Flappers- liberated young women of the 1920s Fashion



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1920s Research Paper Topics
Flappers- liberated young women of the 1920s

Fashion- clothing (formal & informal), uniforms, accessories, hair styles, industry, home-sewing

Amelia Earhart- first woman to fly across the Atlantic, women’s rights activist

Charles Lindbergh/ Anne Morrow Lindbergh- first to make a trans-Atlantic flight

Travel- (wealthy) summer & winter vacations & destinations, airline flights

Bessie Coleman- first African American female pilot, “Queen Bess”

Warren G. Harding- president, “Return to Normalcy,” racked by controversy

Calvin Coolidge- Harding’s successor, “Silent Cal” 4 year president

Herbert Hoover- president at end of 1920s, beginning of the Great Depression

Huey Long- controversial governor of Louisiana, “King Fish,” assassinated

Henry Ford- founder of Ford Motor company, made autos affordable for all

Al “Scarface” Capone- gangster, convicted for income tax evasion

Lucky Luciano- Sicilian- American mobster, father of modern organized crime

Bugs Moran- Chicago gangster, leader of the north side gang, target of St. Valentine’s Day Massacre

John Dillinger- famous bank robber, used schemes like pretending to be movie director or repairmen

Marcus Garvey- Garveyism, promoted “Black is Beautiful,” encouraged blacks to return to Africa

Zelda Fitzgerald- wife of F. Scott, dancer, schizophrenic
Prohibition- abolition of alcohol

Speakeasies- bars which operated during prohibition, usually controlled by organized crime

Bootleggers/ “Rum-running”- transporting alcohol illegally

Cotton Club- famous night club in NYC; famous AA played there even though the audience was white

Prohibition Era Meals- trends, cooking w/o alcohol, foreign (production, storage, & availability)

Ice Cream Socials- replacement for alcoholic bars= ice cream bars (toppings)

1920s Cookbooks & Cooking Education- trends, styles, correspondence courses
Tabloid Journalism- news which concentrated on local-interest or entertainment

Radio- “golden age of radio”-

Jazz Age- popular musical culture

Louis Armstrong- famous jazz singer and trumpet player

Bessie Smith- African American blues singer

George Gershwin and/or Ira Gershwin- composer and lyricist, music became Jazz standards

Rudy Vallee- accomplished musician, singer, actor, band leader

Vaudeville- (1880-1930) entertainment: musicals, freak shows, & plays

Movies- silent, talking pictures, movie theaters, popular movies

Will Rogers- Cherokee American, performer in Vaudeville, actor in 71 films

Charlie Chaplin- clown, mime, actor, director; wrote, directed, and stared in original films

Rudolph Valentino- popular Italian actor, “Latin Lover”

Mae West- controversial actress & playwright

Josephine Baker- first African American woman to star in a major motion picture, “Black Venus”

Martha Graham- dancer & choreographer, pioneered modern dance

Mickey Mouse/ Steamboat Willie/Walt Disney- first Disney cartoon to be made with sound

Harry Houdini- magician & escape artist

Ernest Hemingway- writer, influenced by world travel and cultures

Harlem Renaissance-African American cultural rebirth (music, writing, & art)

Langston Hughes- writer, influential during Harlem Renaissance

Pablo Picasso/Cubism- Spanish artist, founder of Cubism- style concentrating on shapes & abstraction

Clara Bow- actress, the “it girl” flapper star
Jack Dempsey- boxer who held the world heavy-weight title from 1919-1926

Black Sox Scandal- 1919 World Series, players banned from the sport for “throwing” the game

Babe Ruth- controversial baseball player, considered the greatest

Negro leagues- Negro National League, the Eastern Colored League, and the Negro Southern League

Red Grange- professional and college football player, 2008-ESPN named the greatest player of all time

Robert Trent “Bobby” Jones- professional golfer

Automobiles/ Car travel- styles, road construction & management, affect on society

Horse Racing- popularity, famous horses, riders and courses, gambling

Car Racing- race cars, speed, safety, famous drivers, race courses

Toys- manufactured, brand names, home-made, boys vs. girls

Contests & Fads- dance contests and marathons, pole sitting, popularity, response to wartime

Casinos & Gambling- clubs, popular games, money earned, legality
Advertizing- techniques, style & attitude, brand loyalty, changes after WWI

Black Tuesday”- Wall Street Crash of 1929, beginning of the Great Depression



Police Corruption- New York, Chicago, Las Vegas, Chief Charles Becker electrocuted

Red Scare- fear of socialism, communism, and anarchy

Sacco-Vanzetti trial- anarchists who were tried, convicted, and executed; controversy remains

John T. Scopes “monkey trial”- theory of evolution taught in public schools

Ku Klux Klan- white supremacy group

Navitism & Immigration policies- government acts & fear in general population

Exploratory Research:

Read a few different sources to generate an overview of your topic, and its potential.


Formulating a Research Question:

Try out different “lenses.” To discover a unique approach to a particular topic, view it through different “lenses,” or perspectives. A historian, an economist, a scientist, and an artist would look at Prohibition in different ways. This cluster diagram illustrates questions you might develop when considering different aspects of a topic.





Other possible research questions: Other possible lenses:

How does __________ connect to issues in current society? Scientific

How did ____________ reflect or affect the life of the common man? Environmental

How was ___________ a detriment or a benefit to mankind? Global effects

How was ___________ a reflection of the Roaring Twenties? Educational

How did ____________ help to develop the American identity?


Choose the question that intrigues you the most and write a goal statement to focus your thinking and guide your research. You are likely to change or refine this statement as you do your research, but write the clearest, most focused statement that you can right now.
Example Goal: to write a research paper that investigates how and why Prohibition actually increased crime instead of preventing it.
Your research question and goal statement will develop into your thesis after you have read, interpreted, and drawn conclusions from a variety of sources.


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