Thursday, May 29, 2014

Roaring Twenties

This is a photograph of my Aunt Gertrude dressed as a flapper during the time period. Note her hair was cut in a fashionable style, her head-dress typical style of the era and her stylish dress. When this photograph was taken she was in her late teens to twenty. Whether she was married or single at the time is hard to say. She was born in 1903 in New York but there is no record of her birth. She grew up in New York City, one of the cities that exemplified all the characteristics of the Roaring Twenties.

Gertrude married John C. Clark on April 11, 1923. I don't think there was a big wedding reception because they were married on a Wednesday probably by the Justice of the Peace. John C. Clark was not her parents choice but rather a marriage Gertrude rushed into. She drove a car and followed some of the era's traits. I'm not sure that she smoked but I do believe that she was breaking away from traditions of the German Immigrant family life and becoming her own woman. Once she married John Clark she no longer went home but rather her siblings would visit her at her new home. Her father, Gottlieb was upset with her decision to wed John Clark.

Flappers were a "new breed" of young Western women in the 1920s who wore short skirts, bobbed their hair, listened to jazz, and flaunted their disdain for what was then considered acceptable behavior. Flappers were seen as brash for wearing excessive makeup, drinking, treating sex in a casual manner, smoking, driving automobiles, and otherwise flouting social and sexual norms. Flappers had their origins in the liberal period of the Roaring Twenties, the social, political turbulence and increased transatlantic cultural exchange that followed the end of World War I, as well as the export of American jazz culture to Europe.

The Roaring Twenties is a term sometimes used to refer to the 1920s in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, characterizing the decade's distinctive cultural edge in New York City, Chicago, Paris, Berlin, London, Los Angeles and many other major cities during a period of sustained economic prosperity. French speakers called it the "années folles" ("Crazy Years"),[1] emphasizing the era's social, artistic, and cultural dynamism. Normalcy returned to politics in the wake of hyper-emotional patriotism after World War I, jazz music blossomed, the flapper redefined modern womanhood, and Art Deco peaked. Economically, the era saw the large-scale diffusion and use of automobiles, telephones, motion pictures, and electricity, unprecedented industrial growth, accelerated consumer demand and aspirations, and significant changes in lifestyle and culture. The media focused on celebrities, especially sports heroes and movie stars, as cities rooted for their home team and filled the new palatial cinemas and gigantic stadiums. In most major countries women won the right to vote for the first time. Finally the Wall Street Crash of 1929 ended the era, as the Great Depression set in, bringing years of worldwide gloom and hardship.[2]

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