|From this rubble the United States
emerged as one of the world's acknowledged super powers. Repulsed by the
chaos and wary of world leadership, however, Americans vowed not to be
drawn into another European conflict. Its attention and energies turned
inward, America embarked on an age of success, excess, heroes and villains.
Few decades have been filled with so much yet ended so quickly as the
1920s. Businesses boomed, the stock market soared, heroes abounded and
Americans reveled as part of the "happy-go-lucky generation." Before the
1920s ended in the worse stock market crash in history, America underwent
a transformation from 19th century Victorian life and business to a 20th
century dynamo, setting the standards for a transformed society and industrial
It was an age of some of America's greatest writers, sports heroes,
and business leaders, an age of scientific advances and technological wonders,
an age when electricity, automobiles and the telephone passed from luxury
to necessity. It was also an age of villains, scandals, and racism. But
it was an age that gave us lasting impressions, added new words to our
everyday vocabulary and forever changed how we live.
The names from that time are legendary: Babe Ruth, Charles Lindbergh,
Henry Ford, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jack Dempsey, Rudolph Valentino, Al Capone,
and Louis Armstrong. The decade gave us the Florida land scams, the speakeasy,
rum-runners, the flapper, the radio, Mah-Jongg, and the "It" girl. It liberated
women socially and politically but not necessarily economically. It celebrated
being American yet vilified foreigners. Business became a religion while
celebrities reached god-like status.
All That Jazz
traces the panorama of the "roaring" decade that was America in the 1920s.
Drawn from the collections of individuals and institutions from across
the country, the artifacts, documents, photographs and music provide a
sweeping look of the time with a focus on the defining events, trends and
innovations that made the 1920s such and unprecedented and pivotal decade.