||Life Expectancy: Male 48.4 Female: 51.8
||Average Salary $750 / year
||The Ziegfeld girls earned $75/week
||National Debt: $1.15 billion
||Union Membership: 2.1 million; Strikes
||Attendance: Movies 30 million per week
||Vacation: 12 day cruise $60
||Whiskey $3.50 / gallon, Milk $.32 / gallon
||Speeds make automobile safety an issue
||25,000 performers tour 4,000 U.S. theaters
1910s was a decade of unrest and reform in America. In spite
of the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890, monopolies persisted.
Factories had unsafe working conditions, and children were
hired to work in factories and mines for long hours with little
compensation. As the middle class became more unsatisfied
with their situation, labor unions grew more powerful. Finally,
by the middle of the decade, all states had passed a minimum
age law. Twenty percent of children living in cities were
undernourished and fewer than 10 percent graduated from high
school. The status of Black Americans worsened, and skilled
Black workers were barred from the AFL union. Women marched
for equality from 1910 till 1919 when the 19th amendment was
World War I, the first "war
to end all wars" was fought and America became the most
highly industrialized nation in the world. The mass production
of the automobile resulted in profound cultural change.
1914, the first moving assembly line began and the millionth
Model T rolled off the assembly line with a price tag of $345.
The National Park Service was created,
and Prohibition was initiated in 1919. Jim Thorpe, an American
Indian won gold medals at the Olympics, the first parachute
jump was made, and The Girl Scouts of America were formed.
The American presidents of the decade
were William Howard Taft (1909 - 1913) and Woodrow Wilson
(1913 - 1921).
fashion turned more toward comfort, though the ladies quickly
fell for the hobble skirt. Fabrics were lighter, colors brighter,
and styles looser. Necklines plunged and cold cream and lemon
extract were big sellers in the cosmetics industry. The "Tea
Gown" was worn in the home, the sack, sheath, oriental
styles, harem trousers and the Hellenic tunic were introduced
and became popular. Furs were all the rage.
wore striped trousers, morning coats and starched white shirts.
On formal occasions a frock coat and top hat were worn. At
home, they wore informal lounging suits, tweed jackets and
Since the Model T was affordable,
speed was "in." Chevrolet, Dodge, DeSoto and Nash
were introduced. The wealthier preferred the Cadillac, Buick,
Pierce, Haynes, Packard and Studebaker. Luxurious ocean cruises
were all the rage (the Titanic sank on April 15, 1912, costing
the lives of over 1500 people). A conveniently sized Kodak
camera made picture taking easier and became popular with
the general public.
toys included the erector set, tinker toys, Lincoln logs,
and the Ouija Board.
Ballroom dancing was popular, as
were the Fox Trot and the Tango. Parents agonized over loosening
morality — lipstick was worn and actresses were showing
Music written and performed by Black
Americans made jazz, ragtime and blues popular. Memorable
songs of the decade include "Alexander's Ragtime Band,"
"Danny Boy," "You made Me Love You," "Ah!
Sweet Mystery of Life," "The Aba Daba Honeymoon,"
and "All I Do is Dream of You." Wartime songs included
"Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag," "Keep
the Home Fires Burning," "Over There," "Till
We Meet Again," "Oh, How I Hate to Get Up in the
Morning," and "Hinky Dinky Parlay Vous."
Movies were extremely popular. Favorites
were "The Floorwalker" (Charlie Chaplin), "Daddy
Long Legs," "Les Miserables," "A Tale
of Two Cities," and "The Perils of Pauline."