Epic Parties you Wish You Went To: The Roaring 20s in Photos

Epic Parties you Wish You Went To: The Roaring 20s in Photos

By Jacob Miller

The Roaring Twenties was a period of economic prosperity and social, artistic, and cultural opulence which occurred in the wake of World War 1. The Roaring Twenties witnessed large-scale development of technologies such as the automobile, telephone, movies, and radio.

The Roaring Twenties saw the rise of jazz, the blues, and dance clubs. There was a break away from the more traditional Foxtrots and Waltzes, to the more eccentric and novel Breakaway and Charleston, based on African American musical styles and beats.

Flappers were the generation of women in the Roaring 20s who wore short skirts, bobbed their hair, listened to jazz, and broke away from all traditional societal norms. Flappers were renowned for their makeup, drinking, smoking, driving, and casual sex.

“In all countries, the First World War weakened old orthodoxies and authorities, and, when it was over, neither government nor church nor school nor family had the power to regulate the lives of human beings as it had once done. One result of this was a profound change in manners and morals that made a freer and less restrained society. Women benefited from this as much as anyone else. Time-worn prescriptions concerning what was or was not proper behavior for them no longer possessed much credibility, and taboos about unaccompanied appearances in public places, or the use of liquor or tobacco, or even pre-marital sexual relationships had lost their force. … [W]omen were no longer as vulnerable to the tyranny of society as they had been [before].” — Historian Gordon A. Craig

The Roaring Twenties also saw the Harlem Renaissance, the intellectual, social, and artistic movement that took place in Harlem, NY. Although the movement is said to have begun in 1918, it hit its zenith in 1924 with the publication of the academic journal published by the National Urban League entitled, Opportunity: A Journal of Negro Life.

During the Harlem Renaissance, African Americans used art as an expression of their humanity, demand equality, and lay the foundation for the Civil Rights Movement. The Harlem Renaissance brought the ‘black’ experience into the lexes of American cultural, and sociological,  history.

Overall, the Roaring Twenties were marked by a spirit of novelty and modernity. The Wall Street Crash of 1929 ended the era, and so began the Great Depression.

Bee Jackson, the World Champion of the 1920s dance craze the Charleston. Photo- Hulton-Deutsch Collection: Corbis Expand Photo
Couturier Jacques Fath takes the party out on his lawn, accompanied with Gene Tierney, dressed as a flapper. Photo- Bettmann: Corbis
Louise Brooks. Photo- Bettmann: Corbis
Dancing at a cabaret. Photo Sygma: Corbis
Model Claudia Dell poses semi-nude in nothing but feathers and fringed silk. Photo- Corbis
Germaine, a twenties model, wears a turban and pearl necklace. Photo- Hulton-Deutsch Collection: Corbis
Josephine Baker once graced the Moulin Rouge stage with her famous banana dance, which is still performed by solo dancers today. Photo- Julio Donoso:Sygma: Corbis
A photographic montage of the Charleston. Photo- Hulton-Deutsch Collection: Corbis
Actress Nancy Carroll reclines fashionably in silk fringe. Photo- John Springer Collection: Corbis
Rebel with a garter flask, 1926. whizzpast

 

A couple of fashionable women, 1920s. whizzpast
Miss Universe Ella Van Hueson, circa June 16, 1928. whizzpast
Dancing the Charleston on a railing in front of the US Capitol. whizzpast
Silent film star Evelyn Brent, 1924. whizzpast
Washington Cat Show at the Wardman Park Hotel in Washington D.C. whizzpast
Cambridge undergraduates, 1926. whizzpast

 

1920s amusement park. whizzpast
Coney Island beach, July 1922. Photo from NYC Municipal Archives via the Atlantic Cities.
Flappers drinking bootleg alcohol during prohibition, summer 1925. Photo via the New Yorker.
Celebrating the repeal of Prohibition at the Casino in Central Park in 1933. Credit Bettmann: CORBIS
The Central Park casino became a hot nightspot after Mayor Jimmy Walker pledged to revamp it when he took office in 1926. The New Yorker
Some solid advice during the July 4, 1921, anti-prohibition parade. Photo via MCNY
Looking dapper during the July 4, 1921 prohibition parade. Photo via MCNY
More signs in the July 4, 1921, anti-prohibition parade. Photo via MCNY
Flapper girls, summer 1920s. Photo via Beautiful Little Fools
Jazz showgirls at the $7,000,000 home of Senator William A. Clark, on Fifth Avenue. 1927. Getty Images
New York City prohibition agents dumping liquor into the gutter. allthatisinteresting
The Cotton Club on 142nd Street. allthatisinteresting
Times Square illuminated during the 1920s. allthatisinteresting
Harlem became a cultural hub for dynamic jazz and blues as well as a platform for rising jazz artists like Louis Armstrong, Bessie Smith, Coleman Hawkins and “King” Oliver. allthatisinteresting
Model Hannah Lee Sherman dressed in a Chanel coat, brimless hat, fox stole, suede bag, and snakeskin shoes is helped out of a car on Park Avenue. Getty Images