The Roaring 20's

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Roaring 20s Web Sites

Clash of Cultures in the 1910s and 1920s
Produced by the Ohio State University History Department, this is an informative introduction to cultural tensions in the 1910s and 1920s, exploring topics such as prohibition, immigration, the KKK, the "New Woman," and the Scopes Trial. There a also a varied array of primary sources, including cartoons, flyers, posters, photographs and other documents. The cultural clash of the 1920s in many ways offers a historical backdrop to issues resonating in American society today.

Jazz
An online companion to Ken Burns' Jazz video documentary, this PBS site includes a series of articles and biographies that put the development of Jazz in American historical perspective, and has several special features. There is an interactive map to learn more about the roots of Jazz and many audio excerpts -- such of music by Louis Armstrong. The Roaring Twenties section in 'Jazz in Time' includes audio commentary by critic Gary Giddins who discusses Prohibition, speakeasies, and Jazz. There are also K-12 lesson plans designed around the Jazz video series and companion Web site.

Prosperity and Thrift: The Coolidge Era and the Consumer Economy 1921-1929
This Library of Congress site features a treasure trove of materials from the 1920's that illustrate the prosperity of the Coolidge era, the nation's transition to a mass consumer economy, and the role of government in this transition. There are six major categories: The Prosperity of the Coolidge Era; The Coolidge Presidency; The Coolidge Administration; Merchandising and Advertising; Consumer Activism; African Americans and Consumerism ; Poverty in the 1920s. Each section includes an introduction to the topic at hand with links to related individuals, organizations, publications, documents, and more.

Jazz Age Culture
A professor of English at Pittsburgh State University has produced several sites centering on the Jazz Age. This link will take you to Part I of her "Jazz Age Culture" site, which offers many well-organized links on the following topics: Langston Hughes and other Harlem Renaissance writers, artists, musicians, and notables; F. Scott Fitzgerald, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and other modernist writers; Picasso, Dali, de Lempicka, Kandinsky, and other artists; resources on Prohibition, flappers, racial violence, sports, automobiles, aviators, art deco, movie stars, the Crash of '29, the scandals/trials of the decade, and the new technologies; and World War I Poetry.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - Part 1 - 1920 (YouTube video)

The 1920's Experience
Another broad introduction to the 1920's, this commercial site has a vast amount of information and images on people, art, events, literature, music, and technology.

The Twenties 1913 - 1929
Did the 20s "Roar" or was it just a "yawn?" This Annenberg Biography of America video companion attempts to answer that question. This program centers on changes brought about by Henry Ford's Model T, the assembly line, and the rise of American consumerism. Among the features are an interactive map of the growth of Los Angeles, circa 1925.

The Lawless Decade
The Lawless Decade is a pictorial history of the "convulsive shocks" from WWI armistice and prohibition to the repeal of the 18th Amendment and the New Deal. The site is based on the book by the same name and is organized by year.

Lindbergh
At age 25 Charles A. Lindbergh became first man to fly across the Atlantic. Fame ensued, but so did tragedy years later with the kidnapping and murder of his first child. This companion to the American Experience video series offers insights into the Spirit of St. Louis, the kidnapping of Lindbergh's son, Lindbergh's hero status, and more. There is also a timeline, maps, and a teacher's guide. A unique feature is an interactive map of Lindberg's transatlantic flight from New York to Paris.

Scopes Trial Home Page - UMKC School of Law
Featured "famous trial" in American history. In a Dayton, Tennessee courtroom in the summer of 1925, a jury was to decide the fate of John Scopes, a high school biology teacher charged with illegally teaching the theory of evolution. The meaning of the trial emerged through its interpretation as a conflict of social and intellectual values between "traditionalists" and "modernists." The site features an introduction to the case, biographies of Scopes, Darrow, Bryan and other key participants, a chronology, trial satire, and more on the evolution controversy.

Fatal Flood
A companion to the American Experience video series, this PBS site explores the Mississippi River flooding in the spring of 1927 that inundating hundreds of towns and killed as many as a thousand people. Special features include excerpts from African Americans who suffered as a result of the flood, film footage before and during the flood, and an interactive maps with images of the flood. There is a timeline as well as several brief biographies. For educators, there are also classroom activities grouped into into 4 categories: history, economics, geography, and civics.

Black History: The Harlem Renaissance
Harlem, "the capital of black America," gave birth to a cultural revolution marked by artistic and intellectual contributions. This section of Biography.com's Black History web site provides an introduction to the era though a series of essays and photographs, as well as biographies of noted Harlem Renaissance contributors.

Photographs from the Golden Age of Jazz
This Library of Congress site features photographs and related items from Down Beat magazine and its writer-editor William P. Gottlieb.

America on the Move: Americans Adopt the Auto
America on the Move is a special presentation by the Smithsonian Institute that explores the role of transportation in American history. The link is to a section on the impact of the automobile and features an image collection that includes autos and automotive parts in the 1920s and 1930s, driver's licenses, roads, oil company advertisements, and other related topics.

Henry Ford: This Day in History
This page from the Library of Congress links to varied LOC sources related to Henry Ford, the automobile, and his times.

History Matters (Making Sense of Documents)
The excellent History Matters U.S. history survey web sites offers an interesting array of primary source articles, essays, and memoirs related to the 1920s. Here is a selection:

Immigration to the United States, 1789-1930
A Harvard University web-based collection, this site contains a huge collection of primary sources on immigration to the United States, including 1,800 books and pamphlets, 13,000 pages from manuscripts and 9,000 photographs. The collection has very broad coverage and though the amount of information could be overwhelming, the web site is easy to navigate. Documents from the 1920s include Emergency Quota Act and the Oriental Exclusion Act.

Immigrants at Ellis Island
This history.com collection contains 10 video clips related to Ellis Island. Among them are a Guided Tour of the Ferry Building, Passing the Medical Inspection, Detained at Ellis Island, Registering as an American Citizen.

Temperance and Prohibition
This Ohio State University production explores prohibition. It analyzes the Anti-Saloon League and presents arguments for and against prohibition, among other features.

Theatre Productions and Players, 1920s-1957
This digital collection from the New York Public Library incudes thousands of items, including portraits of performers in the 1920s and their productions.

F. Scott Fitzgerald Centenary Home Page
This is Great Gatbsy novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald's centenary website. Among the highlights in this collection is three recitations recorded by Fitzgerald in California, c. 1940, a series of essays available in PDF format, several stories by Fitzgerald , a brief film clip of Fitzgerald, and Fitzgerald quotes and facts.

History of the Ku Klux Klan.
A hyperlinked text essay of the history of the KK from the 1860s to the 1960s. Includes images and documents.

The Aaron Copeland Collection
This Library of Congress collection of the great American composer. Of the 1,000 items, including many photographs, most are from the 1920s through the 1950s and include music sketches, correspondence, writings, and photographs.

Nova timeline
An outline of movie studio, technological innovation in the 1920s.

Ellis Island
An online, searchable database of the 22.5 million people who arrived in New York between 1892 - 1924.

Lesson Plans, Teacher Guides, Activities, and more

1920's Magazine Project
This project, designed by High school teacher Jen Fraser, asks students to create a magazine in the style of the roaring 20s. The site comes with suggested resources and a grading rubric. Recommended for High School students.

Pacifism vs. Patriotism in the 1920s
This activity asks students to consider the different political positions on war and disarmament of two women's activist organizations from this period: the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF). Students read and discuss letters and complete a short writing assignment analyzing political cartoons reprinted in DAR Magazine. From the Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1775-2000 web site.

NAACP's Anti-Lynching Campaign in the 1920s
This NEH lesson and related simulation activity focuses on the constitutional arguments for and against the enactment of federal anti-lynching legislation in the early 1920s.

Course Models: Harlem Renaissance
Part of the California History-Social Science content standards and annotated course which includes: background information, focus questions, pupil activities and handouts, an assessment, and references to books, articles, web sites, literature, audio-video programs, and a historic site.

Activity: The Development of Jazz
Written by the Social Studies School Service, this activity plan emphasizes the importance of Jazz in our history. Students will learn about Harlem, Jazz, and what Jazz is today. Recommended for grade 11.

Jazz
These resources are from the PBS Jazz video series and companion Web site. (JAZZ may be taped off-air and used for up to a year following broadcast). The lessons plans fall in these categories: Activities for Grades K-5; Lessons and Activities for Grades 6-12; General Motors Music Study Guide for Grades 5-8.

1920s Consumer Culture
This History Matters extended activity is designed to help students understand the importance of consumerism in the 1920s and recognize the connections between commodities and culture.

American Advertising: A Brief History
Since the 1920s American Advertising has grown enormously. This History Matters extended activity prompts students to analyze various ads from the 20th century. Included is an ad from the Saturday Evening Post in 1920.

Fatal Flood
The teacher's guide to the PBS video Fatal flood touches upon topics such as race relations, the agricultural economy, and humanitarian aid. Their activities are divided into 4 categories: history, economics, geography, and civics.

Roaring 20s Quizzes
Scroll to bottom of the page for five high school AP multiple choice quizzes on the 1920s.

1920s Quiz
Three high school multiple choice quizzes on the 1920s, as well as quizzes on other decades from the twentieth century.

1920s DBQ
This high school Documents Based Question is "How were the literary and artistic movements of the 1920's critical of contemporary American life?"

Postwar Disillusionment and the Quest for Peace, 1921-1929
This National Endowment for the Humanities EDSITEment lesson examines the rise of antiwar sentiment in the United States and measures taken to prevent the outbreak of future wars.

The “Secret Society” and FitzGerald's The Great Gatsby
This National Endowment for the Humanities EDSITEment lesson attempts to answer: What tensions about wealth and status are revealed in The Great Gatsby? How are these tensions reflected in Nick Carraway's struggle to belong? Students reflect on the class struggles of early twentieth century and write a "credo" for the "secret society" implied in The Great Gatsby.

PowerPoint Presentation on the Life and Times of Herbert Hoover
This link will download a PowerPoint file from the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum. It provides a detailed history of the life of Herbert Hoover as well as suggestions for follow-up activities.

The Roaring 20s: A Reunion
In this WebQuest, students research a group chosen from a list and then contribute to a class podcast.

Blues Poems
A part of a history unit on the 20s a teachers asks her students to compose a compose a blues-form poem about some problem of that time.

Postwar Society and Culture: Multiple Choice Quiz, Fill-in-the-Blank, Flashcards, American History Glossary, and an American History Appendix
The Student Resources section of The American Nation companion web site features introductions to chapters, interactive quizzes, flashcards, web links, an American History Glossary, and an American History Appendix.

The New Era, 1921-1933: Multiple Choice Quiz, Fill-in-the-Blank, Flashcards, American History Glossary, and an American History Appendix
The Student Resources section of The American Nation companion web site features introductions to chapters, interactive quizzes, flashcards, web links, an American History Glossary, and an American History Appendix.

Jazz Talk: Lesson Plan
In this DiscoverySchool.com lesson plan students will analyze work songs, spirituals, blues, and gospel songs in order to develop an appreciation for the origins of jazz music. They will also examine works of poetry from African American artists and create their own poems. After completing this activity, students should be able to describe the impact of African American songs and writings on American culture. Grades 6-12.

Interpreting Primary Sources
Digital History provides brief excerpts from primary sources and statistics and questions to think about the Controversies of the 1920s.

Digital History Resource Guides
The Digital Resource Guides provide links to American history web sites by period and provide historical overviews, readings (online textbook chapter, Reader's Companion), primary source documents (documents, maps, cartoons), teaching resources (chronologies, maps, quizzes), audio-visual resources, and additional resources. It is an excellent and comprehensive teaching resource.

At Home and Abroad: Prosperity and Depression, 1917-1940 Practice Test
High School level quiz on Jazz Age and Great Depression from Prentice Hall.

At Home and Abroad: Prosperity and Depression, 1917-1940 Document Based Essay
This Prentice Hall DBQ is designed to test your ability to work with historical documents and is based on the accompanying documents (1-6).

Streamlines and Breadlines
High School students will learn about the growth and development of cities in America from 1920 through 1940. Immigration, the migration of African-Americans from the South to the urban centers of the North, industrialization, and the Great Depression all affected cities during this period. This lesson will culminate in a student essay that compares two contrasting images from this time period. Students will view two sets of images from Thirteen/WNET's AMERICAN VISIONS Web site. Students will choose one image from each group and compare and contrast the images in an essay.

HistoryTeacher.net: AP United States History Quizzes
A New York teacher has produced a great general site for history teachers that offers AP-level United States history quizzes on many different periods and topics.

AP United States History DBQs: 1875-1925
These student-created DBQs are part of the excellent Historyteacher.net site.

The American People: Affluence and Anxiety
PowerPoint Presentation on America during the 1920s as part of the online companion to The American People. Click PowerPoint Presentations and then Chapter 23.

 

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