Virginia Woolf, "Mrs. Dalloway," To the Lighthouse," "Orlando" and "A Room of One's Own"
E.M. Forster "A Passage to India"
Katherine Mansfield "Bliss," "The Garden Party"
Collette's "Chéri"
John Galsworthy, "In Chancery," "The White Monkey," "To Let"
Thomas Mann's "The Magic Mountain"
e.e. cummings, "Enormous Room"
Agatha Christie "The Mysterious Affair at Styles"
Aldous Huxley "Crome Yellow," "Those Barren Leaves," "Point Counter Point"
D.H. Lawrence "Women in Love," "Aaron's Rod," "Kangaroo" "The Plumed Serpent," "Lady Chatterley's Lover,"
Upton Sinclair "Boston," "Oil!"
T.E. Lawrence "Seven Pillars of Wisdom"
Somerset Maugham "The Casuarina Tree"
A.A. Milne "Winnie the Pooh," "The House at Pooh Corner"
F. Scott Fitzgerald "Tales of the Jazz Age," "The Great Gatsby," "This Side of Paradise"
Sinclair Lewis's "Main Street," "Babbitt," "Elmer Gantry," and "Dodsworth"
Erich Maria Remarque "All Quiet on the Western Front"
Thomas Wolfe "Look Homeward, Angel"
T.S. Eliot "The Waste Land"
James Joyce's "Ulysses"
John dos Passos "Three Soldiers"
Ernest Hemingway "Men Without Women," "A Farewell to Arms" "The Sun Also Rises"
Herman Melville's "Billy Budd" (posthumous publication)
Sherwood Anderson "Poor White"

Art:

Expressionism - Kandinsky, Klee, Kirchner
Renaissance of art in Weimar, Germany, with Kandinsky, Gropius, Breuer, Josef Albers
Surrealist movement; Salvador Dali joins group
Dalí's "Illumined Pleasures"
Museum of Modern Art opens in NY with works by Cézanne, Gauguin, Seurat and Van Gogh
De Stijl in Amsterdam
Stuart Davis" "Eggbeater" series, "Lucky Strike"
Mondrian's "Compositions, "Compositon with Yellow and Blue"
Man Ray's "Clock Wheels"
Marcel Duchamp "Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors," "The Green Box"
Edward Hopper's "House by the Railroad"
Matisse's "The Odalisque," "Seated Odalisque," "Figures with Ornamental Background" "Harmony in Yellow"
Modigliani's "Reclining Nude"
Paul Klee's "The Fish," "The Machine Song," "Fool in a Trance," "Flowers and Fruit," "Singer of Comic Opera," "Dance You Monster," "
Max Beerbohm "Rosetti and his Circle"
Jacob Epstein's sculptures "Rima," "The Duke of Marl- borough" "The Visitation," "Madonna and Child," "Paul Robson," and "Night and Day"
Augustus John's portraits of "Thomas Hardy," "Lady Ottoline Morrell,"
Marc Chagall's 85 etchings "Dead Souls," 100 etchings "Fables of La Fontaine," paintings "Lover's Bouquet" "Wedding," and "The Drinking Green Pig"
Joan Miró's "The Farm," "The Harlequin's Carnival," "Dog Barking at the Moon," "Dutch Interior"
Georges Braque "Still Life with Guitar," "Glass and Fruit"
Fernand Léger "Three Women," "The Tugboat"
Picasso's "Three Musicians," "Seated Woman," "Three Dancers," "Woman in Armchair"
Maurice Utrillo's "Ivry Town Hall," "Country Church"
Henry Moore sculptures inc. "Draped reclining figure"
Edvard Munch "Girl on a Sofa"
Georgia O"Keefe "American Radiator Building," "Dark Corn," "Black Flowerand Blue Larkspur
Jacques Lipchitz's sculpture "Arlequin et Guitare"
Max Ernst "Two Children are Menaced by a Nightingale"
Vuillard's painting of his wife in dining room
Kokoschka's "Tower Bridge" and "Terrace in Richmond"
Rene Magritte's "The Difficult Crossing," "The Six Elements," "Attempting the Impossible"

Fashion & Beauty:

Chanel No. 5
Men:
Bow ties
Double-breasted suits, especially flannel
Baggy "Oxford" trousers
Trilby hats
Striped ties
Pleated pants
Broad lapels
Women:
Tubular look without corsets and waistlines
Rising hemlines
Pearls at neck popular again
Short skirts above knees
The "Flapper" look with short hair
Fashion sweaters
Pleated skirts
Two-toned shoes
Fancy handbags
Drop earrings
Heart-shaped lips
Mascara is "in"
So are plucked eyebrows
"Cloche" hats (first 1924)

Media:

Time and Tide
Time Magazine founded by Henry Luce
The Adelphi
The Transatlantic Review
The New Yorker Magazine founded by Harold Ross
Soviet news agency Tass
Reader's Digest
Comic strips "Buck Rogers" and "Tarzan"
First newspaper chain - Scripps-Howard
Commercial radio stations (KDKA Pittsburgh #1)
NBC Radio Network and CBS founded
BBC chartered
First sports broadcasts and live musical performances on radio

Money:

Stock market booms!
Ford Model T $355 reducing to $290 gives way to Model A @ $385
Chevy $525
Expensive Chrysler - $1,500
Child protégé violinist Yehudi Menuhin paid $5,000 per concert
Hyperinflation in Germany; prices rise 300% per month in 1922-23; value of mark drops to 10,000 million to 1Ł!; economic system collapses on Black Friday, 1927
First Sales Tax in West Virginia and cigarette tax in Iowa
Bank crisis in Japan
Gainsborough's "Blue Boy"
and Reynolds "Portrait of Sarah Siddons" sold for Ł200,000 for the two
Brazil's economy collapses due to overproduction of coffee
Gold standard "in" in Britain, Sweden, France
C R A S HHHHHH!!!

Religion:

Presbyterian Churches in Scotland unite to form Church of Scotland
Vatican City created as an independent sovereign state within the city of Rome
Pope Pius XI
Buddhism introduced to China by T"ai-hsu
Joan of Arc canonized

Science:

Chemical fumigators and insecticides
Vinyl invented by Waldo Lonsbury Semon
Discovery of skeletons of Peking Man (Sinanthropus)
Insulin injections for diabetics and tuberculosis vaccine
Germanin discovered to help sleeping sickness victims
Mesozoic dinosaur skulls and skeletons discovered
Use of photography in astronomy - Wolf shows structure of Milky Way
Rorschach inkblot tests for mental illness
Vitamins B and B2 isolated
Liver extract used for treating pernicious anemia
Research into genetics and radiation
Tomb of Tutenkamen discovered by Howard Carter
Alexander Fleming discovers penicillin
Big-Bang theory claims that universe began with huge explosion
Techniques in brain surgery by Harvey Cushing

New Slang Words:

23 skiddoo
Women: broad, bunny, canary, dame, charity girl (prostitute)
Someone is a "captain of industry"
Someone is the cat's meow, cat's whiskers, cat's pajamas
Drugstore cowboy
Someone has the heebie jeebies
A blunt instrument
Something is spot on
Something is a flash in the pan
Take it or leave it
Act your age
Ain't love grand...?
Confucius say...
Ditto
Do what comes naturally
Don't take any wooden nickels
Fair enough
He couldn't hit the broad side of a barn
How high is up?
How's it going?
I wouldn't kick her out of bed
I"m with you, pal
It's only human nature
Keep your fingers crossed
Keep your nose clean
Monkey see, monkey do
Name your poison
No dice
To get hep
That's one for the books
Put in a good word for me
Stand up and be counted
Stop me if you"ve heard this one
Take a bow!
That rings a bell
That's par for the course
Things are looking up
What you see is what you get
What's on your mind?
Where have you been all my life?
X marks the spot
Yes, we have no bananas
You and me both
You asked for it, buster
You can say that again
You can't take it with you
Your guess is as good as mine
You have a one-track mind
To fall all over oneself
Your slip is showing
To go bonkers (nuts)
For crying out loud!
Go fly a kite
To be all wet
Makin" whoopee
To fantasize about something
Something is in the bag
Prison: "Big House"
Excellent: Copacetic
Vomit: "Upchuck"
Woman: "Broad"
Recorded music: "canned"
Legs: "gams"
Bad advice: "Bum Steer"
Improvise: "To fake it"
Genuine: "Real McCoy"
New words added to Collins Dictionary:
Robot
Chaplinesque
Gigolo
Spoonerism
Surrealism
British Summer Time
Television
Talkie
Penicillin
Maginot Line

 

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An introduction to History by Decades by Larry Belling. More...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

       
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