By: Robert Landry
Date: August 11, 1941
Source: Landry, Robert. "Rita Hayworth." Photograph, August 11, 1941. Life Cover Collection Website. Available online at http://www.life.com/Life/search/covers/1941/cv081141.html; website home page: http://www.life.com/Life/search/covers (accessed March 8, 2003).
About the Artist: Rita Hayworth (1918–1987) was born in Brooklyn, New York. She achieved stardom in a series of movie musicals, including You'll Never Get Rich (1941) and You Were Never Lovelier (1942), both with Fred Astaire, and Cover Girl (1944). She also appeared in some of the classic film noirs (movies featuring corrupt characters, bleak urban settings, and lots of shadows), most notably Gilda (1945). In 1948, she starred in The Lady From Shanghai, which was directed by her second husband, Orson Welles, who was also her costar. In 1949, the divorced Hayworth married the playboy prince Aly Khan. The marriage was a controversial union for both parties.
Rita Hayworth was born Margarita Carmen Cansino. Her mother was a Ziegfeld Follies chorus...
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"Veronica Lake's Hair: It Is a Cinema Property of World Influence"
Date: November 24, 1941
Source: "Veronica Lake's Hair: It Is a Cinema Property of World Influence." Life 11, November 24, 1941, 58–61.
About the Artist: Veronica Lake (1919–1973) was chosen by director Preston Sturges as the leading lady in his semi-autobiographical film Sullivan's Travels (1941), which Lake herself considered her best performance. In 1942, she was teamed with Alan Ladd in This Gun for Hire, the first of several films they made together. Life named Lake the top box-office star of 1943. Her other film roles included The Blue Dahlia (1946) and The Glass Key (1942), both examples of classic Hollywood film noir (a genre of movie featuring corrupt characters, bleak urban settings, and lots of shadows).
It was in a minor role in an Eddie Cantor film that an actress called Constance Keane (born Constance Frances Marie Ockleman) introduced what many consider the hairstyle of the twentieth century. When her hair fell over one eye while she was playing a bit part in Forty Little Mothers (1940), director Busby Berkeley, a connoisseur of over-the-top style, recognized a new one. He advised the makeup man, "Let it fall. It distinguishes...
(The entire section is 1685 words.)
"United States Auto Plants Are Cleared for War"
Date: February 16, 1942
Source: "United States Auto Plants Are Cleared for War." Life, February 16, 1942.
About the Publication: Life was founded in 1936 as a pictorial news magazine by publisher Henry R. Luce (1898–1967), who also founded Time (1923), Fortune (1930), and Sports Illustrated (1954). It was published weekly until 1972, and beginning in 1978 it shifted to publishing monthly issues. After its first few issues, Life quickly became noted for its photojournalism, especially for offering more pages of photos than its competitors provided.
With their involvement in World War II (1939– 1945), Americans had gone from the pursuit of pleasure to the waging of war. The automobile companies stopped the production of automobiles for civilians so that they could manufacture tanks, trucks, and airplanes, as well as bombs, shells, and artillery. The contracts for war-related production that the government gave the automakers more than doubled.
America's transition from civilian to wartime production reveals the flexibility of the American system of government. The Founding Fathers intended a limited government, one that is...
(The entire section is 1067 words.)
American Men in Three Wartime Posters
"Man the Guns—Join the Navy"; "Keep 'Em Fighting"; "Get Hot— Keep Moving"
By: McClelland Barclay; National Safety Council; Unknown
Source: McClelland, Barclay; National Safety Council; Unknown. "Man the Guns—Join the Navy"; "Keep 'Em Fighting"; "Get Hot—Keep Moving." 1942. National Archives and Records Administration, Still Picture Branch, Washington, D.C. Available online at http://www.archives.gov/exhibit_hall/powers_of_persuasion/m... ; website home page: http://archives.gov (accessed March 28, 2003).
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American Women in Three Wartime Posters
"Victory Waits on Your Fingers"; "Longing Won't Get Him Back Sooner… Get a War Job!"; "We Can Do It!"
By: Royal Typewriter Company; Lawrence Wilbur; J. Howard Miller
Date: ca. 1942
Source: Royal Typewriter Company; Lawrence Wilbur; J. Howard Miller. "Victory Waits on Your Fingers"; "Longing
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Address at the Dedication of the Thomas Jefferson
By: Franklin D. Roosevelt
Date: April 13, 1943
Source: Roosevelt, Franklin D. Address at the Dedication of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Washington, D.C. April 13, 1943. The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Vol. 12. New York: Random House, 1943.
About the Author: Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882–1945), the thirty-second president of the United States, was born in Hyde Park, New York. In 1910, he was elected state senator of New York. From 1913 to 1920, he served as the assistant secretary of the navy. He was twice elected governor of New York State. At the height of the Great Depression, Roosevelt became president of the United States in 1932. He was reelected president four times, dying in office in April 1945 during the first few months of his last term.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicated the Jefferson Memorial...
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By: Charles and Ray Eames
Date: 1945, 1948
Source: Eames, Charles, and Ray Eames. Eames chairs. Lounge chair prototype, 1945; "La Chaise," 1948. Available online at http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/eames/images/vc9671.jpg; http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/eames/images/vcf23a.jpg; website home page http://www.loc.gov (accessed March 24, 2003).
About the Designers: Charles Eames (1907–1978) and Ray Eames (1912–1988) were a husband-and-wife team of interior designers and curators. Ray was also a painter, while
(The entire section is 850 words.)
"Building a Democracy"
By: Frank Lloyd Wright
Date: October 1946
Source: Wright, Frank Lloyd. "Building a Democracy." Taliesin Square-Paper Number 10, October 1946. Reprinted in Pfeiffer, Bruce Brooks, ed. Frank Lloyd Wright: Collected Writings. New York: Rizzoli, 1992.
About the Author: Frank Lloyd Wright (1867–1959) is considered the foremost twentieth-century American architect. For six decades Wright was responsible for the most innovative and beautiful designs for private homes and public buildings of any American architect.
Frank Lloyd Wright opened his practice in 1893. From architect Louis Sullivan's doctrine that form should follow function in architecture, meaning that the style and materials of a building should embody its purpose, Wright developed his own belief that in a good building form and function are the same. He called his architecture "organic," or natural. He believed that a building should be an extension of the natural surroundings. The rooms should not be enclosed spaces but should flow into one another through shared spaces. Wright also developed a new vision of mid-western domestic architecture, the "Prairie Style," with its trademark long horizontals, overhanging eaves, and open interior spaces that...
(The entire section is 3183 words.)
The Farnsworth House
By: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Source: Mies van der Rohe, Ludwig. The Farnsworth House. 1946–1951. Friends of the Farnsworth House. Available online at http://www.farnsworthhousefriends.org/house.html (accessed March 8, 2003).
About the Architect: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886– 1969) was one of the major innovators of twentieth-century architecture. He was also an influential designer. His revolutionary architectural work is summed up in his famous phrase, "Less is more."
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe first achieved prominence with his designs for all-glass skyscrapers, which were never built but captured the imagination of generations of young architects. He would later realize part of these designs in the twin-tower apartment block of Chicago's Lake Shore Drive (1951) and the Seagram Building (1958) in New York.
Mies van der Rohe designed the German Pavilion for the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition, which
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"New Look and Revolt Against New Look"
Date: September 15, 1947
Source: "New Look and Revolt Against New Look." Time 50, September 15, 1947, 49–50.
About the Publication: The first issue of Time appeared in 1923. Since that time, it has become one of the world's most widely read news magazines. The international publication is perhaps best known for its "Person of the Year" issue. This edition is published at the close of each year, and profiles the individual who, in the magazine's view, has had the most impact on world history in the previous twelve months.
The end of World War II (1939–1945) meant a return to normalcy, one aspect of which was women's fashion. American fashion designers could make the clothing they wanted without government restrictions. Although the clothing industry came out with various designs, none excited the public's interest; the result was that sales went down rather than up. A new style was needed and as American designers were creating new fashions, so were their Parisian counterparts.
Christian Dior (1905–1957) established his fashion house in Paris in 1946 and became famous for the New Look in 1947, which consisted of narrow shoulders, constricted waist, and...
(The entire section is 2042 words.)
"The Glass House, New Canaan, Connecticut"
By: Philip Johnson
Source: Johnson, Philip. "The Glass House, New Canaan, Connecticut." 1949. Reprinted in Writings. New York: Oxford University Press, 1979.
About the Architect: Philip Johnson (1906–) is a leading American architect and critic. He was already one of the most influential writers and curators on modern architecture, when he went back to school to become an architect. His notable collaboration with Ludwig Mies van der Rohe led to the construction of the Seagram Building skyscraper in New York (1958). In his later architectural work, he is credited with the invention of postmodernism, which consisted of an eclectic mix of modernism and other styles from the whole history of architecture.
Philip Johnson made every effort to publicize the fact that his Glass House at New Canaan, Connecticut, was derivative in nature and could not have been created if it were not for the works of earlier figures in the field. He explained that "we are [the] descendants" of the "intellectual revolutionaries" from the baroque period because like them we are attached to the cube, the sphere, and other mathematical shapes. Johnson's taking the cube as the "absolute" form for his glass house...
(The entire section is 850 words.)
"The Curse of Conformity"
By: Walter Gropius
Source: Gropius, Walter. "The Curse of Conformity." Saturday Evening Post, 1958. Reprinted as "Unity in Diversity." In Apollo in the Democracy: The Cultural Obligations of the Architect. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1968, 21–32.
About the Architect: Walter Gropius (1883–1969) was a German American architect and educator. He was the founder of the Bauhaus (literally "house of building") school. His leadership led to a new unified and integrated approach to design education, which supplanted older schools and has dominated the study of design in the twentieth century. After leaving Germany, he became chair of the school of architecture at Harvard University.
It is impossible to imagine daily life in urban American without the glass-and-steel lines of its modern buildings. The movement that brought about the American modernist architectural revolution can very much be traced to two men: Walter Gropius and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Neither of these master builders of modern America was American-born, however. Born in Germany at the end of the 1800s, they came to America as the Nazis rose to power in Germany to direct architects and designers on a wholly new path—one as...
(The entire section is 4054 words.)