American Decades Primary Sources: 1920-1929

  • Volume 3
  • Published By:
  • ISBN-10: 0787665908
  • ISBN-13: 9780787665906
  • DDC: 973.91
  • Shipping Weight: 4.70 lbs ( 2.13 kgs)
  • 720 Pages | Print | Hardcover
  • © 2004 | Published



The passage of the Volstead Act prohibited the sale and consumption of alcohol and spawned a black market network of smuggling and speakeasies. Gangsters like Al Capone captured the public's imagination. Fashionable, fun-loving women wore short skirts and even shorter hair. Business was booming in many industries and, for the first time, people were buying on credit. Speculation in the stock market was at an all-time high as a "get rich quick" mentality took hold, but the artificially inflated bubble burst on October 24, 1929. The stock market crash closed out the 1920s with a bang.

The following documents are just a sampling of the offerings available in this volume:

  • New York Dada first and only issue of Dadaist magazine by Man Ray
  • Maidenform Brassiere Patent drawings and documentation, text facsimile
  • Alfred E. Smith's speech on Religious Bigotry
  • Reports and memos by J. Edgar Hoover, both as a special agent and Justice Department Attorney, on the activities of black nationalist Marcus Garvey
  • "The Four Horsemen" of Notre Dame football: article by Grantland Rice and photograph of the players
  • "Far From Well," book review by author and poet Dorothy Parker
  • "Plan-Isometric and Elevation of a Minimum Dymaxion home and patent application by R. Buckminster Fuller
  • Handbook for Guardians of Camp Fire Girls, 1924
  • "Open Letter to the Pullman Company," by A. Philip Randolph, founder of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters
  • Journal entry of May 5, 1926, by Robert Goddard documenting the launch of the first liquid-fuel rocket
  • Daily Worker editorial cartoons covering the trial, sentencing, and execution of Sacco and Vanzetti
  • Photograph of American Indian Chiefs Frank Seelatse and Jimmy Noah Saluskin
  • The Care and Feeding of Children, a guidebook for new parents



"This carefully crafted new offering from Gale is sure to be a worthy heir to the discontinued classic documentary American history reference source, The Annals of America (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1968-1987),.. Gale's latest contribution to the field is intended to serve as a companion to their popular series, American Decades (Gale Group, 1994-2001) and would complement many of the publisher's other prominent reference works in American history, notably the two-volume stand-alone Gale Encyclopedia of Multicultural America: Primary Documents (see ARBA 2001, entry 271). This work will also make an ideal companion set for the many libraries that already own The Annals, as this new work offers limited coverage, its entries usually provide essays about and excerpts from primary sources rather than the full text of the sources themselves, it is more comprehensive, and despite some inevitable overlap, its selections are generally different...American Decades: Primary Sources is certain to become the centerpiece of many serious American history reference collections. This new work is so innovative and well done that it may become a classic itself, and at its advertised price of less than $100 for each sturdy, well-designed volume, well worth the investment." --ARBA (2004)


"Aimed at the high-school and undergraduate levels, but definitely accessible to middle-schoolers, this set is a treasure trove of more than 2,000 primary sources on U.S. history and culture represented by more than 75 types of sources, such as architectural drawings, graphs, letters, magazine articles, memoirs, reports, Supreme Court decisions, speeches, and literary works. This resource is excellent as a companion to the American Decades (Gale, 1996-2000) set or as a stand-alone. Even if a library had access to all of the books, periodicals, and other items used as sources, they would lack the surrounding context and the added features, not to mention the convenience. Secondary school libraries in states with curriculum standards that require access to primary resources should place this on their priority purchase lists if they can afford it. Undergraduate and public libraries supporting historical research should also consider purchase."--Booklist (April 2004)

— Booklist

"This set provides access to information that will be difficult to find in other places without a great deal of weeding. It can begin the student thinking critically about events in history. Your students need access to this set, especially if you have American Decades."--Reference for Students ( (May 2004)

— Online