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Americana

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America's Favorite Illustrator (Pageant Magazine, 1947)

Norman Rockwell (1894 – 1978) once remarked in an interview:

“The view of life I communicate in my pictures excludes the sordid and the ugly. I paint life as I would like it to be.”

- and his vision was shared with millions of Americans. He had a fondness for depicting everyday life in small town America, childhood friendships, family life, middle school sporting events and (as discussed in the attached article) the Boy Scouts. He knew who he was; he never referred to himself as an artist, he called himself an illustrator.

 

America's Ever-Changing Mind: 1929 - 1952 (Pageant Magazine, 1953)

In an effort to show how American thought can vary between decades, a retired pollster from the Gallup organization collected the data gleaned from various opinion polls that were launched between 1929 on up through the dawn of the Atomic Age in order to show what a different people we had become. The topics that were addressed were

• Racial tolerance
• Taxes
• Women in the work place
• Labor unions
• Women smoking
• Bathing Suits

 

A Foreigner's View of 1930s America (Focus Magazine, 1938)

In his effort serve his editors at FOCUS MAGAZINE and alert their curious readers just how Europeans saw the American culture, German photographer Bernd Lohse (1911 - 1995) traveled throughout the country taking snap-shots of everything that charmed and repelled him - take a look for yourself.

 

Popcorn Finds a Home at the Movies (Quick Magazine, 1952)

Popcorn was introduced as a snack food to American movie-goers as a result of the candy shortages during the earliest years of the Second World War.
Attached is a petite notice documenting the fact that the substitute was a wise one:

"By 1952, movie houses accounted for about one-third of the nation's annual $350 million retail popcorn sales."

Reference is also made to the efforts that were made to secure "noiseless" popcorn bags.

If popcorn replaced sweets on the home front, what replaced steak?

 

American Love is Better (People Today Magazine, 1955)

This article is based on the research of Paul Popenoe (1888 - 1979), and the American Sociological Society that pointed out the high STD rate in Europe at the time indicated that the first sexual experiences among the males of that continent were with prostitutes. Two additional factors in the author's argument highlighted the alarmingly high suicide rate among young European women coupled with the fact that the illegitimate birthrate far outpaced that of the United States at that time. Illustrated with four images that depict how depraved European dating in the Fifties was and how darn wholesome American teenage dating used to be by comparison, this article presents some sociological data supporting the conclusion that American love is better than European love because the American approach to the topic was simply "easier" and Europeans are just a bunch of pervs.

 

Howard Johnson's Roadside Restaurants (Coronet Magazine, 1946)

By the mid-Twenties millions of cars were on America's highways and by-ways and family road trips were all the rage. However, the few roadside food stands that existed at the time were woefully inadequate and numerous journalists in every locale were writing articles about the various stomach aches that were regularly descending upon hapless motorists who patronized these businesses. This article is about a Massachusetts fellow named Howard Johnson -

"Somewhere along the line he figured out that what America needed even more than a good five-cent cigar was a chain of stands that would take the chance out of roadside eating."

Johnson's recipe for success was simple: good food, served in attractive surroundings. Americans flocked to his restaurants in huge numbers - at one time there were as many as 1,000 in existence (today, there are two). He is largely remembered for having written the book on restaurant franchising.

 


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