Entertainment - Writers, Art, & Celebrity

Lost Generation” of Writers
Cubism/Expressionism in Art
Charles Lindbergh Flight/ Baby Kidnapping

Thesis: With World War I behind them and a booming economy, Americans shifted their attention to the arts and entertainment. This era produced outstanding authors, novel forms of art, and a fascination with the lives of celebrities.

The Lost Generation of Writers:

After World War I, many poets, artists, and writers fled to France because they rejected the American materialism that had surfaced with the development of a credit system and a booming post-war economy. The term "lost generation" was coined by poet and author Gertrude Stein. Stein supposedly came of with the term from a French auto-repair shop owner who claimed his poorly skilled workers were "une génération perdue" (a lost generation). In the 1920's the term was adopted by many significant writers who were located in Europe at the time. Most notable of the "Lost Generation" authors were Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and John Dos Passos.

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F. Scott Fitzgerald: An author of short stories and novels such as This Side of Paradise (1920), The Beautiful and Damned (1922), The Great Gatsby (1925), Tender Is the Night (1934), The Last Tycoon (1941). F. Scott Fitzgerald was born September 24, 1896 in St. Paul Minnesota. He attended boarding school on the East Coast, and attended Princeton University before leaving to enlist as a soldier in World War I (although the war was nearly over when he enlisted). He later married Zelda Sayre (although they later became estranged). A notorious drinker which caused him poor health, he died of a heart attack at the age of 44.

Ernest Hemingway: Author of (most notably) The Sun Also Rises (1926), A Farewell to Arms (1929), For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940), The Old Man and the Sea (1952), along with various other literature such as short stories and auto-biographies. Ernest was born July 21, 1899 in Oak Park, Illinois. He joined the U.S. army in World War I, fighting in Europe at the young age of 18. He was seriously injured and admitted to a hospital where he stayed for six months. Later he also enlisted and fought in World War II. Over the duration of his life he married and divorced several women. He recieved the Pulitzer Prize as well as the Nobel Prize in Literature for his novels. After a serious plane accident in Africa, his health deteriorated, and eventually he committed suicide in 1961.

John Dos Passos: Author, artist, poet, and play writer, John's most noted novels were Three Soldiers (1921), Manhattan Transfer (1925), The U.S.A. Trilogy (1938), and Adventures of a Young Man (1939). John was born in Chicago, Illinois on January 14, 1896. He went to school at The Choate School in Connecticut. He then traveled with a private tutor to France, England, Italy, Greece, and the Middle East to study the arts. He attended Harvard University, and after his graduation he enlisted in World War I, later he was a journalist covering World War II. His wife of 18 years died, Katherine Smith, in a tragic car accident. Later he married Elizabeth Hamlyn Holdridge. He recieved the Antonio Feltrinelli Prize for international distinction in literature. John died of heart failure at the age of 74.

Cubism/ Expressionism in Art:

Until the 1920's, much art in a form called "realist", where the subject of the art was depicted to look as realistically as possible. Realist art tended to use depth and shadowing in order to create a three dimensional, and therefore realistic, effect. Realist art was without embellishment or any other departure from pure reality. When the 1920's came around, dramatically different forms of art arrived: cubism and expressionism. These forms of art departed drastically from reality, completely distorting everyday objects and scenes. An example of realist art:
Girl With A Pearl Earring, Johannes Vermeer

Cubist art breaks up objects and reassembles them in abstract and unsual ways. The artist often would draw pieces of the given object from different angles, causing the picture to appear disjointed. This technique usually eliminated the presence of depth in the artwork for it created a more geometric and one dimensional effect.The main contributors to the cubism form of art were Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque.
Le Guitariste, Pablo Picasso

Expressionism: Expressionist art
distorts its subjects to create an emotional effect. Expressionist art conveys emotions, thoughts, and moods. The idea of expressing emotion in expressionism is more important than the physical realism. This art contains vibrant colors, dramatic shapes, and unusual lines. This method was most famously used by Vincent Van Gogh and Jackson Pollock as well as many other famous artists.

Starry Night, Vincent Van Gogh

Charles Lindbergh Flight/ Baby Kidnapping:

The Flight:
  • On May 20, 1927 at 7:52 A.M. Charles Lindbergh, the shy and unpretentious 25 year old from Minnesota, took off down the dirt runway of Roosevelt Field, Long Island in his plane the "Spirit of St. Louis," and 33 hours, 30 minutes, and 29.8 seconds later at 10:22 P.M. (5:22 P.M. New York time), he landed at the Le Bourget Aerodrome in Paris, France. With the success of his flight, Lindbergh became the first person to successfully fly across the Atlantic Ocean alone. There had been others before him to attempt the daunting feat, however none had survived the journey.
  • When Lindbergh arrived back in the United States, he was escorted by a convoy or warships and aircraft up the Chesapeake and the Potomac to Washington, where he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross by President Coolidge.
  • In New York 4 million people lined up along the parade route, his reception was bigger than any other in the city's history, and the Mayor Jimmy Walker awarded Lindbergh with New York's Medal of Valor.
  • Lindbergh was then sponsored to go on a 3 month tour all throughout the nation. He flew the "Spirit of St. Louis" to 92 cities in 49 states. He gave 147 speeches, and he rode 1,290 miles in parades.
  • However, not only was he a national hero but he was global hero. After his tour of the United States he briefly returned to New York before visiting 12 more countries in Central America and the West Indies taking a 9,000 mile flight tour.
  • Lindbergh had become a celebrity, and the fame was overwhelming, for the naturally shy and modest young man.
  • The FAI (World Air Sports Federation) being the only organization with the authority to certify aeronautical and astronautical world records worldwide, certified Lindbergh's flight. The certification, however, required several documents to be able to prove Lindbergh's feat. There was a sealed barograph loaded in the aircraft with a six-hour cylinder that recorded what altitudes Lindbergh was flying at, and that proved his flight had been without interruption. The US National Aeronautic Association witnessed the take-off of the flight, while the Proces-verbal, established by the Aero-Club of France, upon his arrival in France attested to the fact that the barograph was found sealed and that the 322 litres of gas still remained in the sealed tanks. Thirteen French officials, the U.S. Ambassador Myron Herrick, the Belgian Air Attache Willy Coppens, and Charles Lindbergh himself signed the Proces-verbal.
  • Finally on August 31, 1927, FAI General Secretary Paul Tissandier gave word to the National Aeronautic Association that Charles Lindbergh's flight had been certified as the Class-C World Record for a non-stop flight over a distance of 5809 kilometers.
  • Then on March 21, 1729 President Coolidge would present Lindbergh with the Congressional Medal of Honor. The Nation's most honorable award.
  • Later Lindbergh would continue to serve for his country as an advisor on aviation, technical advisor in the Pacific theater during WW II, teaching American fighter pilots to get greater range from their planes, and by flying several combat missions in WW II.
  • After WW II Lindbergh would continue to serve his country, and then April 7, 1954, he would be appointed as a Brigadier General in the Air Force Reserves.

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The Kidnapping:
  • Charles Lindbergh married Anne Morrow. In 1930 their son Charles Lindbergh Jr. was born. The couple wished to keep their child out of the publics' "prying eyes." So, they bought a 425-acre tract in the remote Sourland Mountains, 14 miles north of Trenton, where they built a beautiful fieldstone house, and began to raise their son more privately.
  • March 1, 1932 little Charlie Lindbergh who had come down with a cold, was put to bed around 8:30 P.M. by the nursemaid Betty Gow. At around 10:00 P.M. when Gow returned check on Charlie he was gone from his crib.
  • Charles Lindbergh ran up to his son's room where he found the window of the second story nursery open and on the window sill was a ransom note, written in poor English, that read:
Dear Sir,
Have 50,000 $ redy 25000$ in 20$ bills 15000$ in 10$ bills and 10000$ in 5$ bills. After 2-4 days will inform you were to deliver the Mony. We warm you for making anyding public or for notify the Polise the child is in gut care.

  • The news of the kidnapping was on the front page of every newspaper, news was relayed over radios, and by March 2 nearly everyone in the country new about the kidnapping of young Charlie.
  • Lindbergh wanted to take the investigation into his own hands. Unfortunately as an unexperienced detective many mistakes were made in the investigation, and much of the evidence was accidently destroyed.
  • People from all over the country offered to help find the little boy. A man named John "Jafsie" Codon, claimed to know information about the kidnappers, and offered to be the go-between for the Lindberghs and the kidnapper. Codon had several meetings with the supposed abductor of the child at a graveyard and finally Lindbergh brought the $50,000 in ransom money in exchange for a note from the kidnapper that supposedly revealed the whereabouts of the baby.
  • The note claimed the baby was located on a boat off the shore of Cape Cod. A search took place, but no boat and no baby were found. The note had been a trick.
  • On May 12, the remains of baby Charlie were found by a truck driver, who had pulled over to the side of Hopewell-Mount Rose Road, less than 4 miles from the Lindbergh home, to relieve himself.
  • It was determined that Charlie had been killed by "external violence to the head" and had most likely been killed as soon as he was taken from his home on March 1.
  • The case now became a murder case, and a new search began to find the murderer.
  • Serial numbers had been recorded on the ransom bills Lindbergh had given to the supposed kidnapper, and 2 1/2 years later through tracking of the spending of the money, police were able to identify Bruno Richard Hauptmann as the suspected kidnapper and murderer of the child.
  • In January 1935 the court trial began in Flemington. Over 10,000 would surround the courthouse, and people came from near and far to attend the trial (including reporters, authors, celebrities, officials, and more).
  • On February 13. 1935 Hauptmann was found guilty of the murder and given a death sentence by electric chair. April 3, 1936 Hauptmann was executed. However, to this day it is still unclear and people have their doubts concerning wether Hauptmann being the real kidnapper and murderer.
  • Charles Lindbergh moved to England for a while to escape the spotlight, so he could have privacy and would be able to mourn the loss of his son in isolation.

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"I was astonished at the effect my successful landing in France had on the nations of the world. To me, it was like a match lighting a bonfire."--- Charles Lindbergh's reaction to the impact his flight had on the entire world.

"It is the greatest shot of adrenaline to be doing what you have wanted to do so badly. You almost feel like you could fly without the plane." --- Charles Lindbergh.

"Fame - opportunity - wealth and also tragedy & loneliness & frustration rushed at him in those running figures on the field at Le Bourget," --- Mrs. Lindbergh (Charles' wife).

Connection to Today:

  • Today art varies greatly in technique and style and originality is encouraged. However, it was the 1920's art which broke out of the realm of all realism, and that set the precedent for such imaginative, creative, and original pieces as we see in our current society.
  • Now we take for granted the use of planes, but before Charles Lindbergh's daring feat, the idea of flying planes was very dangerous, especially when flying alone. Lindbergh revolutionized the world of flight, and these days taking a flight seems natural and uneventful for the most part.
  • After Charles Lindbergh, the people of America became enthralled with celebrities' personal lives which played an increased role in media coverage.