Jazz Age Annotated Source List

Caelynn Robinson

Professor Fieldston

History of NYC

October 5th, 2016

Virtual Guidebook Assignment: Jazz Age New York

My topic for the virtual guidebook assignment is the jazz age in New York City. New York City is one of the entertainment capitals of the world, and much of that entertainment is from music. Music is not new to the city, and came to a peak during the jazz age. The jazz age was at its peak in the 1920s, when jazz was becoming more and more popular. Many of the most famous jazz musicians were African Americans such as Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington. The jazz age was not only a pivotal time for music, but also for fashion, mass culture, prohibition, the automobile, and the lives of women. This time is also called “The Roaring Twenties,” since it was a time known for its opulence and over the top parties. New Yorkers travelled to Carnegie Hall to get their fix of jazz music at one of the many concerts put on there. People looking to party and drink illegal alcohol would visit speakeasies such as The Back Room, where the entrance to the bar was hidden behind a bookcase. The Cotton Club was another major jazz club, known for its “#1 Beer” and a memorable house band led by Duke Ellington. New York is full of landmarks that will transport visitors back to the Jazz Age with just one step inside.





Annotated Source List

  1. Elmayan, Lara. “Vintage Photos: Inside the Cotton Club, One of NYC’s Leading Jazz Venues of the 1920s and ’30s.” Untapped Cities RSS. N.p., 05 Aug. 2013. Web. 05 Oct. 2016.

This secondary source focuses on the history of The Cotton Club, one of the most famous jazz clubs in NYC during this era. It was located in Harlem and owned by the infamous gangster Owney Madden. This club was the go-to spot for illegal alcohol and entertainment from jazz musicians and dancers. This source also includes multiple vintage photos from the Cotton Club’s prime years which I will use to show what the people and the places from this period look like.

  1. Thomas, Donn. 1926. “Prohibition: The Failure of Enforcement.” New Republic 47, no. 610: 326. Points of View Reference Center, EBSCOhost (accessed October 5, 2016).


This newspaper article from the August 11th, 1926 issue of The New Republic magazine focuses on one of the most important events of the jazz age: prohibition. This particular article believes that prohibition has been a failure and has not been enforced. With all the speakeasies in NYC during this time, I would have to agree with this article. I am going to use this source to show the reasons why prohibition was not successful and how there were so many speakeasies in NYC.


  1. “If Jazz Isn’t Music, Why Isn’t it?” New York Times (1923-Current File), Jun 13, 1926. http://search.proquest.com/docview/103913320?accountid=13793.

This article from the June 13th, 1926 issue of The New York Times focuses on the history of jazz music. It discusses the rise of the saxophone and blues music. Its main argument is that jazz is music, despite what many whites think. Jazz music was mainly performed by African Americans during this age at the listening pleasure of wealthier white citizens. I am going to use this source to show how jazz rose to become such a popular genre and why African Americans were so involved with it.


  1. By, MILDRED ADAMS. “REVOLT RUMBLES IN THE FASHION WORLD.” New York Times (1923-Current File), Oct 27, 1929. http://search.proquest.com/docview/104788205?accountid=13793.


This New York Times article from October 27th, 1929 focuses on women’s fashion and how it changed throughout the 1920s. The 1920s was the peak of the jazz age in New York City, and also a time of change for women’s expectations and fashion. They were wearing short skirts and being referred to as “flappers.” I am going to use this source to explore the changing fashion and roles of women in the Jazz Age.


  1. “Press Center.” People and History. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Oct. 2016.

This secondary source is a website about the history of Carnegie Hall. Carnegie Hall was one of the most important concert halls in NYC in the jazz era. It was home to hundreds of jazz concerts by famous artists such as Louis Armstrong ad Duke Ellington. I am going to use this source to show how this landmark has changed from then until now.


  1. “The Backroom Bar in New York City | National Trust for Historic Preservation.” The Backroom Bar in New York City | National Trust for Historic Preservation. 2014. Accessed October 05, 2016. https://savingplaces.org/stories/historic-bars-backroom-bar-new-york-city#.V_XJFOLMicE.

This secondary source discusses the history of The Back Room, a popular speakeasy from the jazz age. It is still in business today, and can be accessed the same way it was in the 1920s through a secret entrance. I am going to use this source to show what speakeasies were like and what the New Yorkers were spending their nights doing.

  1. Winter, Elizabeth. “The Black Past: Remembered and Reclaimed.” Accessed December 14, 2016. http://www.blackpast.org/aah/cotton-club-harlem-1923.

I used this secondary source to learn more about the Cotton Club during the jazz era. I learned that the Cotton Club was created to be a “fashionable plantation” and that it was extremely segregated.

  1. Corporation, Carnegie Hall. “Press Center.” 2016. Accessed December 10, 2016. https://www.carnegiehall.org/Press/People-and-History/.

I used this secondary source to learn about the history of Carnegie Hall. It gave me information on the jazz artists that played at Carnegie Hall during the jazz era. It also included a timeline of how Carnegie Hall has changed and adapted over the years since it was built.

  1. By, MARGARET O. “More Ado about the Flapper.” New York Times (1857-1922), Apr 16, 1922. http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.shu.edu/docview/98854065?accountid=13793.

This primary source is a news article from the New York Times in 1922. It discusses the new “flapper” and their sense of style. It also discussed the flapper attitude and personality. I am going to use this to demonstrate how sexual norms were changing during the jazz age, especially for young women.

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