I AM UNDER AN IMMENSE DEBT TO certain writers upon whose books I have drawn extensively in this chronicle. Naturally I have made frequent use, not only in Chapter Five, but elsewhere, of the extraordinarily varied and precise information collected in Middletown, that remarkable sociological study of an American city by Robert S. Lynd and Helen Merrell Lynd; I do not see how any conscientious historian of the Post- war Decade could afford to neglect this mine of material. The concluding chapters of The Rise of American Civilization, by Charles A. Beard and Mary R. Beard, have been helpful at many points, particularly in the preparation of my short account of the Washington Conference and the situation which led up to it. William Allen White's biography of Wood- row Wilson and his extended portraits of Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge in Masks in a Pageant have been especially useful not only for the specific information which they contain, but also for their suggestive interpretations of these three Presidents. To Charles Merz I am indebted for many facts and conclusions about the prohibition experiment, which I have drawn from The Dry Decade, his admirably impartial account of the first ten years of prohibition; and also for other facts assembled by him in his other books, And Then Came Ford and The Great American Bandwagon. Finally, I have made constant use of the World Almanac, which is responsible for many of the statistics embodied in this volume; of the New York Times Index; and above all of the files of the New York Times itself in the New York Public Library. A book of this sort must inevitably rely very largely on contemporary newspaper and magazine sources; the newspapers are invaluable not only for their news accounts of important events, but also for the light which their advertising columns and picture sections throw upon the fashions, ideas, and general atmosphere of the period.

The account of the beginnings of radio broadcasting in Chapters One and Four is based partly upon an address given on April 21, 1928, by H. P Davis, vice-president of the Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company, before the Harvard Business School.

In the preparation of Chapter Two ("Back to Normalcy"), I found Ray Stannard Baker's Woodrow Wilson and World Settlement especially valuable for its exhaustive account of Wilson's part in the Peace Conference. Mr. Baker's findings have of course been compared with those of Colonel House, Secretary Lansing, and others. Lodge's secret memorandum to Henry White was disclosed in Allan Nevins's biography of White. The description of Woodrow Wilson in the last days of his life is based on a personal visit to him in November, 1923.

In Chapter Three ("The Big Red Scare"), I owe many of the facts about the Palmer raids to the account in Zechariah Chafee's Freedom of Speech. Senator Husting's pledge was quoted on the cover of the New Republic at the time of the coal strike of 1919. Much of the material about the super- patriots is derived from a series of articles contributed to the New Republic in 1924 by Sidney Howard. The account of the Chicago race-riot is based on the careful study embodied in Charles S. Johnson's The Negro in Chicago; and the account of the Wall Street explosion contains many facts from an article by Sidney Sutherland in Liberty for April 26, 1930.

In Chapter Four ("America Convalescent") the facts cited about the Sacco- Vanzetti propaganda came largely from a series of contemporary news stories in the New York World.

Chapter Five ("The Revolution in Manners and Morals") draws freely upon Middletown, as previously stated; upon Professor Paul H. Nystrom's Economics of Fashion; and upon Walter Lippmann's A Preface to Morals and Joseph Wood Krutch's The Modern Temper.

In writing Chapter Six ("Harding and the Scandals") I have made much use of White's Masks in a Pageant and Beard's The Rise of American Civilization, as stated above; of M. E. Ravage's The Story of Teapot Dome, a lively account of the progress of the oil cases up to 1924; and of Bruce Bliven's series of articles on the Ohio Gang in the New Republic. The quotation from Harry M. Daugherty which appears at the beginning of the chapter is printed as arranged and re-punctuated by Mr. Bliven in one of his New Republic articles. George G. Chandler of the Philadelphia law firm of Montgomery & MacCracken gave me valuable help in connection with the account of the oil scandals.

Chapter Seven ("Coolidge Prosperity") is based in considerable degree upon the facts and generalizations in Stuart Chase's concise book, Prosperity, Fact or Myth, and also cites numerous figures drawn from Recent Economic Changes. The sections on the supersalesmen and on religion and business embody a quantity of material set forth by that able student of the ways of businessmen, Jesse Rainsford Sprague, in various articles in Harper's Magazine. Some of the data about the service clubs I owe to Charles W. Ferguson, who gathered them in the preparation of his forthcoming book, The Joiners; some of the facts about business courses and business methods in the universities come from Abraham Flexner's Universities: American, English, German.

The basic idea of Chapter Eight ("The Ballyhoo Years") is Silas Bent's, as any reader of his book, Ballyhoo, will be aware. I have taken many facts from that book. The statistical data on the status of religion during the decade are drawn from the "Preliminary Report on Organized Religion for the President's Study of Social Trends," by C. Luther Fry, to which Robert S. Lynd was good enough to give me access. The account of the Dayton trial makes considerable use of Arthur Garfield Hays's narrative in Let Freedom Ring. Richard F. Simon, of Simon & Schuster, provided me with much material about the cross-word-puzzle craze, and W. B. Miller, formerly of the Louisville Courier-Journal, told me at first hand the story of the Floyd Collins episode.

I am under special obligation both to Walter Lippmann's A Preface to Morals and to Joseph Wood Krutch's The Modern Temper for their remarkable analyses of disillusionment in the nineteen-twenties; the discussion of disillusionment in Chapter Nine ("The Revolt of the Highbrows") could never have been written without the aid of Mr. Krutch's penetrating book.

Chapter Ten ("Alcohol and A1 Capone") makes especially lavish use of four sources: Charles Merz's The Dry Decade, the Wickersham Report, Fred D. Pasley's fascinating Al Capone, and It's a Racket, by Gordon L. Hostetter and Thomas Quinn Beesley.

Many figures and incidents and the quotation from Walter C. Hill in Chapter Eleven ("Home, Sweet Florida") are from two articles by Homer B. Vanderblue in the Journal of Land and Public Utility Economics, Volume 3. Among other sources, Gertrude Mathews Shelby's "Florida Frenzy" in Harper's Magazine for January, 1926, was especially valuable. The data about rentals of New York City office space were given me by the real-estate officer of a large local financial institution.

In Chapter Thirteen ("Crash!") I have cited a number of facts set forth by Richard Whitney in an address on "The Work of the New York Stock Exchange in the Panic of 1929," given before the Boston Association of Stock Exchange Firms on June 10, 1930.

The optimistic statements by leaders of the Hoover Administration, cited in the last chapter ("Aftermath"), were collected in an article by James Truslow Adams ("Presidential Prosperity") in Harper's Magazine for August, 1930.

These are only a few of the innumerable sources drawn upon in the book; I single them out for mention only because they are not cited in the text or because my debt to them is especially large.

I am exceedingly grateful to numerous friends who have been kind enough either to hunt up material for me or to take the time to read and criticize parts of the manuscript; particularly to Rollin Alger Sawyer of the New York Public Library, Arthur Besse, John G. MacKenty, Earle Bailie, C. Alison Scully, Myra Richardson, Gordon Aymar, Agnes Rogers Hyde, Stuart Chase, Robert K. Haas, Arthur C. Holden, and Emily Linnard Cobb. I must especially thank Charles Merz for encouraging me, at the outset, to undertake what has proved an endlessly fascinating task. And finally I must record the fact that up to the time of her death, my wife, Dorothy Penrose Allen, helped me more than I can ever acknowledge.


Scarsdale, New York
June, 1931

American Studies Home