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1920s Domestic Culture -- Class Created 2011

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Jordan Taylor

on 18 March 2016

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Transcript of 1920s Domestic Culture -- Class Created 2011

Ethel Waters was the first African American woman to sing on the radio and appear on television, to perform at the Palace Theater in N.Y, in a network radio series and in an integrated broadway show. She was born in 1896 in Pennsylvania and died in 1977 in California. In the course of 60 years, she pursued her successive career as a blue singer, a jazz singer, a musical comedy star, a dramatic actress and a gospel singer. Her career epitomized the African American’s struggle for racial equalities during the first three quarters of 20th century. She had a difficult childhood in which she dropped out of school in sixth grade and started to do menial works. She was spotted by members of a vaudeville team at the age of 21 and started her career. She moved to New York after touring in vaudeville shows as a singer and a dancer. She published some records and became more of a pop singer in the early 1920s; She performed a number of revenues in the rest of the decade and had become a big star on broadway by the end of 1930s.
1920s
Jack Dempsey
Harry Houdini
Duke Ellington
Mina Loy
Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle
Charlie Chaplin
Buster Keaton
Harold Lloyd
Sacco and Vanzetti
Paul Strand
Al Jolson and the
Jazz Singer
Henry Ford
Bathtub Gin
Bessie Smith
Mah jongg
Flag -Pole Sitting
Georgia O'Keefe
Scopes Monkey Trial
(Clarence Darrow)
Walt Disney
W.C. Fields
Clara Bow and the it Girl
(Elinor Glyn)
Louis Armstrong
Jelly Roll Morton
Ethel Waters
D.W. Griffith
Mary Pickford
Aaron Douglas
Justice
Harlem
Renaissance
Films
Business and
technology
Art
Ethel Waters
Jessie Redmon Fauset
Pop Culture
Gertrude "Ma" Rainey
The Charleston
Jean Toomer
Duke Ellington was an American Jazz Musician (1899-1974) His genre of music was known as Jazz, but Ellington transformed this kind of Jazz into a very sophisticated kind of Jazz. He was already a gifted Piano player, however his game changing component of his work was his always talented orchestra. He started playing music publicly in Washington D.C. in 1917. His different and more complex look on jazz was called “American Music” by him and his followers. He moved from D.C. to playing in Philly and Atlantic City. He played in clubs such as the Cotton Club where his ensemble moved up to 11 people. Ellington supplied bands for the wealthy upper part of Virginia. After classical musicians compared his compositions favorably to those of the French Impressionists, he began to create extended concert works, including Creole Rhapsody and Reminiscing in Tempo.
Bessie Smith was one of the most iconic jazz singers of the 1920's and 1930's. Often referred to as the "empress of blues", she was the highest paid African American singer of her time. Bessie was born in Chattanooga Tennessee in 1894. Her siblings raised her because her parents both died when she was very young. She began singing on street corners to earn money, and eventually worked in a traveling road show with Ma and Pa Rainey. Ma Rainey was an important mentor in helping Bessie start her career. In 1923 Bessie recorded her first record with Columbia records. It contained the songs "Downhearted Blues" and "Gulf-Coast Blues". The record was a hit, and sold 780,000 copies in the first six months that it was released. Her career took off from there, and Bessie became hugely popular among both blacks and whites. In 1937, Bessie was tragically killed in a car accident at age 43.Today she is still remembered as one of the greatest blues singers of all time.
Al Jolson (Asa Yoelson) was born on May 6, 1886 in Lithuania. Jolson’s family moved to the United States in 1894. Al Jolson completely altered the nature of early 20th century performance style. His dedication, excitement and, exuberance made him one of America’s most legendary and memorable performers. Some of the factors that played to Jolson’s penchant for performance were formed by his Jewish religion and his Dad’s successful performing career. He aAaand his brother Harry sang on the streets of Washington, DC to earn money for the theatre, and this is where Al Jolson truly discovered his wish of performing. In 1900 Al Jolson moved to the “Big Apple” to pursue his dreams. Jolson followed one of the many movements of the early 1900’s in moving to a big city for job opportunities and entertainment aspiring dreams. His first job was performing for Israel Zangwill’s Children of the Ghetto, playing a mobster. Looking to improve his act, Jolson left his brother’s band and worked for clubs in San Francisco, California. His spontaneous and new development of musical culture was greatly appreciated by those who listened to Jolson. This new “Southern Style” began with his black and white colored face and musical interpretations that were praised around the world. Al Jolson’s greatest attribute was the relationship he had with his audience based on relaxed and emotional understandings, within his “sentimental song delivery.” Jolson’s six-week tour throughout the U.S defined him as the “One Man Show or, Greatest Entertainer of All Time.”
D.W.Griffith, a transcendent American filmmaker, was born at Crestwood, Oldham county, Kentucky. He was a director-producer who invented much of the basic technical grammar of modern cinema. He became an actor at the age of 18 in Louisville. In 1913 Griffith founded an independent company and completed his epic masterpiece, The Birth of a Nation (1915), which at the time was considered the most important film ever made. The movie was dealth with the Civil War and its aftermath in the South. However, the film aroused storms of controversy because of its treatment of African Americans and Ku Klux Klansmen. In order to clear himself of charges of prejudice, Griffith made Intolerance (1916) which attempted to interweave modern, biblical, 16th-century French and Babylonian society into a sermon on the evils of inhumanity.His final film was Isn’t Life Wonderful, after which he became out of tune with popular taste and the growing film industry. The transition to “talkies” posed further problems in 1927, and his career ended in 1931.
Art deco comes from Paris after the decline of art nouveau. Art deco it’s self went through two major phases which spanned through the 1910’s and all the way through the 20’s. Paul Poiret has the first to design in this new style of fresh, bold, and simplistically cut. What was different was even though the style was so simple, it was still made from the finest materials. As it became more and more popular, it became easier to see the Art Deco influence in other designers. Thus, the demand increased and cheaper and simpler versions were made for the working-class girls. Art deco influenced multiple things in the culture of the 20‘s, in which it was was reflected in furniture and paintings alike. This style also brought the famous bob into style and created this “girl” who was in all the movies and media, who gave off the air of an ideal of free-ness, youthful gaiety, glamour, and sexuality.
Art Deco
Jelly Roll Morton
William Claude Fields was a famous American comedian during 1920s. He appeared in many of the classic early motion picture.Born in poverty, he started to perform in an amusement park in Norristown when he was 14 years old. His trademark bulbous nose and raspy voice made him famous by his early 20s, and his renowned “pool table” act made him a vaudeville star all over the world. In 1923, Fields starred as con man Eustace Mcgargle in the Broadway musical comedy “Poppy” and the show was successful. Then in 1925, he performed in his first major silent film “Sally of the Sawdust”. When the era of silent film had past, he moved to Hollywood and appeared in many films as the roles of disreputable hucksters, drunks, cards and pool sharks. And his bulbous nose and raspy voice became the trademark of W.C. Fields.
Jelly Roll Morton, the stage name for Ferdinand Joseph Lamothe, was a very famous American ragtime and jazz pianist, bandleader and composer. He worked closely with Louis Armstrong, Ada “Bricktop” Smith and other artists of the era referred to as the “Roaring Twenties.” Jelly Roll Morton toured across the nation and moved around to different cities in North America depending on where his music took him. These cities included New Orleans, Vancouver, Chicago, New York and Washington DC. The great life of Jelly Roll Morton has been portrayed in many Broadway plays as well as some relatively famous movies. In his peak, Jelly Roll was associated with groups such as the Red Hot Peppers and the New Orleans Rhythm Kings. The New Orleans Rhythm Kings or NORK as they were more commonly known, was a group that Jelly Roll had a small role in until 1930. At that point in time, Morton wanted to do something himself so he started the Red Hot Peppers as an eight-part band out of Chicago but they broke up after only four years of being together.
When Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle a comedian, actor, and director. He weighed 14 pounds at birth, which is where the nick name fatty derived. He was born on march 24th 1887 in Smith Centre, Kansas. At age 12, his mother died and his father left, leaving him to take care of himself. He went into comedy, and became a huge hit. In 1909 he appeared in the movie "Ben's Kid", and in 1913 the Keystone company hired him, his wife, and his nephew. Arbuckle was the first comedian to be hit by a pie. He went into independent production, and with his movie "Camique" he reached his "artistic peak". In 1921, he was accused of raping and accidentally killing a women. Due to this his films were banned. He was put through three trials, but found not guilty; upon which his films were un-banned. He Later had a lot of success at Warners Bros, untill he died in his sleep due to a heart attack in 1933 .
Buster Keaton is a leading figure in the development of American comedy in the 20th century and an extraordinarily director. He was born in 1895 in Kansas. As a child of two traveling performers, Keaton was born to the stage. Keaton first appeared on stage in The Three Keaton's stage act tossed around by his alcoholic father in 1900. Keaton won wild applause from audience by his "Great Stone Face":never capable of expressing joy, wonder, delight and frustration. In 1917, Keaton met Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, who brought him into the film world. The two collaborated on a series of two-reelers. As a natural performer in the film, he began to make scenes and became an assistant director. He was defined as the actor “In 1920, Keaton began to own an independent film studio himself. Bulk of his work was produced between 1920 and 1929 with pioneering creativity such as the use of split-screen in The Playhouse (1921) in which Keaton made use of elaborate camera tricks to play a panoply of roles onstage. After 1924, his film began to contain more social commentary and became more commercially successful. In 1930s, he had a hard time with his failure in film The General, dissolved production company, bankrupt and alcoholism. He continued to work as a gag writer for MGM and made comedies for Educational Pictures in his late life.
Zelda Fitzgerald
Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, dubbed the “First Flapper” by her husband F. Scott Fitzgerald, was an iconic feminist symbol of the 1920s. She was born in Alabama on July 24, 1900.Zelda was known for her eccentricity and independence at a young age. Those who went to school with her knew about her flirtation with the boys in her “one-piece flesh-colored swimming suit” and nights out dancing on tables, smoking and drinking. Zelda met Frances Scott Fitzgerald after her high school graduation at a summer dance. Captured by his aspirations for fame Zelda married him two years later only after he published his first novel This Side of Paradise. Their relationship was destructive and conflicting. F. Scott used Zelda as a muse for a lot of his writings and even took some of her writing from her diary and infused it into his novels. She gave birth to their only child Frances “Scottie” Fitzgerald on October 26, 1921. Their destructive relationship led them from New York to Paris during the Great Depression and made them apart of the “Lost Generation”. They returned to the States and F. Scott left Zelda in an asylum in Asheville. During their time away from one another Zelda spent time in an insane asylum and was diagnosed with schizophrenia. They wrote one another but the last time Zelda saw Fitzgerald was a year and a half before his death and she was unable to make his funeral. Zelda was a victim of an unfortunate fire in an Asheville asylum among 8 other women. Inscribed on their tombstone is the final sentence of The Great Gatsby: "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past". Although Zelda was an eccentric character of many scandals she still remains the figure and icon for the women in the 1920s.
Josephine Baker
Mary Pickford, iconic actress and celebrity belonged to a world of advancing technologyn iconic actress of the 1920s. Mary found success from a young age, really hitting her peak when movies became popular. She started off on Broadway but then talked to director D.W. Griffith who was starting to make flickers. Flickers were short films about eight to twelve minutes long and they paid $5 a day. She was a natural on screen and had the mastery of mime. She was honest in her performance and so beautiful that people were drawn to her. She was so good she became an international star, known as "Girl with the Curls" or "Americas Sweetheart". In the movie, "The Poor Little Rich Girl", people were cast around her as she had to appear to be twelve years old when in actuality she was twenty four. She also played two roles at once in "The Little Lord Fauntleroy" where she was the mother and the little boy. By the 1920s she was making $10000 a week and choosing who she worked with. Her first speaking film was “Coquette” and from this she won Best Actress Academy Award. However this is when she decided to leave the film industry as she did not like the sound of her voice on film. As well as acting she formed the Mary Pickford Cosmetic Company and the United Artists Corporation. She also donated her movies to the American Film Institute. Through out the 1920s she was the ideal women for everyone around the world and left her mark which became the prototype for other stars. Her contributions to the film world were manifold, she bridged the gap between silent to talking films as she could convey emotions like no others.
Mah jongg is a board game consisting of two to four players, which was imported and became popular in the United States in the 1920’s. Mah Jongg is most closely translated to the Chinese word for “sparrow.” There are records to believe that Confucius was one of the first people to play the game as early as 500 B.C. Mah jongg is a game of skill, memory and some amount of randomness. There are different styles of playing Ma jongg rather than the traditional four-player game such as mah jongg solitaire, which consists of a single player trying to remove all the pieces by way of matching them. Ambercrombie & Fitch sold the first mah jongg sets in the United States. According to the New York Times, “the craze, which began in the 1920s, was a novel form of entertainment for a new leisure class and paralleled a middle-class taste for Asian-style interior decoration as well.” Mah jongg became a craze in the 1920’s, it outsold radios and spawned a whole new line of related products.
The 1920’s was a transitional period that changed people’s belief in magic, and there was no more transformative figure than Harry Houdini. He transformed magic from after the world’s supernatural phenomenon into an awesome show to see. As a specialist of escape, Houdini was an icon of modern magic. Houdini defined his magic as a “show” which made audience realize his magic was not witchcraft. Houdini always challenged himself with impossible tricks such as escaping in water tank while his hands were bound, or getting out from a locked vault. Because his tricks always seemed impossible, his escaping shows were great pleasure to people. He also attempted to overthrow necromancy, a popular idea in the twenties and he believed in necromancy until his death. Houdini’s death was really ironic. His faith in his abilities as a magician ultimately led to his death when he guaranteed that his stomach could endure any impact; one member of audience, who was boxer, punched his stomach, and that led Houdini to death.
Ethel Waters was the first African American woman to sing on the radio and appear on television, to perform at the Palace Theater in N.Y, in a network radio series and in an integrated broadway show. She was born in 1896 in Pennsylvania and died in 1977 in California. In the course of 60 years, she pursued her successive career as a blue singer, a jazz singer, a musical comedy star, a dramatic actress and a gospel singer. Her career epitomized the African American’s struggle for racial equalities during the first three quarters of 20th century. She had a difficult childhood in which she dropped out of school in sixth grade and started to do menial works. She was spotted by members of a vaudeville team at the age of 21 and started her career. She moved to New York after touring in vaudeville shows as a singer and a dancer. She published some records and became more of a pop singer in the early 1920s; She performed a number of revenues in the rest of the decade and had become a big star on broadway by the end of 1930s.
Jack Dempsey, the “perfect” boxer with a fierce and brutal style, was the most popular athlete of his time and quickly became an American hero. He was born on June, 24 1895 in Manassa, Colorado and his fighting career began when he became desperate for money and began to visit bars and challenge patrons to fights which he rarely lost. For a short time he was also a part-time bodyguard for Thomas F. Kearns, son of Utah’s U.S. Senator. He began his formal boxing career began in 1914 under the name Kid Blackie. By the time he was twenty-four he had fought in more than 80 professional fights and was able to earn himself a title fight with Jess Willard where he captured the title of heavyweight champion. Dempsey became an American Hero in the 1920‘s through his boxing and was seen as the Superman of his era. His fame led him to find success outside the ring and when he retired he starred in the movie “The Prizefighter and the Lady” in 1933 and went on to join the National Guard. He also wrote a book which was published in 1950. He went onto to later become a successful restaurant owner in New York City, where he died on May 31, 1983.
"The Charleston," by James P. Johnson in the Broadway musical Runnin' Wild in 1923 inaugurated the dance sensation known as “The Charleston.” The Charleston is a type of dance named after the harbor city in South Carolina. Although the origins of the dance are obscure, the dance has been traced back to blacks who lived on an island off the coast of Charleston. The Charleston dance had started in black communities since 1903, but did not become popular around the world until the musical debuted in 1923. The dance uses both swaying arms and the fast movement of the feet. The Charleston dance became extremely popular in the 1920s.
Oscar Michaeux
Marion Davis and William Randolph Hearst
Dorothy Parker and the Algonquin Roundtable
osephine Baker became the first well known and globally recognized African American entertainer, and she brought dance into the modern era with her suggestive moves and style. Her provocative and suggestive expression was not socially acceptable in America in the early 1920’s, so she moved to France where her career quickly skyrocketed. “She drew the attention of the audience by clowning, mugging, and improvising. With her long legs, slim figure, and comic interludes, her special style as an entertainer evolved” (Josephine Baker, Encyclopedia of World Geography). Josephine Baker completely revolutionized the entertainment industry. Her care-free style was reflective of the time period, where corsets and conservative natures were tossed out the window in favor of open sexual suggestiveness. Her most notorious performance was the Banana Dance, which she performed in France as well as New York cabarets. Josephine Baker served as a spy for the French during WWI, passing secret notes across enemy lines hidden on the back of her music sheets. In her later years as a performer, Baker worked to bring awareness to the Civil Rights Movement by refusing to perform in segregated bars and clubs. Josephine Baker ushered in an era of open displays of sexuality as form of art; her frenetic performances are a fitting symbol of an era that saw the first stirrings of a cultural revolution in race, sexuality, and movement.
Louis Armstrong
Sacco and Vanzetti's case represented one of the great travesties of justice in the 20th century. It reflected the ethnic struggles, the plight of the poor, and the widespread supicions about anarchists in America. Sacco and Vanzetti were Italian immigrants who were a lightning rod for the radical and liberal protests of the 1920s. The case was controversial due to the widespread doubts about the validity of the evidence against them and the clear bias of the judge. They were arrested at a garage while they were picking up a car that had been supposedly been seen near the crime. They were both armed but claimed no knowledge of the crime and said they were going to use the truck to spread anarchist literature. The defese argued that the trial had been conducted in an atmosphere of fear and repression and that the jury and Judge Webster Thayer had been prejudiced against the defendants because of their anarchist beliefs. The defense lawyers repeatedly made motions for a new trial but were unsuccessful.
George Gershwin
George Gershwin was one of the most highly noted composers of the 1920s, he composed many timeless pieces such as “Rhapsody in Blue” as well as many famous Broadway musicals including “ Tell me more!” and “Strike up the Band”. One of the most famous pieces Gershwin wrote was the famous opera “Porgy and Bess” with songs like "Summertime" and "Oh, Doctor Jesus". This famous opera was so influential because it showed the love for black culture in the 1920s. “Porgy and Bess” depicts a poor black disabled beggar from living in Charleston, South Carolina. George Gershwin teamed up with is brother Ira Gershwin to compose the music for this opera. The popular jazz movement in the 1920s was a primarily black music movement, also the first popular black music movement in America.
Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, dubbed the “First Flapper” by her husband F. Scott Fitzgerald, was an iconic feminist symbol of the 1920s. She was born in Alabama on July 24, 1900.Zelda was known for her eccentricity and independence at a young age. Those who went to school with her knew about her flirtation with the boys in her “one-piece flesh-colored swimming suit” and nights out dancing on tables, smoking and drinking. Zelda met Frances Scott Fitzgerald after her high school graduation at a summer dance. Captured by his aspirations for fame Zelda married him two years later only after he published his first novel This Side of Paradise. Their relationship was destructive and conflicting. F. Scott used Zelda as a muse for a lot of his writings and even took some of her writing from her diary and infused it into his novels. She gave birth to their only child Frances “Scottie” Fitzgerald on October 26, 1921. Their destructive relationship led them from New York to Paris during the Great Depression and made them apart of the “Lost Generation”. They returned to the States and F. Scott left Zelda in an asylum in Asheville. During their time away from one another Zelda spent time in an insane asylum and was diagnosed with schizophrenia. They wrote one another but the last time Zelda saw Fitzgerald was a year and a half before his death and she was unable to make his funeral. Zelda was a victim of an unfortunate fire in an Asheville asylum among 8 other women. Inscribed on their tombstone is the final sentence of The Great Gatsby: "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past". Although Zelda was an eccentric character of many scandals she still remains the figure and icon for the women in the 1920s.
The Scopes Monkey Trial began July 10, 1925 and was a criminal persecution in Tennessee of John T. Scopes – a substitute biology teacher who taught evolution in public schools. In the beginning of 1925 the Butler Act was passed by the Tennessee General Assembly which restricted public school teachers from teaching evolution or any theory “that denies the story of Devine Creation of man as taught in the Bible.” Citizens of Tennessee nominated Scopes to admit to teaching evolution and consequently be convicted. This case started a national debate on creationism, evolution, and public school teaching. A big opponent of religious fundamentalism, Clarence Darrow agreed to defend Scopes free of charge. Darrow tried to get the Butler Act removed and win the case by attacking creationism and proving the theory of evolution. The Tennessee jury was absent during the significant testimony on evolution and, arguably due to this absence, found scopes Guilty. He had to pay the minimum fine of 100 dollars. This trial had a lasting effect and caused major debates on the controversy between divine creation and evolution.
Oscar Micheaux, probably the most important African American director in film history, Wrote directed an produced over 40 films in his lifetime. His film career began in 1919. Responsible for the first full feature length film made by an African American, Micheaux made mostly what was called “race movies”. This means that the majority of his movies were made for an African American audience. This was important to the twenties because this was the first time that movies had been made specifically for African Americans. This is showing that the African American is changing from something that you could own to an actual human being. Micheaux made over forty race movies; this was the most by any film director at the time. When Micheaux was a young boy he spent much of his time on the Rosebud Indian reservation in South Dakota, where he worked on building railroads. Not only was Micheaux an extremely accomplished movie director but he was also an accomplished writer. Micheaux squeaked out 7 novels and other short stories. Micheaux died on March 25, 1951. After he died people still awarded and praised his accomplishments. Micheaux was given a star on the Hollywood walk of fame, the directors guild of America honored Micheaux these awards along with many others recognize Oscar Micheaux’s many talents.
During the period of prohibition, home-made alcohol was illegal but easy to be made. “Home brew” was popular at that time especially in rural south. One of the most popular home-made alcohols was a concoction made from raw alcohol, water, and flavorings called bathtub gin. As when water is added, it requires a larger container than an ordinary kitchen sink, so it was put under the tap in the bathtub. Bathtub gin satisfied people’s demand of alcohol. The equipment was as cheap as several dollars while instructions can even be found in bulletins published by the government, people could still easily get drinks in this way. Bathtub gin is an example of the inefficiency of prohibition. This method of acquiring alcohol is a sign of that government cannot ban the public common willingness by force.
Henry ford, the founder of the Ford motor company, enabled the first mass-production of the automobile and was a godfather of American consumerism. He was able to make reliable, efficient and inexpensive automobiles primarily because of his inventive moving assembly line, Ford’s greatest contribution to industry. The Assembly line allowed manufacturers to produce uniform products quickly and productively. Ford’s company began construction on the world’s largest industrial complex during the late 1910s and early 1920s. By 1927, all steps in the manufacturing process from refining raw materials to the final assembly of the automobile took place at one huge plant, putting into action Ford’s idea of mass production. Although not a direct application of scientific management, Ford’s system bore similarities to it, including higher pay rate. He paid his workers the wage of $5 a day, however, in exchange, he demanded his employees regular attendance at work, as well as a serious and sober private life.



Dedicated to making America a culturally advanced country, Walter Elias Disney is known as a film producer, a creator of amusement parks and of widely popular animated characters. He contributed to the extension of the role of animation in films, by creating a national figure, Mickey Mouse, and other characters. His early work at Kansas City Film Ad Service led him to enter the field of animated films, and Disney began to enlarge his company. With his staff, Disney first produced a new series Alice in Cartoonland, in which real people and the animated characters all appear. His failure in silent prototypes allowed him to seek his own trademark, which could represent Disney--Mickey Mouse. Mickey Mouse first appeared in a sound movie, Steamboat Willie, in November 1928, and by 1930s, he became renowned both nationally and internationally. Walter Disney’s company emerged as one of the biggest entertainment companies with the developed skills and creative works and completely transformed the world, during 1920’s.
Harold Lloyd, the actor, was born in Burchard, Nebr. His parents divorced in 1910.
Harold had to get many jobs to survive. He went to high school in San Diego. When his father's business failed, Lloyd moved to Los Angeles, where he worked as a movie extra for $5 per day. In 1915, Lloyd met Hal Roach, and Roach established his company, Rolin, and Lloyd started comedies. He created the characters, Willie Work and Luke. Lloyd and Roach split in 1923, and he made his independent company. Lloyd's major films of the 1920s included Grandma's Boy (1922), Safety Last (1923), Why Worry? (1923), The Freshman (1925), and Speedy (1928). And Lloyd Mildred Davis in 1923. However, an accident in 1919 with a prop bomb cut off the thumb and forefinger of his right hand. He tried to hide his handicap. Despite his handicap, he was a healthy man who never smoked or drank and remained in good physical condition until his death in Beverly Hills. He contributed in the 1920s the very popular silent films.
Charlie Chaplin, perhaps the most recognizable and iconic silent movie star of the twenties, was born in 1889 in London to Charles and Hannah Chaplin, vaudeville artists who struggled to support their family. Charlie was orphaned at age eight due to his father’s death and his mother being hospitalized. He travelled to the United States in 1910 to perform with a troupe and when he returned in 1913, the creator of Keystone Comedies offered him a film contract. In 1919 he, along with three other actors, formed United Artists, “an independent company to distribute their films.” Chaplin started out making short films such as “Caught in a Cabaret,” but as his career advanced, he starred in longer, more popular films, such as the 1925 hit “The Gold Rush.” Chaplin was famous for slapstick roles and his comedic improvisions made him a popular source of comedy for 1920s Americans.He is now considered to be one of the greatest film stars of all time.
Clara Bow inaugurated the era of celebrity stardom. Dubbed the first “It” Girl as part of the film adaptation of Elinor Glyn’s screenplay of the same name, Clara Bow had an impulsive way of acting, and was the ultimate sex symbol for the nation. She had red hair, crimson lips, and the perfect hourglass figure. Bow personified the celebrity meltdown before it was a cliché as she spent lavishly and conducted herself without a care in the world. Clara Bow abruptly ended her acting career in 1933 after a sudden decrease in recognition, a blackmail scandal with her personal assistant, and the stock-market crash. After that, she moved to California, but spent most of her time as a recluse in sanitariums and had multiple nervous breakdowns.
Through Glyn’s novella, the word, ‘It’ became an alternative definition for sex appeal of the flapper girls. People in the U.S. did not value her acting as much as what she represented. Bow became the major sex symbol of the United States throughout the 1920s and 1930s.
Elinor Glyn was a Hollywood trendsetter and writer during this time period. After this national uproar, Elinor Glyn wrote a novella in 1926, and Bow was selected as its personification and defined the sexual female identity.
Paul Strand (born October 16th 1890) was an American photographer. Strand’s photos are mainly recognized for their attention to surface detail. While Strand attended Ethical Culture School, he began "whistlering". “whistlering” was the name that Strand came up with for the technique he used. What he would do was lay a fuzzy Romanticism onto landscapes and images to create very elegant pictures. With this style of photography he became well known for his work of "Winter, Central Park". In this work a dark tree is contrasted by the light snow behind it, while off in the back there is a single figure in the distance. In Strands work he liked to have great attention to detail and not manipulate the photo. Strand’s work influenced the urban photography group due to his unique techniques. By sticking to what was in the picture and paying much attention to the detail, he was able to let the photo make the statement and not the alterations to it. Strand traveled the world learning many different techniques, but no matter where he traveled he kept his attention to detail at the top of his list on things to do in his work.
Known as an avant-garde modernist poet of the 1920s, Mina Loy was born in London, England in 1882. She returned to New York City in 1916 and lived a quiet life in Greenwich Village where her writing and reputation as a poet lived vicariously through her relationships with those such as Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams. Held in high regard by her peers but remaining relatively invisible among other modernists, Loy reverted into herself and her artwork, changing her media of choice over time. In the late 20s she worked crafting light fixtures, and then moved on to sculpture made from recyclables off the streets of Manhattan. Mina Loy always allied herself more with her visual art than her writing, claiming that “she never was a poet” despite the massive impact she had on the writings of her era. She’s an untold hero of modernism, surrealism and poetry.
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