Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Teaching the American Twenties: Exploring the Decade through Literature and Art

Small Town, Big City

Changing concepts of modern city life create cultural stereotypes, fuel the Hollywood celebrity machine, and encourage new ideals of housing and consumer needs.


Who Were Babbitts and Bohemians?

Sinclair Lewis satirizes America's small towns in Main Street and the middle-American businessman in Babbitt. Meanwhile, F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby examines the glamorous, Bohemian lifestyle of the 1920s wealthy sophisticate.

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The Dream Factory

Advertisers crafted the sunny California image while Hollywood made celebrities of film actors Gloria Swanson and Rudolph Valentino. Movie premieres became high drama at the renowned Grauman theaters and crowds gathered to hear "celebrity" evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson.

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House and Home

Whether living in a new suburban neighborhood or an urban apartment, manners and decorating became important concerns, as did purchasing the latest products advertised in Vanity Fair and Vogue magazines.

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