Welcome to the 1920s!

The Roaring Twenties—the decade that careened from the heights of vaudeville and silent film to the depths of Prohibition; a time when gangsters, flappers, bootleggers, and jazz musicians came right into the parlor courtesy of a new invention called radio; the moment that women declared their independence at the ballot box, raised their hems, bobbed their hair, slurped bathtub gin, and shimmied late into the night.  

As a writer/historian working on a mystery series set in the Roaring Twenties, I’ve come across mountains of fascinating information that, sad to say, will never find its way into my novels. This is my way to share it. Contact me at mmtheobald@gmail.com. 

Published on August 8, 2009 at 3:34 am  Comments (15)  

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  1. I like this site–you do a nice job of being informative without cluttering up the place. Cool links too. Any samples of your fiction available for publicperusal yet?


    PS–had no idea your biography was so extensive in history! Wow!

  2. I enjoyed the youtube links. This is a good site for getting a feel of the times.

  3. Cool Site! How bout more 1920’s cars, planes, and boats?

  4. I’m a junior this year in high school and need to find a topic for a stupid assignment for my U.S. History class. One part that I saw from the reading that got my attention was the section about poisining and the different methods they used during the 20’s to murder people. Also this was much more interesting then the other sites that I asked about the 20s

    • Why don’t you ask your teacher if you can write your assignment on how the Ku Klux Klan was destroyed in Indiana? When the Grand Dragon (that’s the namne for the state leader)kidnapped, tortured, and raped a young woman who wouldn’t date him, she swallowed poison trying to kill herself. He didn’t call a doctor for obvious reasons, and she died. The trial and publicity gave the KKK a terrible reputation and effectively ended the organization, in Indiana anyway. There is plenty of resource material at your library or on line for this topic. Start with an encyclopedia or wikipedia for the overview, then see http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=8390,

  5. Very interesting. I am writing a memoir/novel based on my Grandmother’s poems. But the more I delve into my grandparents life the more I want to write about their young life together that started in 1925. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and work.

    • I can understand. The Twenties is a fascinating decade. My grandparents were married in 1920, and I often think of how they coped with all the changes that occurred during those years.

  6. Hello, Mary! I came across your site while doing some research for a piece I’m writing. What a wealth of information. You do a wonderful job! Thank you!

    • Glad to be of service! What are you writing??

  7. I just finished Silent Murders and enjoyed it as much as The Impersonator. I share your interest in L.A. history, and gave many lectures on it during the 29 years I lived in LA County.
    Two thoughts on upcoming books: the Venice canals fit into your timeframe, and from 1924 to 1929, the rise of the automobile caused them to transform into streets. What an opportunity to bury a body.

    Since you like to use historical people, you might consider that several First Ladies were part of L.A. history. Lou Henry Hoover was the daughter of Whittier’s first banker. My recall is a bit rusty, but I believe she was the first woman to earn an advanced degree in science from Stanford, which is where she met her future husband. I’ve never researched Eleanor Roosevelt, but I have no she would have in L.A. at various times during her life.

    Good wishes,
    Joe Da Rold
    Retired Library Director
    Plainfield NJ

    • Oh, I love your idea about burying a body in the canals as they are filled in! I’ll remember that one.
      Thanks for the encouragement!

  8. Hi Mary,
    Just wanted to say that this website was just what i was looking for. Why?
    Because my school is doing a production called “Out There” which is where we do different skits and acts to suit a particular time period and this year is 1920’s. For the production i am in charge of marketing and the directing the short silent film we will be making and showing. The information in this gave me so much information to show the rest of the Unit 3/4 Theater studies class and help them with their research. We also plan to set up the hall like a 1920’s music hall with food and snacks throughout the show.

    Also wondering if you had any information on 1920’s animation and music halls and stage productions. If you do it would be amazing and could really help us out. 🙂

    Bryce Sandall
    Chairo Christian School, Drouin

    • I’m so glad the blog is a help. Your project sounds like fun. Directing a silent movie would be a hoot! You could get a megaphone to shout the directions, since there were few, if any, rehearsals. You could get a trio of musicians to “play the mood” from the corner while filming (sad, happy, scary music to go with the scene). You might add color to the movie if you can hold a colored filter in front of the lens to give everything a reddish or bluish tint for the scenes that are hot or cold or whatever. I don’t know much about animation, except that Mickey Mouse didn’t get started until late 1928 and it was, of course, black and white. Good luck!

  9. Neat. I’m a big fan of the 1920s, too, and may want to discuss some ideas I’ve had.

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