Chapter 24 – The New Era – People/Terms
Frederick Taylor - The U.S. engineer Frederick Winslow Taylor, b. Philadelphia, Mar. 20, 1856, d. Mar.
21, 1915, is known as the "father of scientific management." He began working at 18 as an apprentice
pattern maker and machinist in Philadelphia. Three years later he joined Midvale Steel Company as a
machine shop laborer and worked his way up to chief engineer. In 1881, Taylor began to study how
individual tasks were being performed. He timed each task and then greatly increased individual
productivity by rearranging work stations and the flow of materials through the mill. Thus began the first of
the time and motion studies (see time and motion study) that made Taylor famous. He applied his
principles of efficiency engineering to many industries as a consulting engineer after graduating (1883)
from Stevens Institute of Technology. His Principles of Scientific Management (1911) is a classic in
A.F. of L. - The conservative American Federation of Labor remained wedded to the concept of the craft union, in which workers were organized on the basis of particular skills. In the meantime, a huge new
segment of the work force was emerging: unskilled industrial workers, many of them immigrants from
southern or eastern Europe. They received little sympathy or attention from the craft unions and found
themselves, as a result, with no organizations to join. The AFL, moreover, remained painfully timid about
supporting strikes throughout the 1920s partly in reaction to the disastrous setbacks it had suffered in 1919.
William Green, who became president of the organization in 1924, was committed to peaceful cooperation
with employers and strident opposition to communism and socialism.
McNary -Haugen Bill - The legislative expression of the demand for parity was the McNary-Haugen bill,
named after its two principal sponsors in Congress and introduced repeatedly between 1924 and 1928. In
1924, a bill requiring parity only for grain failed in the House. Two years later, with cotton, tobacco, and
rice added to win Southern support, the measure passed, only to fall victim to a veto by President Coolidge.
In 1928, it won congressional approval again, only to succumb to another presidential veto. Although
farmers had impressive political strength, as long as agrarian problems did not seem to affect the general
prosperity there was little hope for reform.
Bruce Barton - Bruce Barton. In The Man Nobody Knows, Barton drew a portrait of Jesus Christ as not
only a religious prophet but also a "super salesman" who "picked up twelve men from the bottom ranks of
business and forged them into an organization that conquered the world." The parables, Barton argued,
were "the most powerful advertisements of all time." Barton's message, a message apparently in tune with
the new spirit of the consumer culture, was that Jesus had been a man concerned with living a full and
rewarding life in this world; twentieth-century men and women should do the same. "Life," Barton wrote
on another occasion, "is meant to live and enjoy as you go along."
Jazz Singer - Contrary to legend, The Jazz Singer (1927) was neither the first talking motion picture nor the first to use synchronized sound. But it was the first commercial feature film to replace title cards with
spoken dialogue that moved the plot along, and the first to integrate musical numbers into the narrative
rather than dropping them in as isolated novelty bits. The simple story--a cantor's son (Al Jolson) breaks
into show business--suited the new sound technology. Noisy cameras had to be isolated in a soundproof
booth, essentially immobilizing them, for sequences with song or speech. So director Alan Crosland shot
the four musical numbers in The Jazz Singer as long, static shots of Jolson singing, with no camera
movement or cutting, while the remainder of the movie has the fluid activity of silent films. It was Jolson
singing--principally "My Mammy" and "Toot Toot Tootsie Goodbye"--that audiences wanted. His vitality
transcended the technology, turning The Jazz Singer into such an astounding money-maker that every
studio had converted to sound within two years. Others in the cast included Warner Oland as the cantor,
May McAvoy, and Otto Lederer.
KDKA - what is regarded as the nation's first true radio station, KDKA in Pittsburgh, Pa. KDKA broadcast scheduled music programs, sports, and the 1920 presidential election. During the following year
Westinghouse began to sell radio sets. The least expensive model cost $25. By 1924 the radio-listening
audience numbered 20 million.
National Broadcasting Co. - American Marconi's primary commitment had been to transoceanic
telegraphy, and the establishment of RCA was also intended to advance U.S. interests in that field. The
notion that radio itself might become a "household utility" was advanced by David Sarnoff, a onetime
telegraph operator and American Marconi employee. As early as 1916, Sarnoff had suggested that music
could be brought into American households via "a simple Radio Music Box," or wireless receiver. As
commercial manager of RCA, Sarnoff began to manufacture radios, and their sale became the chief source of RCA profits.
With those profits, Sarnoff hoped to establish a national broadcasting network, whose principal elements were to be "entertainment, information, and education, with emphasis on the first feature--entertainment." In 1926, RCA purchased WEAF from AT&T for $1 million as the nucleus of a broadcasting network. AT&T retained its own financial interest in broadcasting by supplying land lines to link the network's stations. During the same year RCA established its broadcasting subsidiary, the National Broadcasting Company.
In 1927, Congress passed the Radio Act, which created a Federal Radio Commission empowered to license and regulate stations. Networks, whose influence was largely unforeseen, were free from direct FRC regulation.
William Paley and the Founding of CBS
The Columbia Broadcasting System, organized as a rival network to NBC, was founded in 1927, and rapidly passed through a number of owners--including the Columbia Phonograph Company, which gave the network its name. In 1928, William S. Paley, scion of a wealthy cigar manufacturing family, bought the network, and bolstered the financially weak firm by selling shares, borrowing money, and moving the network headquarters to Madison Avenue, New York City, not far from NBC's on Fifth Avenue. Paley also negotiated new affiliate contracts. Whereas NBC charged affiliates to carry sustaining (nonsponsored) programs, CBS supplied them free in return for 5 hours of affiliates' time. The favorable terms helped CBS attract 47 stations to its roster by the end of 1929. Paley's entrepreneurial acumen now offered a significant challenge to NBC's dominance of domestic broadcasting.
The Depression also affected RCA, which no longer earned profits on the sale of radios. Thus NBC was forced to adopt a fully commercial policy much like that of CBS. In 1931, NBC made its first profit: $2,300,000. The following year, during a complex reorganization inspired by a threatened monopoly suit, RCA head Owen D. Young resigned, and Sarnoff took his place. In 1933 he moved RCA-NBC to its current headquarters in Rockefeller Plaza, New York City.
Charles Darwin - ON THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES
In 1856, Darwin began to write his theory of evolution by natural selection, but before he had finished (1858), he received a paper from naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace outlining a theory similar to his own. Friends arranged for the two men to present a joint paper before the Linnaean Society of London in 1858. On Nov. 24, 1859, an abstract of Darwin's theory was published under the weighty title of On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.
In this book, Darwin presented his idea that species evolve from more primitive species through the process of natural selection, which works spontaneously in nature. In his account of how natural selection occurs, known as Darwinism, he pointed out that not all individuals of a species are exactly the same but, rather, that individuals have variations and that some of these variations make their bearers better adapted to particular ecological conditions. He pointed out that most species produce more eggs and offspring than ever reach maturity. He theorized that well-adapted individuals of a species have more chance of surviving and producing young than do the less adapted, and that over the passage of time the latter are slowly weeded out. The accumulation of adaptations to a particular ecological way of life leads--if there is a geographic split of the population--into the development of separate species, each adapted to its own particular ecological living space. It remained for the later science of genetics to provide an explanation for this process.
The effect of On the Origin of Species was immediate and widespread. The book upset many established pat terns of thought, contradicted firmly held religious tenets, and brought into focus the concept that humans are one species among many that had evolved from a more primitive one. Debates on the theory raged all over England, Europe, and the United States. Even as recently as 1925, Darwin's theory of evolution created such furor that it culminated in the famous Scopes trial in Tennessee. Though the evidence Darwin presented was strong, some scientists aligned themselves with orthodox churchmen and others who opposed the theory. Other scientists enthusiastically embraced it.
Darwin himself did not become deeply involved in the defense of his theory, leaving that to others, notably English biologist Thomas Henry Huxley. One of the book's greatest effects was the spur it gave biological research. Scientists in all fields of biology pursued research to substantiate or refute Darwin's ideas. Darwin's basic ideas spread to other disciplines, too, although sometimes in a form not true to the original
concept, such as the so-called Social Darwinism that encouraged a ruthless interpretation of "survival-of-the-fittest" ideas. Eugenics, a term coined by Darwin's relative Sir Francis Galton to describe controlled improvement of species, including humans, was also based on Darwin's premises.
Darwin continued to write and do research, expanding ideas he had presented in On the Origin of Species. In The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex (1871), Darwin provided evidence for human evolution from more primitive species and discussed the role of sexual selection in evolution. His later studies were devoted to investigations of plants. Among his botanical works were Insectivorous Plants (1875), which described how the sundew traps and digests insects, and The Power of Movement in Plants (1880), in which he wrote how light influences the direction of plant growth. His last work, Formation of Vegetable Mould through the Action of Worms (1881), detailed the manner in which earthworms enrich and aerate soil, benefiting agriculture. Darwin died in Downe on Apr. 19, 1882, and was buried in Westminster Abbey. He has been praised as one of the greatest figures in the history of biology. Robert/Helen Merrell Lynd - Robert Staughton Lynd, b. New Albany, Ind., Sept. 26, 1892, d. Nov. 1,
1970, was a sociologist who studied complex social organizations. He is best known for his careful analysis of daily life in middle America. Together with his wife, Helen Merrell Lynd, b. Mar. 17, 1894, d. June 30, 1982, he wrote Middletown: A Study in Contemporary American Culture (1929) and Middletown in Transition: A Study in Cultural Conflicts (1937). These classic works analyze how social change occurs in advanced industrialized society and provide a model of why modernization takes place. The Lynds's approach was the pragmatic application of traditional sociology to the problems of society, specifically, to a study of Muncie, Ind. ("Middletown"). Lynd was a professor of sociology at Columbia University from 1931 to 1960.
John Watson - Thomas John Watson, b. Campbell, N.Y., Feb. 17, 1874, d. June 19, 1956, was a U.S.
businessman who promoted the International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) to a position of world prominence. In 1914, Watson was made president of the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company, a firm that changed its name to IBM in 1924. Remaining president until retiring in 1949, he greatly expanded IBM's product line to include all kinds of business machines and after World War II developed electronic computers. By the time of his death the firm sold its products in 82 countries and had assets in excess of $630 million. In his private life Watson was a philanthropist and art patron and collector. Margaret Sanger - Margaret Sanger, b. Margaret Higgins in Corning, N.Y., Sept. 14, 1879, d. Sept. 6,
1966, coined the term birth control and was a pioneer of the birth-control movement in the United States. As a nurse in New York City slums she was appalled at the deaths from self-induced abortions. When she opened a birth-control clinic in Brooklyn in 1916, she was arrested for creating a public nuisance. Her struggle with the law dramatized her cause and won doctors the right to dispense birth-control information to their patients. She founded the National Birth Control League in 1914 and was the first president of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (1953). She published her autobiography in 1938. Alice Paul - The American feminist Alice Paul, b. Moorestown, N.J., Jan. 11, 1885, d. July 9, 1977, was a
leader in the fight for women's suffrage; she submitted an early version of an equal rights amendment to Congress in 1923. A tough-minded reformer, Paul worked (1907-10) with militant women suffragists in England while pursuing graduate education. After her return to America she was dismissed from the gradualist National American Woman Suffrage Association because she applied militant tactics to the suffrage cause. She formed (1913) the National Woman's party and used protest marches and other forms of direct action to focus attention on the movement. From 1920, when the Nineteenth Amendment granting the vote to women was ratified, she worked for enactment of an Equal Rights Amendment.
Gen. Fed. Of Women’s Clubs - The General Federation of Women's Clubs, the YWCA, and other female
philanthropic and reform groups expanded. Responding to the suffrage victory, women organized the League of Women Voters and the women's auxiliaries of both the Democratic and Republican parties. Female-dominated consumer groups grew rapidly and increased the range and energy of their efforts.
League of Women’s Voters - Founded in Chicago in 1920, the League of Women Voters is an
organization that attempts to further the development of political awareness through political participation. The league, an offshoot of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, was organized in 1920, the year of national enfranchisement of women, to educate the female electorate in the use of their right to vote. Though originally limited to women, the league voted in 1974 to extend membership to men. League membership remains at approximately 100,000. The league activities are no longer limited to issues involving women's rights but center on any important national political or social concern. The league consists of more than 1,200 state and local chapters. It conducts studies, distributes responsibly prepared information on candidates and issues, runs voter-registration drives, takes stands on pending
legislation, and sponsors presidential debates. Biennial conventions are held to establish programs and policy decisions.
Sheppard-Towner Act - Women activists won an apparent triumph in 1921 when they helped secure
passage of a measure in keeping with the traditional feminist goal of securing "protective" legislation for women: the Sheppard-Towner Act. It provided federal funds to states to establish prenatal and child health care programs. From the start, however, it produced controversy both inside and outside women's ranks.
Sigmund Freud - Sigmund Freud, b. May 6, 1856, d. Sept. 23, 1939, the creator of psychoanalysis, was
the first person to scientifically explore the human unconscious mind; his ideas profoundly influenced the shape of modern culture by altering man's view of himself. Freud was born in Freiberg, Moravia (now Pribor, Czech Republic), the oldest child of his father's second wife. Before Freud was 4 years of age, the family moved first to Leipzig, Germany, and then to Vienna, where Freud remained for most of his life. Freud's father, Jakob, a struggling Jewish merchant, encouraged his intellectually precocious son and passed on to him a tradition of skeptical and independent thinking. Jakob's passive acceptance of anti-Semitic insults, however, troubled the young Freud: his feelings toward his father were ambivalent. Freud shared his mother's attention with seven younger brothers and sisters, but he nevertheless maintained a close attachment to her. Amalie Freud had high hopes for her oldest son--and they were eventually realized. At 8 years of age Freud was reading Shakespeare and, despite the recognizable influence of an education in Greek, Latin, French, and German classics, he later spoke of "the works of the men who were my real teachers--all of them English or Scotch," referring to their "sober industriousness" and "stubborn feeling for justice." Freud's literary gifts and insights into human motives and emotions were first apparent in letters he wrote during adolescence. He considered studying law but decided instead on a career in medical research in response to an essay on nature attributed to Goethe. Guided by contemporaries such as Ernst von Brucke and Theodor Meynert, Freud began on a promising research career; his later monographs on aphasia and on infantile cerebral paralysis were both the culmination of his neurological research and a harbinger of his burgeoning psychological insight.
In 1886 he married Martha Bernays. In order to support a wife he turned from research to the clinical practice of neurology. By that time Freud's interest in hysteria had been stimulated by Josef Breuer's successful use of therapeutic hypnosis and by Freud's studying with the famous neurologist Jean Martin Charcot in Paris. Freud took up Breuer's "cathartic method," and they published their findings in Studies in Hysteria (1895), which outlined their "talking cure" and is generally regarded as the beginning of psychoanalysis. Breuer lost interest when sexuality emerged as central to Freud's view of neurosis. Freud, devoting himself to the new science, discarded authoritarian and cumbersome hypnosis by enlisting his patients' cooperation in "free association." This enabled him to notice the unconsciously motivated resistance of a patient to revealing repressed thoughts and memories, especially sexual ideas. The central discovery of this approach was transference, or the unconscious shift of feelings associated with persons in the patient's past to the therapist. Breuer's defection and the death (1896) of Freud's father precipitated a crisis for Freud to which he reacted by entering a period of self-analysis. Leaning for emotional support on his friend Wilhelm Fliess, Freud explored his dreams and fantasies for clues to his childhood sexual passions--his Oedipus complex.
A comprehensive exposition of the new science of psychoanalysis, The Interpretation of Dreams (1900), was regarded by Freud as his greatest book. At first the book was all but ignored; gradually, however, a number of interested persons gathered around Freud to study and apply his revolutionary discoveries. Of his early followers, Alfred Adler and C. G. Jung defected to form their own schools of psychology, largely because they could not accept infantile sexuality as pivotal.
Freud's creativity continued undiminished for almost four more decades, during which he developed the technique for psychoanalytic treatment of neuroses and established the guiding principles of psychoanalysis. Indeed, Freud created a wholly new field of scientific inquiry which investigates a human's internal world through controlled methods of introspection and empathy. Freud's ideas aroused considerable hostility during his time, particularly among his medical colleagues. A regular weekly meeting of friends at Freud's home for the purpose of discussing his discoveries grew into the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society and eventually into the International Psycho-Analytical Association. In 1909, Freud was invited by Clark University in Worcester, Mass., to deliver a series of lectures; this was his only visit to the United States. Shortly after World War I, Freud learned that he had cancer of the jaw, to which he would succumb after nearly 17 years of chronic pain and disability and 33 surgical operations. Throughout this period, however, he remained productive. Although recognition from the scientific community had not yet come, he was honored in 1930 with the Goethe Prize for Literature, and in 1936 he was elected to the Royal Society.
When the Nazi occupation of Austria threatened his life and work, he moved to England. He died there on Sept. 23, 1939.
With psychoanalysis, Freud added psychological treatment methods to the biological basis of psychiatry. Beyond that, Freudian concepts--such as the powerful influence of the unconscious mind on conscious thought and behavior and the equally powerful influence of the apparently forgotten past on the present--have become part of our culture, used unwittingly by even the most vehement anti-Freudians. Freud's lasting impact on the modern world, like that of Marx, Einstein, and Picasso, cannot be denied. Henry Ford - Henry Ford, b. July 30, 1863, d. Apr. 7, 1947, was the son of William Ford, who had
emigrated from Ireland in 1847 and settled on a farm in Dearborn, Mich. Henry disliked farm life and had a natural aptitude for machinery; when he was 15 he went to Detroit and trained as a machinist. In 1888 he married Clara Bryant. They had one child, a son, Edsel, b. Nov. 6, 1893, d. May 26, 1943. Henry Ford began to experiment with a horseless carriage about 1890 and completed his first car, the quadricycle, in 1896. It was the sixth American-built gasoline-powered car. During the following years he tried unsuccessfully to get it into production. During this period he built racing cars and became a well-known racing driver. In 1903 he launched the Ford Motor Company with a capital of $100,000, of which $28,000 was in cash. By this time he had formulated his ideal of production: "The way to make automobiles is to make one automobile like another automobile, to make them all alike...." He achieved spectacular success with the Model T Ford, introduced in 1908 and eventually produced (1913) on a moving assembly line. Henry Ford was the major figure in the world's automobile industry for the next 15 years. His production methods were intensively studied; in Germany they were called Fordismus. He also startled the world by instituting (1914) the then high base-wage scale of $5 a day. He had gained favorable publicity (1911) by resisting the holders of the Selden patent, which purported to be a basic patent on the gasoline automobile, under conditions that made him appear to be a little man challenging a monopoly.
Ford thus became a figure of legend, the native genius who could work miracles. He had considerable mechanical ability, but his conclusions were reached intuitively rather than logically. He was basically uneducated and given to naive ideas about the world. In 1915 he sent a Peace Ship to Europe, hoping to persuade the belligerents to stop the war. For years he financed anti-Semitic propaganda in his newspaper, the Dearborn Independent, which he subsequently had to disavow. Yet he also helped to preserve artifacts of American history by establishing Greenfield Village and the Henry Ford Museum and by restoring the Wayside Inn in Sudbury, Mass., immortalized in a Longfellow poem. Inevitably, he was considered for public office. He ran as a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate in 1918 and was narrowly defeated. A few years later he was touted as a presidential candidate but, after some hesitation, withdrew on the advice of his close friends. In 1936 he and his son Edsel established the Ford Foundation, to which they bequeathed much of the company's stock.
Henry Ford became a victim of his own success in that he clung to the Model T too long, refusing to recognize that its popularity was fading, and consequently lost first place in the automobile industry to General Motors in 1926. He had turned the presidency of the Ford Motor Company over to Edsel in 1919 but never gave Edsel effective authority. The elder Ford remained firmly in control. He showed occasional flashes of his mechanical brilliance, producing the Model A (1928) and the V-8 engine (1932), but he was increasingly an aging autocrat, resisting change and becoming increasingly influenced by his security chief, Harry Bennett. Edsel struggled vainly against this situation, and the frustrations of his position undoubtedly contributed to his death at the age of 50. His father resumed the Ford presidency.
By that time Henry Ford had had two strokes and was incapable of managing the company. Henry Ford II, b. Sept. 4, 1917, d. Sept. 29, 1987, Edsel's oldest son, was released from the navy and made executive vice-president. He became president in 1945. Unlike his father, who had not been allowed to go to college, Henry II attended Yale University. When he assumed control of the company at the age of 28, management was in chaos, labor relations were poor, and the financial situation was shaky. He recruited talent from outside the company and effected a sweeping reorganization. The company secured firm control of second place in the American automobile industry. In the 1960s it expanded into electronics and astronautics by purchasing the Philco Corporation, and Henry Ford II was regarded as an industrial statesman. He retired from his top company posts in 1979 and 1980.
Gertrude Stein - Best known for her innovative prose style, Gertrude Stein, b. Allegheny, Pa., Feb. 3,
1874, exercised a major influence on post-World War I expatriate American writers whom she described as a "Lost Generation." Raised in California, she graduated from Radcliffe College in 1897, then attended Johns Hopkins Medical School for four years without taking a degree. Having inherited a sufficient income
to live independently, Stein settled in Paris in 1903, first sharing an apartment with her brother Leo and thereafter with her lifelong companion, Alice Toklas. Known both for her avant-garde compositions and for her friendships, she wrote more than 40 books over the next four decades and at the same time assembled an extraordinary collection of modern paintings.
Stein's first book, Quod Erat Demonstrandum, written in 1903 and published in 1950 under the title Things as They Are, was a conventional novel influenced by Henry James. The direction of her work changed in Three Lives (1905-06; pub. 1909), where, in the central story, "Melanctha," Stein began to develop her characteristically abstract style. In her massive The Making of Americans (1906-08; pub. 1925), an attempt to render the essence of characters and their interrelationships led her to jettison traditional narrative structure and syntax in favor of slow-moving, repetitive images of the continuously evolving present. From then on, the relationship between Stein's work and painting became quite explicit. She began to write short, nonrepresentational "portraits" of individuals and situations as literary equivalents of the painting of Picasso, Matisse, and others. In Tender Buttons (1941), her poems formed a series of "cubist" still lifes. Stein had difficulty publishing her early writing and did not achieve genuine fame until the mid-1920s, when her literary friendships with Sherwood Anderson and Ernest Hemingway, both of whom learned from her theories and practice, carried her name and works widely into print. In the 1920s, Stein also wrote literary criticism and drama in such works as Composition as Explanation (1926) and the opera Four Saints in Three Acts (pub. 1929, prod. 1934), on which she collaborated with the composer Virgil Thomson. Not until 1933 did she publish her best-selling Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, which made Stein many enemies but also gave her thousands of readers for the first time.
The following year Stein toured the United States, returning for the first time in 30 years. Her talks before audiences became Lectures in America (1935). She wrote an account of that tour in Everybody's Autobiography (1937). In her last decade Stein wrote in many genres: literary criticism in The Geographical History of America (1936); art criticism in Picasso (1938); a memoir, Wars I Have Seen (1945); drama in the opera The Mother of Us All (1947); and the novel Mrs. Reynolds (1952). She died in Paris, July 27, 1946.
Ernest Hemingway - Hemingway's serious writing had begun tentatively with the Paris publication in
1923-24 of two slender chapbooks of prose and poetry; but his name was little known in the United States until his first volume of short stories, In Our Time (1925), appeared in New York. This work, which included the first of the Nick Adams stories, combined a laconic prose style and an arresting blend of realism and romanticism that were to become the hallmarks of his prose.
In the following year he solidified his reputation with The Torrents of Spring, a parody-satire of Sherwood Anderson, and with the memorable novel The Sun Also Rises, based on his adventures in Paris and Pamplona in 1924-25. An immediate success, this novel made him a leader of the so-called Lost Generation. Hemingway's next two collections of stories were Men Without Women (1927), which included more stories related to Nick Adams's informal education (notably "The Killers"), and Winner Take Nothing (1933). These publications, along with In Our Time, appeared with several new works in 1938, among them the play The Fifth Column, a melodrama of the Spanish Civil War, composed in Madrid in 1937. (The so-called Finca Vigia edition of his complete short stories, with 14 previously uncollected and 7 previously unpublished works, would not appear until 1987.)
After his divorce from Hadley and marriage to Pauline Pfeiffer in 1927, Hemingway left Paris for Key West, Fla., in 1928. Apart from dude-ranching in Wyoming, fishing in the Gulf Stream off Cuba, and traveling in Europe and Africa, he remained in Key West for 12 years. Here he completed A Farewell to Arms, progress on which was only temporarily inhibited by the birth of his second son, Patrick, and the suicide of his ailing father. The book was published to wide acclaim in 1929. Hemingway's next work, Death in the Afternoon (1932), was an exhaustive nonfiction survey of the art and sociology of the Spanish bullfight. His third and last son, Gregory, was born in 1931.
Sinclair Lewis - The first American to win the Nobel Prize for literature, Sinclair Harry Lewis achieved an
international reputation in the 1920s for his satirical portrayal of middle-class life in Midwestern American small towns and cities in such novels as Main Street, Babbitt, Arrowsmith, and Dodsworth. Born Feb. 7, 1885, in Sauk Centre, Minn., which later provided the model for Main Street's Gopher Prairie, Lewis came east to attend Yale University, from which he graduated in 1908. He started his career as a free-lance journalist. Between 1914 and 1919 he published five light, romantic novels that gave no promise of the work to come.
His first success came with Main Street (1920). An exposure of the smug mediocrity of that legendary home of virtues, the small town, the novel burst like a bombshell on a war-weary, disillusioned audience. It
was followed by another best-seller, Babbitt (1922), named for the leading character, a self-deluding realtor and community "booster." Lewis's next novel, Arrowsmith (1925), a bitter documentation of the obstacles a materialistic society puts in the path of an idealistic medical researcher, won him the Pulitzer Prize (1926), an honor declined by Lewis. None of his later books were equally successful. Nevertheless, Elmer Gantry (1927), a devastating portrait of the opportunistic religious revivalists who flourished in the 1920s, and Dodsworth (1929), the story of a wealthy industrialist's late discovery of the pleasures of expatriate life, intensified both the attacks on Lewis's "disloyalty" and the widespread praise for his work that culminated in the Nobel Prize awarded him in 1930. He had meanwhile divorced his first wife and married the celebrated journalist Dorothy Thompson in 1928. This marriage ended in 1942.
Although Lewis published 10 more novels, he was never again so successful as in the 1920s. Only It Can't Happen Here (1935), a warning against the extension of international fascism to the United States, and Kingsblood Royal (1947), a savage attack on racial discrimination in both the South and North, match the power of his earlier work, and in these the characters appear as little more than caricatures. His only historical novel, The God-Seeker (1949), a melodrama of Minnesota frontier life, proved uncharacteristically conservative. Although Lewis remains unsurpassed for his fictional portrayal of the fatuously optimistic, self-congratulating American life of the early decades of the 20th century, he was never able to refine his boisterous style or deepen his insights sufficiently to deal with the years of international depression or with atomic age warfare and politics. He died Jan. 10, 1951, in Rome, where he had lived since October 1949.
F. Scott Fitzgerald - Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald, b. Saint Paul, Minn., Sept. 24, 1896, d. Dec. 21, 1940,
was an American writer of fiction whose work spanned the years between World Wars I and II. A master of the short story and the novel of manners, Fitzgerald is recognized by the public and literary critics alike as one of the most important writers of his time, especially for helping to create the image of the Jazz Age. Both his life and his works also offer an acute commentary on the disillusion and depression of the 1930s. His style, in the great tradition of English prose, is notable for its grace, lucidity, and aptness of phrase. Fitzgerald was of Irish ancestry on both sides, and he was distantly related to Francis Scott Key, for whom he was named, and to Maryland aristocracy. His mother's father, Philip McQuillan, was a successful wholesale merchant. The grandfather's early death and the father's failure to hold a job left the family dependent on the McQuillan wealth. Young Scott's mixed feelings of hostility and love, guilt and shame, toward his parents are seen to underlie his psychic conflicts.
Because of his mother's ambitions, Fitzgerald was sent east to a Catholic prep school in 1911, but he always retained something of the wonder and defensiveness of the provincial coming into a more worldly society. Similarly, although he was never more than a nominal Catholic after his youth, Catholicism plays a part in his early fiction and in the values and attitudes he held throughout his life. He went on to Princeton University in 1913 but left in his junior year, partly because of ill health but chiefly because of low grades resulting from his inattention to academic work. Although he returned the next fall, he did not stay to receive a degree. Instead, he entered the army as a second lieutenant in 1917.
Nevertheless, Fitzgerald's Princeton years were important. They provided an outlet for his writing talent, introduced him to more and better literature than he had known before, and brought him together with other literary young men, notably Edmund Wilson. Princeton also furnished most of the material for This Side of Paradise (1920), which launched his career.
Throughout the 1920s Fitzgerald's life and much of his fiction was preoccupied with Zelda Sayre, the Alabama girl he married immediately after the publication of his first novel (see Fitzgerald, Zelda Sayre). The central characters of The Beautiful and Damned (1922), his second novel, are a couple like the Fitzgeralds, who lead a life of drinking, partying, and endless talk. But while the Fitzgeralds' disorderly lives both mirrored and created the pattern for others of the 1920s generation, it was increasingly damaging to Fitzgerald's work. Going to Europe, first in 1921, was both an adventure and an escape. It was during their second period there, from 1924 to 1926, that he completed what many consider his best work, The Great Gatsby (1925). In Gatsby, Fitzgerald was able to reach beyond the details of his romance with Zelda to explore the nature and internal ramifications of the romantic quest itself. It is the powerful association of that pursuit with the development of the United States as a land of promise and the subsequent conflicts between materialism and idealism that provide the novel with its substance and stature. As the 1920s advanced, Fitzgerald's drinking became regarded as alcoholism, while Zelda's erratic behavior was diagnosed (1930) as schizophrenia. His difficulty in organizing his novel Tender Is the Night (1934) was largely due to the strain that his own and Zelda's conditions placed upon him, accompanied by his trying to understand and utilize the conflicts created by these conditions as the substance of the book.
Fitzgerald's life reached a low point in 1935, when he suffered the nervous collapse that he later brilliantly described in three essays called The Crack-Up (1945). By that time Zelda's mental illness had begun to require hospitalization, and she was in and out of mental institutions for the rest of her life. (She died in a fire at Highland Hospital, Asheville, N.C., in 1948.) The couple lived apart during much of the decade, their daughter, Scotty (1921-86), becoming increasingly Fitzgerald's charge. His work, off and on, as a movie scriptwriter marks his last years; at his death he was working on a novel about Hollywood, The Last Tycoon (1941). Although his literary reputation had declined drastically before his death, its revival since 1950 has been phenomenal, and the Fitzgeralds' lives have made a permanent claim upon the American imagination.
John Dos Passos - The American social novelist John Dos Passos, b. Chicago, Jan. 14, 1896, d. Sept. 28,
1970, was a major figure in post-World War I literature. His epic trilogy U.S.A., consisting of The 42nd Parallel (1930), 1919 (1932), and The Big Money (1936), is a radical critique of American life and may be the closest contender for the title of "the great American novel." Dos Passos, who was of Portuguese descent, graduated from Harvard in 1916 and volunteered as an ambulance driver in World War I. His first published novels, One Man's Initiation--1917 (1919) and Three Soldiers (1921), recount the bitter war years and earned him recognition as a chief spokesman for the so-called Lost Generation. His social sympathies were combined with experimental narrative techniques in his first major novel, Manhattan Transfer (1925). In this work the theme of urban alienation pervades the simultaneous stories of more than a dozen characters. The book anticipated the stylistic innovations of U.S.A., which creates a kaleidoscopic portrait of America by juxtaposing "newsreels," or factual reportage of the period, with biographies of real Americans representative of the times and "camera-eye" stream-of-consciousness impressions. Embittered by his observations of the Spanish Civil War, Dos Passos became disillusioned with radical liberalism and adopted a more conservative position in his District of Columbia trilogy: Adventures of a Young Man (1939), about the Spanish Civil War; Number One (1943), about a Southern demagogue resembling Huey Long; and The Grand Design (1949). He became increasingly conservative, and his later works called for a return to the values of America's founding fathers. The novel Midcentury (1961) was favorably received. In 1966 he published a book of memoirs, The Best Times.
Eugene O’Neil - Eugene Gladstone O'Neill, b. Oct. 16, 1888, d. Nov. 27, 1953, America's preeminent
playwright, led the fledgling early-20th-century U.S. theater into the mainstream of world drama. Tennessee Williams observed: "O'Neill gave birth to the American theatre and died for it." During a lengthy artistic career (1913-43) in which he won four Pulitzer Prizes--for Beyond the Horizon (first produced in 1920), Anna Christie (1921), Strange Interlude (1928), and Long Day's Journey into Night (1956)--and the Nobel Prize for literature (1936), the innovative O'Neill held up a mirror to American society and functioned as social critic and moral guide. While his work is distinctly nationalistic in the historical perspective it provides of people living in an ever-expanding capitalist democracy, many of his plays, because of their profound insights into man's inner nature, achieve universal dimensions. O'Neill perceived the American character in its drive to attain wealth and power as tragically dichotomized, and the playwright depicted this conflict in two ways: through the poet/idealist persona versus the businessman/materialist, illustrated by two antagonists, one good and one evil, as in The Great God Brown (1926); or through a single individual torn internally between good and evil, as in Days without End (1934). This struggle took on historical dimensions in the 1930s in O'Neill's projected cycle of 11 plays, spanning nearly 200 years of American history, A Tale of Possessors Self-Dispossessed, whose theme sums up for the author the "secret of human happiness": "For what shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul" (Matt. 16:26).
Born in a New York City hotel, the third son of James O'Neill, a poor Irish immigrant who became a leading matinee idol, the young Eugene spent his early years in a theatrical milieu. His mother, Ella Quinlan O'Neill, the product of a genteel Irish home, was ill-equipped psychologically to endure the homelessness of constant tours. When Eugene was born, her miserly husband reportedly hired a quack doctor, who prescribed morphine for the sick woman, an error that led to Ella's 25-year drug addiction. The tragedy that ensued is dramatized in what many consider O'Neill's greatest play, the autobiographical Long Day's Journey into Night, which recounts the recriminations of the four Tyrones (O'Neills) as each, guilt-ridden, lashes out at the other to assuage the pain and regret of a wasted life. Ella's alienation was compounded when James chose a summer residence, the family's only home, in New London, Conn., a city dominated by wealthy aristocratic Yankees who ostracized the Irish O'Neills. The Irish-Yankee conflict in New England becomes a dominant theme in the two extant cycle plays, A Touch of the Poet (1957) and More Stately Mansions (1962).
O'Neill's indoctrination to the harsh tenets of Irish Catholicism, in his home and while attending a Catholic boarding school and high school, left him with a deep spirituality that is manifested in his work. As he himself remarked: "In all my plays sin is punished and redemption takes place." In 1906 he entered Princeton but was suspended for a prank and had no incentive to return. From 1907 to 1912 he held odd jobs and became a seaman, living in 1911-12 in a sleazy Manhattan waterfront saloon-hotel, Jimmy the Priest's, where he made a futile attempt to commit suicide. After working briefly as a reporter in New London, he was diagnosed in 1913 as having tuberculosis and sent to Gaylord Farm Sanatorium. There he read Strindberg's dramas and decided to write plays, enrolling in 1914 in Harvard's "47 Workshop," where he learned the fundamentals of his craft.
A major motif in O'Neill's work is the conflict between the sexes, usually in the context of marriage. O'Neill himself made a disastrous marriage (1909-12) to the pregnant Kathleen Jenkins, who bore him a son, Eugene Jr. In 1918 he married Agnes Boulton, a fiction writer, who in 1920 bore a son, Shane, and in 1924 a daughter, Oona. Marital peace and happiness eluded the author, however, until he divorced again, and then married, both in 1929, Carlotta Monterey, who provided him with a well-regulated, quiet household in which to write.
Bound East for Cardiff (1916) and Thirst (1916) were the first two of O'Neill's plays to be staged by the Provincetown Players. The group later presented the premieres of all the early plays in their Macdougal Street theater in New York. The author achieved international, as well as national, fame with two expressionistic works, The Emperor Jones (1920) and The Hairy Ape (1922), followed by Desire under the Elms (1924). In his later plays in the 1920s, staged by the Theatre Guild, O'Neill used highly experimental devices: masks in The Great God Brown, multiple settings in Marco Millions (1928) and Lazarus Laughed (1928), asides in the nine-act Strange Interlude. The critically acclaimed trilogy Mourning Becomes Electra (1931), a New England version of the Greek Oresteia set during the Civil War, was instrumental in O'Neill's receiving the Nobel Prize.
Two dominant motifs emerge in the O'Neill canon: societal concerns, such as racial discrimination in America, as in The Dreamy Kid (1919), The Emperor Jones, and the controversial All God's Chillun Got Wings (1924); and reminiscences of family and friends, as in his two greatest plays, The Iceman Cometh (1946) and Long Day's Journey into Night, and two eulogies for his brother Jamie: A Moon for the Misbegotten (1947) and Hughie (1958), America's greatest one-act play.
O'Neill died not in 1953 but a decade earlier when the tremor in his hand prevented him from writing. His health deteriorated in the late 1940s, and following the example of one of his most tragic characters, Lavinia Mannon in Mourning Becomes Electra, who immured herself with the ghosts of her parents and brother within the Mannon home, he spent the last two years of his life isolated in a Boston hotel, dying on Nov. 27, 1953.
T.S. Eliot - the only one ever to win a Nobel Prize. T. S. Eliot, a native of Boston who spent most of his
adult life in England, led a generation of poets in breaking with the romanticism of the nineteenth century. His epic work The Waste Land (1922) brought to poetry much of the harsh tone of despair that was
invading other areas of literature.
John Dewey - John Dewey, b. Burlington, Vt., Oct. 20, 1859, d. June 1, 1952, was an American
philosopher, educator, and psychologist. He graduated from the University of Vermont in 1879 and received his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 1884. One of his teachers was G. Stanley Hall, a founder of experimental psychology; another was Charles S. Peirce. Dewey, however, was particularly disposed to German philosophic thought, especially the unifying, organic character of the idealism of Hegel, in contrast to British empiricism.
Dewey first taught philosophy at the University of Michigan (1884-88), and then at the University of Minnesota (1888), and subsequently returned to Michigan (1889-94). In 1894 he became chairman of the department of philosophy, psychology, and pedagogy at the University of Chicago. His influential classic The School and Society (1899) formulated the method and curriculum of the school in which the child's growth is the central concern.
In 1899, Dewey was elected president of the American Psychological Association, and in 1905 he became president of the American Philosophical Association. He taught at Columbia University from 1904 to 1930 and was professor emeritus from 1930 to 1939. Dewey lectured in Japan and China from 1919 to 1921, and visited schools in the USSR in 1928. He wrote for the general public on social problems and critical issues confronting American industrial democracy. He was a participant and leader in many liberal causes, in civic organizations, and in national affairs and was a founder of the New School for Social Research (1919) in New York City.
In his first book, Psychology (1887), Dewey attempted to combine his philosophical idealism with Hall's new physiological psychology. With the appearance of William James's Principles of Psychology (1890), some seminal articles by Peirce (Monist, 1891-93), the impact of Darwinism, and the work of Dewey's colleague, George Herbert Mead, Dewey's psychological writings reflect a change; the spiritual Self becomes conceived in social and behavioral terms as a circuit of goal-directed organic activities. His paper "The Reflex Arc Concept in Psychology" (1896) was a primary source of the movement of functional psychology, which views stimulus and response as functional and correlative means of organic coordination and direction. The implications and applications of this view are developed by Dewey in various writings on social and educational psychology and philosophy, notably in How We Think (1910) and the influential Democracy and Education (1916). The latter work is a major statement of his philosophical and educational doctrines and stimulated the progressive education movement in the 1930s. Dewey's works on psychology, ethics, and social philosophy analyze the logical features of thought and action. Thought is occasioned by problematic conditions, organic imbalance, and conflict; thoughtful action is directed toward resolution and is thus instrumental in producing truth, which is the warranted and satisfactory solution of a problem. This "instrumentalism" was Dewey's version of the pragmatism he shared with James and Peirce.
Pragmatism was then the most influential philosophy in the United States. This aspect of Dewey's thought is advanced in Essays in Experimental Logic (1916) and Human Nature and Conduct (1922), and comprehensively treated in Logic: The Theory of Inquiry (1938). He discusses the experimental theory of intelligent conduct, or inquiry, present in ethical and aesthetic kinds of experience in Ethics (with J. H. Tufts, 1908), Theory of Valuation (1939), and Art as Experience (1934).
Dewey's philosophy attempts to show how the conclusions of science affect the values guiding human conduct. Dewey was led to formulate an extensive naturalistic theory of existence that required no supernatural assumptions or conclusions. Experience and Nature (1925) is his most important attempt to set forth a metaphysical analysis and description of reflective experience, with its roots in natural events and its flowering in communication, knowledge, value, and art.
The range and diversity of Dewey's writings and his influence on 20th-century philosophy, aesthetics, education, legal and political theory, and the social sciences, place him among the great philosophers. Charles/Mary Beard - Charles Austin Beard, b. near Knightstown, Ind., Nov. 27, 1874, d. Sept. 1, 1948,
was a controversial American historian and political scientist who encouraged a generation of Americans to reexamine their country's history. Raised in rural Indiana, he studied at DePauw and Oxford before receiving (1904) his doctorate from Columbia. His nearly 60 books, many written in collaboration with his wife, Mary Ritter Beard (1876-1958), reflected the problems of a nation undergoing industrialization and helped shape the American progressive movement. Beard revolutionized American history in 1913 with the publication of An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution. His thesis that the Constitution furthered the interests of the property-owning classes challenged the conventional wisdom about the Founding Fathers. Controversy seemed to follow Beard. In 1917 he resigned his teaching post at Columbia to protest the firing of two colleagues who opposed American entry into World War I. The following year, Beard helped create the New School for Social Research. With the aid of his wife, a successful, feminist historian in her own right, Beard offered the public a mature reinterpretation of the course of American history in The Rise of American Civilization (2 vols., 1927) and other works. He had long sympathized with reformers, but Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal troubled him. Fearing another war, Beard became a leading isolationist and made bitter personal attacks on Roosevelt. Until his death, Beard insisted that Roosevelt's foreign policy drove the Japanese to war.
Lanston Hughes - James Mercer Langston Hughes, b. Joplin, Mo., Feb. 1, 1902, d. May 22, 1967, was a
poet and writer whose extensive literary output realistically depicted the life of black Americans. His first poem, "The Negro Speaks of Rivers," was published in 1921. A few years later, Hughes became prominent in the Harlem Renaissance movement. His critical essay "The Negro Artist and the Racial Movement" (1925) and his autobiography, The Big Sea (1940), document some of the excitement and disappointment of that period. Hughes's travels as a sailor are recorded in I Wonder As I Wander (1956), and his hopes and frustrations as a writer are revealed in the posthumous The Panther and the Lash (1967). Hughes's poems The Weary Blues (1926) and Fine Clothes to the Jew (1927), experimental in both content and form, gave impetus to the African Negritude Movement. His genius for merging the comic and the pathetic influenced many humorists and satirists. Hughes's most enduring gift to literature was his belief in the commonality of all cultures and the universality of human suffering, which he dramatically projected in Lament for Dark People and Other Poems (1944).