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RHQ
11-01-2008, 08:07 PM
My novel is set in the 1920s. The family is affluent (the father is a doctor, mother comes from old money). Here are the kinds of things I'd like to know. If you can point me to an online source, that would be best. My local library is small and does not do inter-library loans due to budget cutbacks.


What would the children have studied in school?
Is it likely that a daughter would have gone on to college?
Would their household help "live in"?
What would they have eaten on a daily basis, or at a fancy party?
Would food (milk, eggs, ice etc.) have been delivered?
Would their clothes have been made to order for them?
Would they have had a car? (Since he's a doctor, I'm guessing yes, but what kind?)
How often was mail delivered? And would they have had a telephone? If not, would they have frequent messengers showing up at the door?
What would a "society lady" do with herself all day?
Would the parents have had much to do with raising the kids, or would the housekeeper/nanny bear the bulk of the work?
What appliances would they have likely had?I have more questions, but I'll put those in another thread because they are not specific to the time period.

Thanks for any and all help/pointers! You can PM me or post here.

Kelly Smith

johnnysannie
11-01-2008, 08:21 PM
My novel is set in the 1920s. The family is affluent (the father is a doctor, mother comes from old money). Here are the kinds of things I'd like to know. If you can point me to an online source, that would be best. My local library is small and does not do inter-library loans due to budget cutbacks.


What would the children have studied in school?

I have many old textbooks from that era, the basics you would expect, arithmetic (math), science, history, English (both grammar and lit), health, and depending on the area and the school, maybe drafting or home ec (my grandmother went to HS in the late 1920s and took both)
Is it likely that a daughter would have gone on to college?If they have money, yes. My grandmother was enrolled to attend MU when she graduated in 1932 but couldn't because her father lost his business, their home, and money
Would their household help "live in"?
Maybe, maybe not. My great-grandparents had "day help" but many people did still have live-in help. After the Depression changed their fortune, my great-grandmother took a job as a cook for a senator, living in
What would they have eaten on a daily basis, or at a fancy party?
Get an old cookbook from the era; many reprints are available. They would have eaten more food in season....apples mainly in the fall, etc. Cookbooks will help with menus for both everyday and fancy parties.
Would food (milk, eggs, ice etc.) have been delivered?
Ice and milk, yes. Eggs, maybe, if they had someone from the country who delivered eggs in town. In this era, many people had their groceries delivered from the corner store.
Would their clothes have been made to order for them?
Depends. By that time period, many "off the rack" quality clothing could be purchased at big department stores, which ones would depend on the region. They could, however, have had clothing made as well
Would they have had a car? (Since he's a doctor, I'm guessing yes, but what kind?)
Without a doubt. Until her father lost all their money, my grandmother had her own car in high school!
How often was mail delivered? And would they have had a telephone? If not, would they have frequent messengers showing up at the door?
Mail in cities and towns, at least once a day, some places twice. A telephone would have been likely, especially for a doctor although many people did not yet have one. Telegrams were not uncommon so it is possible.
What would a "society lady" do with herself all day?
If she has a household staff, cook and maids, she would give them their duties, menus, etc. She would take care of her personal correspondence, attend functions like teas, ladies' parties, fund raisers, possibly volunteer, have or attend luncheons, shop, maybe fine needlework (like embroidery) for a hobby
Would the parents have had much to do with raising the kids, or would the housekeeper/nanny bear the bulk of the work?
Another one that depends on the family. Some left the housework to the help and raised their children; others let the children be reared by staff. It could be plausible either way.
What appliances would they have likely had?I

Small appliances were just coming into vogue. If they had money, then probably a sewing machine, coffee pot, curling iron, toaster, etc. Find a Sears catalog from the era or look up old ads to see what was available. They might have had a fridge but they were pretty uncommon and mostly for the very rich; most people had an ice boxhave more questions, but I'll put those in another thread because they are not specific to the time period.

Thanks for any and all help/pointers! You can PM me or post here.

Kelly Smith

Hope my answers (in blue) help!

RHQ
11-01-2008, 08:27 PM
Thank you Johnny! They really do.

I totally forgot about the Sears catalog. I know where to find those online so that will be a great help with what "items" they might have around the house.

Kelly

underthecity
11-02-2008, 02:25 AM
If you happen upon some back issues of Remisce magazine, those would help you, too. I have a big collection from the last few years, and many of your questions (which johnnysannie answered very well) are covered in the magazines through personal memories.