Or is there some other reason?” asks one poster on the blog The Post’s Retrocrater. It’s a question that’s been nagging the blog for decades and is in fact the theme song to the 1980’s movie: “My God, the Roaring Twenties Were Great! But Why?”
As for the age of women, the question was initially asked of the movie’s creators. As the 1920s was a period in which women were beginning to gain more power in their careers, the film’s producers realized their answer might be confusing, so they came up with the term “Roaring Twenties Women.” Now it’s widely believed that the term evolved from the original “Roaring Twenties Women.”
There is some evidence to suggest the term is real, however. The first instance that appears online was in 2006; the term “Roaring Twenties Women” popped up in an article on Slate’s Business Journal website. In 2009, the film’s creator, Alan Menken, used a similar term to describe the times of “the Roaring Twenties,” according to The Telegraph.
But “Roaring Twenties Women” may not be quite as original as people think. It might have originated in a 1939 publication titled “The American Century,” written by famed American statesman and philosopher A. Mitchell Palmer.
Like “Roaring Twenties Women,” the journal is thought to have been written by Palmer about the time of the Great Depression. While some have suggested it was one of the earliest reference books for the years, the term “Roaring Twenties” may have originated with Palmer himself, according to Time magazine columnist Michael Grunwald.
“If Palmer was the first to use the term, however,” he writes, “the term ‘Roaring Twenties’ doesn’t seem to have cropped up until the 1970s.”
Palmer’s 1928 book is full of references to the Depression that date from before the first inklings of the American economy’s problems. “Roaring Twenties Depression” isn’t the only one in Palmer’s collection, however. There are also “Roaring Twenties Gold rush” and “Roaring Twenties Gold crisis.” But as Grunwald points out, there is one other period reference to Depression that doesn’t appear in Palmer’s journals: “Roaring Twenties Man.”
Some of the most common phrases and ideas in Palmer’s work don’t appear in his actual
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