Jazz-Age Boomtown

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Texas A&M University Press, 1997 - History - 155 pages
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The 1920s oil boom changed every aspect of life in the sleepy town of Breckenridge, Texas--employment, social activities, housing, religion, and education--and with these changes came the beginnings of modern American culture.

Suddenly ranchers became oilmen, public school teachers became oil wildcatters, and enterprising businessmen moved in to provide this small town with sustenance, housing, and entertainment. Within two years, Breckenridge's population grew to nearly thirty thousand, and this roughneck oil boomtown became a vigorous commercial city of schools, churches, and modern housing.

Jazz-Age Boomtown: Basil Clemons's Photographs of Breckenridge, Texas, in the 1920s depicts the social history of small-town America and the oil boom phenomenon in a stunning photographic essay. Photographer Basil Clemons photographed not only the oil fields but also many other aspects of Breckenridge's boom--views of main streets, fires, floods, the circus, movie theaters, sporting events, schools, ranches, shops, and restaurants--capturing the essence of the boomtown atmosphere.

Clemons, the town's only professional photographer and most eccentric resident, traveled to California, the Pacific Northwest, and Alaska before returning to Texas in 1919 and settling in Breckenridge. His pictures reflect the transformation of rural to urban values in the early twentieth century, providing a visual history of modern American culture.

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Basil Clemons The Photographer and the Ian
West Texas Crude Breckenridge as an Oil Boomtown
Bread and Circuses Entertainment off and on the Road
The First Picture Show The Impact of Cinema
Sports Games People Played
Frontier Flappers Women and Fashion in the Oil Belt
Main Street Breckenridge Babbitts in Boomtown
Faces Outside the Crowd The People of Breckenridge

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Page xiii - Genealogists often ask me to tell them about the "genealogical resources" we have in the Special Collections Division of The University of Texas at Arlington Libraries.

About the author (1997)

Jerry Rodnitzky, professor of history at the University of Texas at Arlington, is the author of many articles on twentieth-century American social, intellectual, and cultural history and popular culture.Shirley Rodnitzky is manuscript archivist in the Special Collections Division, University of Texas at Arlington Libraries.

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