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Galveston, Texas, bathing revue, ca. 1926

To offer a unique perspective on the Twenties, six collections of primary materials are presented in Theme I, each from a single source—newsreels, cartoons, political cartoons, animated cartoons, subway posters, and a 1931 retrospective. We encourage you to mix and match materials from two or more collections to gain insights that such snapshot overviews offer. A collection discussion guide is offered to stimulate study and analysis. Preceding the collections, in Section One, we sample Twenties commentary as people tried to define their times: What is this new age we live in? How do we feel about it? Where is it taking us?

Framing Questions

  • How are the Twenties immediately familiar to 21st-century observers? In what ways does the decade seem remote and old-fashioned?
  • Identify and explain four characteristics of the Twenties that most differentiate the decade from the 1910s and the 1930s.
  • What are benefits and downsides of snapshot views of a historical period?
  • What research would you conduct to test a hypothesis about the 1920s gained from these snapshot views?

Sections in THE AGE

Each section presents primary resources, introductory notes, classroom discussion questions, and supplemental links.

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  1. "The Age We Live In"
  2. Only Yesterday Year by Year
  3. Chicago Tribune Political Cartoons
  4. New Yorker Cartoons
  5. Felix the Cat Animated Cartoons, 1922-1927 (8)
  6. Detroit News Newsreels, 1923-1928 (30)
  7. New York City Subway Posters

Image: Galveston, Texas, bathing revue, ca. 1926, panoramic photograph by Cecil Thomson Studios, ca. 1926 (detail). Courtesy of the Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Call No. PAN SUBJECT-Bathing beauties no. 26.