In the 1920s, the flapper craze swept America— women bobbed their hair and danced to the Charleston in short dresses. This guide provides access to materials related to the “Flappers” in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.
Chronicling America is a searchable digital collection of historic newspaper pages from 1789-1963 sponsored jointly by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress.
Included in the website is the Directory of US Newspapers in American Libraries, a searchable index to newspapers published in the United States since 1690, which helps researchers identify what titles exist for a specific place and time, and how to access them.
The flapper craze arrives on the American scene in the 1920s, featuring young libertine women who bob their hair and dance the Charleston in short dresses. They frequent jazz clubs and use flapper jargon like “the cat’s meow,” “the bee’s knees,” or “that’s so Jake.” In 1922, the Weekly-Journal Miner (Prescott, AZ) printed a photo of a flapper, labeled from head to foot, complete with bobbed haircut, felt hat, and knee-length fringed skirt.” Read more about it!
The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.
The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.
The flapper craze arrives in America.
Olive Thomas stars in the Frances Marion film, “The Flapper.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald publishes a collection of short stories entitled “A Story of Flappers for Philosophers.”