The Great Depression was upon us and WWII was looming. Between 1929 and 1932, 13 million Americans had lost their jobs...amazing numbers considering the times (or any time period, for that matter). That being said, we're all familiar with devastation of the Depression and WWII, so we'll try to make this a lighter post, with a focus on architecture, fashion and music.
The Empire State Building with Photo by Bobby Mikul
I remember driving home from my first vacation (sometime in my early twenties). I was driving up the NJ Turnpike toward my home, just north of Manhattan. There's a small ridge and suddenly, you see the city (those of you who drive it all the time know what I mean:))...the Empire State Building standing proud in what I now understood was a city like no other. I think about that trip often. It was the first time that I had really left the NY area and in my small world, I thought that every city was like NY. As we drove through city upon city, I kept waiting for a "City". Richmond, Atlanta, Louisville, New Orleans, etc.,...each beautiful in their own right. At each city border, I would wait anxiously for the mass of tall buildings and lights. Finally, on my return, I realized that NY truly is one of a kind. I also realized how naive I was to think that every city in the US was like NY! The Empire State Building was the first landmark that I ventured up as a child, followed closely by the Statue of Liberty (quite the walk at that time). It holds a special place in my heart and when I see that building, I feel like I'm home.
They broke ground on the Empire State Building in Jan. of 1930 - the building was completed by May of 1931! Today it would probably take 5 years to complete. Granted, labor laws were different, as were unions but the flip side of that, is the lack of technology in their working environment. This was quite a group of men (3,000 to be exact).
Now that I've had my trip down memory lane...
The 1930's were very much a time of change. War was on the horizon, movies and broadcasting were leaving the gate and fashion was a combination of flouncy, floral abandonment and functional, conservative attire. Many of my favorite designers began their careers at this time...Nettie Rosenstein (one of the first Neiman Marcus Fashion Award Recipients in 1938), Hattie Carnegie and Elsa Schiaparelli... to name a few.
The Empire State Building opens with President Herbert Hoover flipping the light switch.
Florals, Flared Skirts & Fur Trimmed Suits, are all the rage with Carole Lombard and Claudette Colbert modeling the designer's creations.
Al Capone goes to jail for tax evasion
The Christ Monument is built in Rio de Janeiro
Roosevelt wins election
Air conditioning is invented (Thank you!!!)
Amelia Earhart Flies across the Atlantic
Lindbergh Baby Kidnapping
Zippo Lighters are Introduced
Roosevelt Establishes the New Deal
The 21st Amendment Ends Prohibition
The Dust Bowl begins, causing droughts and devastation across the Great Plains States
Hitler is appointed Chancellor of Germany
The Loch Ness Monster makes his first appearance
Billie Holiday sings "I'll be seeing you" at Carnegie Hall - While this is 1956, Billie Holiday was such a large part of 1930's music - I didn't think anyone would mind the insertion:)
The Apollo Theater Opens in Harlem
The First 3 Stooges Short Film is Released
Bonnie & Clyde Begin Their Spree
Persia is Renamed Iran
Parker Bros. Releases Monopoly
"Scrooge" Opens in the US
Fallingwater is designed by Frank Lloyd Wright
Mutiny on the Bounty is the Highest Grossing Film
"The Phantom" Makes it's First US Appearance
The Hoover Dam is Completed
The Canadian Broadcasting System Goes on the Air
MC Escher's First "Regular Division of the Plane" Drawings
"San Francisco" with Clark Gable & Jeanette MacDonald is the Highest Grossing Film
The First Issue of "Look" Magazine Goes on Sale (and so our obsession begins:))
Amelia Earhart Disappears
Spam is Invented
Ernest Hemingway Publishes "To Have and Have Not". His second novel and a social commentary on the 1930's.
The March of Dimes is Established by FDR
Thornton Wilder's "Our Town" is Performed for the First Time in Princeton, NJ
The Ski Tow is Invented
Nylon (Dupont) is First Used Commercially
The First "Bugs Bunny" is Released
Marks the Start of WWII
1939 World's Fair Opens in NYC
"Batman" makes his First Appearance in Comic Book Form
"Hedda Hopper's Hollywood" debuts on Radio
CBS Television begins Transmission
Often Considered the Greatest Year in Hollywood History..."Gone with the Wind", "The Wizard of Oz", "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington"...need I say more:)
Looking for 1930's fashion, jewelry, art, housewares, porcelain, pottery or glass...
Thanks so much for reading!