Images designed to encourage you to smoke cigarettes and see movies. As if they needed any encouragement! We start with the Ballyhoo series, HERE. Some magazine ads, HERE. Some old newspaper ads here.


From homey and simple to racy and sophisticated. Start HERE.


A song per year, chosen almost entirely at random from my collection. HERE.

New in 2017: sheet music illustrations, with recordings of the popular songs.


Eight issues of a child's magazine; a product of the publishing house that printed The Delineator. HERE.

Ooh la la. They had naughty things then, too. Start HERE.


Silents and talkies: Go HERE. For the Cartoons of the era, go HERE.

New in 2017: Forgotten Stars.



Confident, wealthy, and young: the American century starts to hit its stride! And promptly sits down for a drink and a show.

Every decade has its own cliches: the Thirties were Depressed, the Forties were full of pitch-together patriotism, the Fifties were Cheerful, the Sixties Turbulent, and so on. There’s truth in the generalities, but the cliches drive out competing views, and stick disparate trends and moods into the same shoebox, as if things CHANGE when the calendar turns over from 9 to 0. The Thirties, however, look coherent from a distance, measured from the Crash to the start of the war. Same with the Twenties, except backwards. It started with the end of a war, and ended with the Crash. In between was an extraordinary period of social change we call the Jazz Age.

Everything changed! Clothes! Furniture! Music! Architecture! It was as if someone flipped a switch in 1920, and the Modern World flamed into life! Well. No. If you’d like a deep evaluation of the era, go read a book. This is just a site that gives you a look at what people saw when they opened a magazine, or went to the movies, or cranked up the Victrola. As I've said before, trying to reconstruct life from the ephemera it leaves behind is like reconstructing a snowflake from a drop of melted water. At least these are the genuine articles, not someone's idea of what "vintage" was like.

If you find it all musty and quaint . . . well, imagine you were there, young as the century, and sensing the world changing at a pace your parents never knew. It must have been a grand ride.

NOTE: New additions to Spicy in 2017, and a new feature: Unknowns.