Booze, Babe, and the Little Black Dress Photo Gallery
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This is one of the first ads to focus on the overall General Motors brand. Most ads don’t, for obvious reasons. They're trying to sell specific cars The purpose here is to give buyers confidence in the overall company umbrella. If you buy a cheap Chevy, so the logic goes, you're buying from the same company that builds expensive Cadillacs. Note the line up of brands at the bottom of the page.
This is an example of a 1924 advertisement for the Neurocalometer from the Palmer School of Chiropractic. The device is notable because it featured one of the first leasing business models in the medical equipment industry. Chiropractors didn't purchase the device, the leased it from the company to use with patients. It allowed smaller businesses to afford to offer the service, but it also tied them to the company. This business model is in use today with many types of diagnostic and surgical equipment.
Bust of B..J. Palmer, used under license.
Son of chiropractic founder Daniel David Palmer. Accompanying note: "Photos of head + shoulders for an Atlanta sculptor to use in making bronze bust of him". December 1, 1955. From the State Library & Archives of Florida - Florida Memory Project.
U.S. Patent #1,773,079: Freezing; Subsequent thawing; Cooling the materials not being transported through or in the apparatus with or without shaping, e.g. in the form of powder, granules or flakes with packages or with shaping in the form of blocks or portions. This 1924 patent from Clarence Birdseye is the first documentation of the "flash freezing" process originally used by Labrador anglers to quickly freeze fish to preserve freshness.
Photo of Clarence Birdseye from his high school yearbook. Does this look like a guy who would stew mice and fry rattlesnakes? Not to me either. Original in "The Olio" yearbook, Volume LIII, page 201. 1910. Copy here: https://acdc.amherst.edu/explore/asc:350423/asc:352266
Notice how the ad not only highlights the overall amount lent through GMAC (to show legitimacy), but also shows the six brands in General Motors’ product portfolio.
The political campaign leading to the enactment in 1919 of the 18th Amendment that created Prohibition often included stereotypes and stark claims about the commercial interests of the “liquor traffic” (and especially anti-German tropes) vs. those of the family as described in this pro-Prohibition crusade document, circa 1918.
An inside look at the first Sears retail store in Evansville, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago), in 1925. Note the merchandise displays – in prior stores, shoppers could only view a single display, which was under the watchful eye of a salesperson. This is the first time a shopper could take a product directly from the pile, inspect it themselves, and bring it to the register to purchase it.
This copy of the BHA magazine includes an introductory letter from President Coolidge. What's notable about this effort is the support from the Coolidge Administration (and specifically, Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover) of the largely woman-led effort to encourage home ownership in the United States.
This picture shows Dr. John R. Brinkley, holding "Billy," one of the famous goat-gland babies. Dr. Brinkley, a surgeon, has startled the scientific world by transplanting goat glands to men and omen as a means of restoring a lost heritage. The parents of "Billy" had wanted a baby for 18 years. Dr. Brinkley persuaded the father to submit to an operation involving the transplanting of glands from a goat. This perfectly healthy and laughing baby came along to bless a home that had been childless for those many years. Date 20 February 1920 Source Arizona Republican. (Phoenix, Ariz.), 20 Feb. 1920. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Library of Congress.
This is an advertising poster issued by Crescent Flour Co. for a Lindbergh-themed Seymour Co. boxed airplane toy set. Lindbergh was one of the first modern celebrities, and his image and likeness were used to promote countless products and services – most without compensating Lindbergh.
Advertisement for the Book of the Month Club, founded in 1926. Note how it explains how the service works. Subscription services for products were a new innovation of the 1920s.
The front page story refers to the bitter exchange between defense attorney Clarence Darrow and “bible expert” William Jennings Bryan. (Note the number of Prohibition-related stories as well.)
The Savoy Ballroom was a legendary dance hall on Lenox Avenue between 140th and 141st Streets in Harlem, New York. It was known as “The World’s Finest Ballroom” and “Home of Happy Feet”. From 1926 to 1958 it’s twin bandstands showcased the world’s finest jazz musicians. The dances born on its mahogany dancefloor would sweep the world and live on to this day. The Savoy was the heart and soul of Harlem. Welcome to The Savoy is a project to reopen the doors of the now lost Savoy Ballroom, in an immersive experience at the crossroads of immersive theatre and virtual reality. We want to transport people to the Savoy, Harlem’s most captivating nightspot and one of the first integrated ballrooms in the USA, to experience the thrills of swinging big bands, breathtaking dancers and jazz age glamour. Learn more about the project at: www.welcometothesavoy.com facebook.com/welcometothesavoy Lead historian Sharon Davis, London: www.sharonmdavis.com www.jazzmad.co.uk
The Savoy Ballroom marquee, as it looked in 1937. (It would have looked similar in the 1920s.)
Note the bandstand decorations above him. The acoustical shell helped project the sound from the bandstand onto the dance floor.
This advertisement from December 1922, and many others like it in the early 1920s, promoted Florida real estate investments. Future ads would dispense with the pretense and simply ask people if they “wanted to get rich.” Note the line at the bottom of this ad. (Hint: Not true.)
Babe Ruth in1920 during his first year with the New York Yankees after traded from Boston. He was still developing as a hitter, just making the transition from his early career as a pitcher. This photo was taking during his svelte phase. He would get bigger...
Advertising pioneer Bruce Barton helped Coolidge collect his speeches and writing into a snappy little book ahead of the Republican nominating convention in 1919. Although early records say this was small enough to fit in a shirt pocket, the real book is a little more than six inches tall. Must be a big pocket. Maybe a jacket pocket. You can pick up a copy at online used book stores or eBay, but most of them are in pretty bad shape. The digital copy is easier (and free).
Chapter 16: The original theatrical poster for "Souls for Sale," written and directed by Rupert Hughes, 1923.
Note the Chanel-inspired dress. It was well ahead of its formal introduction into American culture in 1926 in the American edition of Vogue Magazine.
Written by Helen Lansdowne at the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency in New York, this ad was among the first major campaigns to feature explicit sex appeal in a series of advertisements.
The magazine would not get its iconic red border until the beginning of 1927. You can find digital copies of all past issues from this era on the Time Magazine archives.
Sanger pulled no punches in any of her publications. This magazine, along with her other more-famous books, would pave the way for the modern Planned Parenthood organization. Not a flattering view of children, is it?
Quite the mouthful, huh? Notice that there is no mention of "Route 66." The Route 66 organization, who sponsored the event, would not be pleased. Oh, and that thing about the "First Annual?" There would not be a second.
Published by the Washburn-Crosby Company in the Saturday Evening Post in 1921 to promote its Gold Medal Flour brand, this is the puzzle that started it all.
Illustration of Chanel’s original “little black dress” from American Vogue, October 1926. Source: https://www.vogue.com/article/from-the-archives-ten-vogue-firsts.
Notice anything missing in the photo of this group of young women from the 1920s? The Roaring 20s saw the birth of the "Girls' Night Out."
Perhaps one of the most iconic Hollywood stars of the 1920s, Louis Brooks set the tone for her haircut, fashion choices, and more than anything else, her attitude.
The book that birthed the self-help industry in the United States. Notice that this book uses the same title as Coue's original, but is not authored by Emile Coue, but rather, one of his early followers. It would not be the last. Dozens have made Coue's techniques their own. You can pick up a free digital copy of the original.
A photo of Lowes Grove Credit Union in North Carolina credit union – one of the first in the United States. This from 1916, before Roy Bergengren got involved. It focused on financial education for rural residents, and especially, African Americans. In fact, credit unions were one of the only ways Black people could receive banking services in many areas of the country.
This toy was used to promote a new line of “streamlined” cars. The idea was to get kids to play with it so that they would be familiar with the design style when they went to but their first car. You can buy one for yourself on eBay, but be prepared to shell out a few hundred dollars.