It hasn't occurred to even the harshest critics of advertising since the 1930s to regulate advertising as extensively as its earliest opponents almost succeeded in doing. Met with fierce political opposition from organized consumer movements when it emerged, modern advertising was viewed as propaganda that undermined the ability of consumers to live in a healthy civic environment.
In Advertising on Trial, Inger L. Stole examines how these consumer activists sought to limit the influence of corporate powers by rallying popular support to moderate and transform advertising. She weaves their story together through the extensive use of primary sources, including archival research done with consumer and trade group records, as well as trade journals and a thorough engagement with the existing literature. Stole's account of this contentious struggle also demonstrates how public relations developed as a way to justify laissez-faire corporate advertising in light of a growing consumer rights movement, and how the failure to rein in advertising was significant not just for that period but for ours as well.
Probably no decade saw as many changes in the Hollywood film industry and its product as the 1930s did. At the beginning of the decade, the industry was still struggling with the transition to talking pictures. Gangster films and naughty comedies starring Mae West were popular in urban areas, but aroused threats of censorship in the heartland. Whether the film business could survive the economic effects of the Crash was up in the air. By 1939, popularly called "Hollywood's Greatest Year," films like Gone With the Wind and The Wizard of Oz used both color and sound to spectacular effect, and remain American icons today. The "mature oligopoly" that was the studio system had not only weathered the Depression and become part of mainstream culture through the establishment and enforcement of the Production Code, it was a well-oiled, vertically integrated industrial powerhouse.
The ten original essays in American Cinema of the 1930s focus on sixty diverse films of the decade, including Dracula, The Public Enemy, Trouble in Paradise, 42nd Street, King Kong, Imitation of Life, The Adventures of Robin Hood, Swing Time, Angels with Dirty Faces, Nothing Sacred, Jezebel, Mr. Smith Goes toWashington, and Stagecoach .
Nathanael West has been hailed as “an apocalyptic writer,” “a writer on the left,” and “a precursor to postmodernism.” But until now no critic has succeeded in fully engaging West’s distinctive method of negation. In American Superrealism, Jonathan Veitch examines West’s letters, short stories, screenplays and novels—some of which are discussed here for the first time—as well as West’s collaboration with William Carlos Williams during their tenure as the editors of Contact. Locating West in a lively, American avant-garde tradition that stretches from Marcel Duchamp to Andy Warhol, Veitch explores the possibilities and limitations of dada and surrealism—the use of readymades, scatalogical humor, human machines, “exquisite corpses”—as modes of social criticism. American Superrealism offers what is surely the definitive study of West, as well as a provocative analysis that reveals the issue of representation as the central concern of Depression-era America.
André Leroi-Gourhan is undoubtedly one of the most acclaimed figures of twentieth-century anthropology and archaeology. In France, his intellectual importance rivals that of the Claude Lévi-Strauss, yet Leroi-Gourhan’s major contributions are almost entirely unknown in the Anglophone world. This collection seeks to change that.
This selection of Leroi-Gourhan’s important texts—many translated into English for the first time—highlight some of his chief influences, such as elaborating a theory of technology, which argues that material culture focusing on the object in use, and how use is a dynamic feature that has specific consequences for human evolution and human society. With serious ramifications for our understanding of material culture, putting Leroi-Gourhan’s thinking about technology into English will have an immediate and transformative impact on material culture studies.
In the 1930s African Americans faced three distinct historical crises that impacted the lives of African Americans directly—the Great Depression, the existential-identity crisis, and the Italo-Ethiopian War, with its threat of a race war. A sizeable body of black poetry was produced in this decade, which captured the new modes of autonomy through which black Americans resisted these social calamities. Much of it, however, including the most influential protest poems, was dismissed as “romantic” by major, leftist critics and anthologists.
Anthems, Sonnets, and Chants: Recovering the African American Poetry of the 1930s, by Jon Woodson, uses social philology to unveil social discourse, self fashioning, and debates in poems gathered from anthologies, magazines, newspapers, and individual collections. The first chapter examines three long poems, finding overarching jeremiadic discourse that inaugurated a militant, politically aware agent. Chapter two examines self-fashioning in the numerous sonnets that responded to the new media of radio, newsreels, movies, and photo-magazines. The third chapter shows how new subjectivities were generated by poetry addressed to the threat of race war in which the white race was exterminated.
The black intellectuals who dominated the interpretative discourses of the 1930s fostered exteriority, while black culture as a whole plunged into interiority. Anthems, Sonnets, and Chants delineates the struggle between these inner and outer worlds, a study made difficult by a contemporary intellectual culture which recoils from a belief in a consistent, integrated self.
Different as they were as poets, Wallace Stevens, E. E. Cummings, Robert Frost, and Williams Carlos Williams grappled with the highly charged literary politics of the 1930s in comparable ways. As other writers moved sharply to the Left, and as leftist critics promulgated a proletarian aesthetics, these modernist poets keenly felt the pressure of the times and politicized literary scene. All four poets saw their reputations critically challenged in these years and felt compelled to respond to the new politics, literary and national, in distinct ways, ranging from rejection to involvement.
Beleaguered Poets and Leftist Critics closely examines the dynamics of these responses: what these four poets wrote—in letters, essays, lectures, fiction (for Williams), and most importantly, in their poems; what they believed politically and aesthetically; how critics, particularly leftist critics, reviewed their work; how these poets reacted to that criticism and to the broader milieu of leftism. Each poet’s response and its subsequent impact on his poetic output is a unique case study of the conflicting demands of art and politics in a time of great social change.
"Katherine Eaton has compiled a collection of essays on the destruction of the arts in Russia in the 1930s. The essays provide information about what we know was lost, and speculation about what might have been lost, in the Stalinist Great Purge"
Shirley Temple, Clark Gable, Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, Bette Davis, Joan Crawford and Norma Shearer, Marlene Dietrich and Greta Garbo, William Powell and Myrna Loy, Jean Harlow, and Gary Cooper-Glamour in a Golden Age presents original essays from eminent film scholars that analyze movie stars of the 1930s against the background of contemporary American cultural history.
Stardom is approached as an effect of, and influence on, the particular historical and industrial contexts that enabled these actors and actresses to be discovered, featured in films, publicized, and to become recognized and admired-sometimes even notorious-parts of the cultural landscape. Using archival and popular material, including fan and mass market magazines, other promotional and publicity material, and of course films themselves, contributors also discuss other artists who were incredibly popular at the time, among them Ann Harding, Ruth Chatterton, Nancy Carroll, Kay Francis, and Constance Bennett.
In 1933, John A. Lomax and his son Alan set out as emissaries for the Library of Congress to record the folksong of the “American Negro” in several southern African-American prisons. Listening to the Lomax Archive: The Sonic Rhetorics of African American Folksong in the 1930s asks how the Lomaxes’ field recordings—including their prison recordings and a long-form oral history of jazz musician Jelly Roll Morton—contributed to a new mythology of Americana for a nation in the midst of financial, social, and identity crises. Jonathan W. Stone argues that folksongs communicate complex historical experiences in a seemingly simple package, and can thus be a key element—a sonic rhetoric—for interpreting the ebb and flow of cultural ideals within contemporary historical moments. He contends that the Lomaxes, aware of the power folk music, used the folksongs they collected to increase national understanding of and agency for the subjects of their recordings (including the reconstitution of prevailing stereotypes about African American identity) even as they used the recordings to advance their own careers. Listening to the Lomax Archive gives readers the opportunity to listen in on these seemingly contradictory dualities, demonstrating that they are crucial to the ways that we remember and write about the subjects of the Lomaxes archive and other repositories of historicized sound.
This collection captures the sense—at times the ordeal—of the 1930s literary experience in America. Fourteen essayists deal with the experience of being a writer in a time of overwhelming economic depression and political ferment, and thereby illuminate the social, political, intellectual, and aesthetic problems and pressures that characterized the experience of American writers and influenced their works.
The essays, as a group, constitute a reevaluation of the American literature of the 1930s. At the same time they support and reinforce certain assumptions about the decade of the Great Depression—that it was grim, desperate, a time when dreams died and poverty became something other than genteel—they challenge other assumptions, chief among them in the notion that 1930s literature was uniform in content, drab in style, anti-formalist, and always political or sociological in nature. They leave us with an impression that there was variety in American writing of the 1930s and a convincing argument that the decade was not a retreat from the modernism of the 1920s. Rather it was a transitional period in which literary modernism was very much an issue and a force that bore imaginative fruit.
Managing Their Own Affairs explores how Deaf organizations and institutions were forged in Australia during the early 20th century. During this period, deaf people challenged the authority of the dominant welfare organizations, or Deaf Societies, which were largely controlled by hearing people and run as charitable institutions. Breda Carty comprehensively documents the growth of the Australian Deaf community and Australian Deaf organizations for the first time. She focuses on both the political developments of the early 20th century and on the nature of the relationships between deaf and hearing people.
During this time, deaf Australians aspired to manage their own affairs. They enjoyed some success by establishing “breakaways” from the Deaf Societies, and they also established an independent national organization, which was contested and ultimately suppressed by the Deaf Societies. These developments were influenced by wider social movements in Australian society, such as the mobilization of minority groups in their push for autonomy and equal rights. Although most of the breakaway Deaf organizations did not survive beyond the 1930s, they significantly affected the power structures and relationships between deaf and hearing people in Australia. The Australian Deaf community’s attempts to organize independently during these years have been largely erased from collective memory, making Carty’s examination a particularly important and necessary addition to the historical literature.
What would it be like to take an intensive tour of Milwaukee as it was during the late 1930s—at the confluence of the Great Depression, the New Deal, and the run-up to World War II? That is precisely what the participants in the Federal Writers Project did while researching their Guide to Milwaukee. The fruits of their labors were ready for publication by 1940, but for a number of reasons the finished product never saw the light of day—until now.
Fortunately, the manuscript has been carefully preserved in the Wisconsin Historical Society Archives
. Seventy-five years after the work’s completion, the Wisconsin Historical Society Press and historian John D. Buenker present this guide—now serving as a time machine, ready to transport readers back to the Milwaukee of the 1930s, neighborhood by neighborhood, building by building. Much more than a nostalgic snapshot, the book examines Milwaukee’s history from its earliest days to 1940.
Buenker’s thoughtful introduction provides historical context, detailing the FWP’s development of this guide, as well as Milwaukee’s political climate leading up to, and during, the 1930s. Next, essays on thirteen "areas," ranging from Civic Center to Bay View, delve deeper into the geography, economy, and culture of old Milwaukee’s neighborhoods, and simulated auto tours take readers to locales still familiar today, exploring the city’s most celebrated landmarks and institutions. With a calendar of annual events and a list of public services and institutions, plus dozens of photographs from the era, Milwaukee in the 1930s provides a unique record of a pre–World War II American city.
The 1936 Olympic Games played a key role in the development of both Hitler’s Third Reich and international sporting competition. This volume gathers original essays by modern scholars from the Games’ most prominent participating countries and lays out the issues -- sporting as well as political -- surrounding individual nations’ involvement.
The Nazi Olympics opens with an analysis of Germany’s preparations for the Games and the attempts by the Nazi regime to allay the international concerns about Hitler’s racist ideals and expansionist ambitions.
Essays follow on the United States, Great Britain, and France -- three first-class Olympian nations with misgivings about participation -- as well as German ally Italy and future ally Japan. Other essays examine the issues at stake in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and the Netherlands, which opposed Hitler’s politics, despite embodying his Aryan ideal.
Challenging the view of sport as a trivial pursuit, this collection reveals exactly how high the political stakes were in 1936 and how the Nazi Olympics distilled many of the critical geopolitical issues of the time into a contest that was anything but trivial.
Obsessive Images was first published in 1960. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
As Mark Schorer comments, this is "the last, unfinished work of a distinguished, well loved critic, poet, and professor." After the death of Joseph Warren Beach, his colleague and friend William Van O'Connor, professor of English at the University of Minnesota, prepared the unfinished manuscript of this work for publication and wrote the foreword.
The work is primarily a study of certain words, phrases, and images that turn up with unusual frequency in modern American poetry, especially that of the decades of the 1930's and 1940's, and which are used in unusual senses, to carry special symbolisms, or to imply peculiar philosophical attitudes. Since the study is concerned with such recurring images and themes, many poets of distinction, in whose work they are not to be found, are left out, but Professor Beach also discusses the significance of the absence of these poets.
Students and critics will gain insight through this work into the characteristic attitudes of a generation of poets. The book is, moreover, a delight to read, reflecting, as it does, Mr. Beach's own love for the study of poetry. As Professor O'Connor points out, the tone is much more personal than that of Mr. Beach's other books.
As cultural documents, as works of art, and as historical records, photographs of 1930s Arizona tell a remarkable story. They capture enduring visions of the Depression that linger in cultural memory: dust storms, Okies on their way to California, breadlines, and ramshackle tent cities. They also reflect a more particular experience and a unique perspective. This book places the work of local Arizonans alongside that of federal photographers both to illuminate the impact of the Depression on the state’s distinctive racial and natural landscapes and to show the influence of differing cultural agendas on the photographic record. The more than one hundred images—by well-known photographers such as Dorothea Lange and Laura Gilpin as well as by an array of less familiar photographers—represent a variety of purposes and perspectives, from public to personal, political to promotional. Six essays and three photo-essays bring together prominent authorities in history, the arts, and other fields who provide diverse perspectives on this period in Arizona and American history. Viewed together, the words and images capture a Depression-era Arizona bustling with activity as federally funded construction projects and seasonal agricultural jobs brought migrants and newcomers to the state. They convey the celebrations and the struggles of commercial photographers, archaeologists, city folks, farmers, tourists, native peoples and others in these hard times. As the economic strains of the decade reverberated through the state, local photographers documented the lives of Arizona residents—including those frequently overlooked by historians. As this book persuasively shows, photographs can conceal as much as they reveal. A young Mexican American girl stands in front of a backdrop that hides the outhouse behind her, a deeply moving image for what it suggests about the efforts of her family to conceal their economic circumstances. Yet this image is a perfect metaphor for all the photographs in this book: stories remain hidden, but when viewers begin to question what they cannot see, pictures resonate more loudly than ever before. This book is a history of Arizona written from the photographic record, offering a point of view that may differ from the written record. From the images and the insights of the authors, we can gain a new appreciation of how one state—and its indomitable people—weathered our nation’s toughest times.
The motto “Eugenics is the self-direction of human evolution” was part of the logo of the Second International Congress of Eugenics, held in 1921. However, by the 1930s, the disturbing legacy of this motto had started to reveal itself in the construction of national identities in countries throughout the world. Popular Eugenics is a fascinating look at how such tendencies emerged within the rhetoric, ideology, and visual aesthetics of U.S. mass culture during the 1930s, offering detailed analysis of the way that eugenics appeared within popular culture and images of modernity, particularly during the Depression era.
The essays in this generously illustrated collection demonstrate how, after the scientific foundations of the eugenics movement had been weakened in the 1930s, eugenic beliefs spread into the popular media, including newspapers, movies, museum exhibits, plays, and novels, and even fashion shows and comic strips.
Popular Eugenics shows that eugenic thought persisted in science and culture as well as in social policy and goes a long way toward explaining the durability of eugenic thinking and its effects on social policy in the United States. Popular Eugenics will be of interest to scholars and students in a broad range of disciplines, especially American literature and history, popular culture, media studies, and the history of science.
In the 1930s, thousands of Finns emigrated from their communities in the United States and Canada to Soviet Karelia, a region in the Soviet Union where Finnish Communist émigrés were building a society to implement their ideals of socialist Finland. To their new socialist home, these immigrants brought critically needed skills, tools, machines, and money. Educated and skilled, American and Canadian Finns were regarded by Soviet authorities as agents of revolutionary transformations who would not only modernize the economy of Soviet Karelia, but also enlighten its society. North American immigrants, indeed, became active participants of socialist colonization of what Bolshevik leaders perceived as dark, uneducated and backward Soviet ethnic periphery. The Search for a Socialist El Dorado is the first comprehensive account in English of this fascinating story. Using a vast body of documentary sources from archives in Petrozavodsk and Moscow, Russian- and Finnish-language press and literature from the 1930s, oral history interviews and secondary literature, Alexey Golubev and Irina Takala explore in depth the “Karelian fever” among Finnish Americans and Canadians, and the lives of immigrants in the Soviet Union, their contribution to Soviet economy and culture, and their fates in the Great Terror.
As autobiographies by famous women like Eleanor Roosevelt and Amelia Earhart became bestsellers in the 1930s, American publishers sought out literary autobiographies from female novelists, poets, salon hosts, and editors. Templates for Authorship analyzes the market and cultural forces that created an unprecedented boom in American women’s literary autobiography.
Windy Counsell Petrie considers twelve autobiographies from a diverse group of writers, ranging from highbrow modernists such as Gertrude Stein and Harriet Monroe to popular fiction writers like Edith Wharton and Edna Ferber, and lesser known figures such as Grace King and Carolyn Wells. Since there were few existing examples of women’s literary autobiography, these writers found themselves marketed and interpreted within four cultural templates: the artist, the activist, the professional, and the celebrity. As they wrote their life stories, the women adapted these templates to counter unwanted interpretations and resist the sentimental feminine traditions of previous generations with innovative strategies of deferral, elision, comedy, and collaboration. This accessible study contends that writing autobiography offered each of these writers an opportunity to define and defend her own literary legacy.
Although much has been published about the economic downturn that began in mid-1929, very little has been written about the recovery from this cataclysmic period. Long, tortuous, and uneven as it was, there was indeed a recovery. In this important book, Steindl explores the much-neglected topic of the recovery, concentrating in particular on the macroeconomic developments responsible for the move back to a pre-Depression level economy.
Providing strong evidence for the role of the quantity of money in the revitalization, the author ultimately concludes that the seemingly robust monetary explanation of the recovery is deficient, as is any that relies principally on aggregate demand impulses. An accurate understanding of this phenomenon must account for the inherent tendency of the economy to revert to its long-run high employment trend.
Frank G. Steindl is Regents Professor of Economics and Ardmore Professor of Business Administration, Oklahoma State University.