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Chapter Five Sex for Sale: Reginald Marsh's Voluptuous Shopper

1. Erica L. Doss, "Images of American Women in the 2930s: Reginald Marsh and Paramount Picture," Woman's Art Journal 4 (Fall 1983-Winter 1984), p. 3. [BACK]

2. Richard N. Masteller, in his recent study of Marsh's graphic work ("We, the People?" Satiric Prints of the 1930s [Walla Walla, Wash.: Donald H. Sheehan Gallery, Whitman College, 1989]), has noted the contradictory critical responses to the artist:

Marsh has been variously seen as an artist given to "lyricism and unabashed romantic abandon," a realist presenting an "accurate picture" and "bold record" of contemporary life, a ''traditional painter" whose knowledge of the Old Masters informs his work, and a satirist whose caricatures "comment on social vulgarities." Lloyd Goodrich has asserted, . . . "he was not primarily or exclusively a satirist" because "fundamentally the affirmative elements in his art outweighed the negative." (pp. 49, 67 n. 53)

3. The "failing grip of categories" is Leo Steinberg's phrase, in "The Polemical Part," Art in America 67 (March/April 1979), p. 119. [BACK]

4. Edward Laning, The Sketchbooks of Reginald Marsh (Greenwich, Conn.: New York Graphic Society, 1973), p. 12; and Marilyn Cohen, "Reginald Marsh: An Interpretation of His Art," Ph.D. diss., New York University, Institute of Fine Arts, pp. 95-96. [BACK]

5. To follow the controversy, see "Art, U.S. Scene," Time , December 24, 1934, pp. 24-25; Stuart Davis, "The New York American Scene in Art," Art Front 1 (February 1935), p. 6; and Reginald Marsh, "A Short Autobiography," Art and Artists of Today 1 (March 1937), p. 8. Lloyd Goodrich analyzes the interchange and reasserts the apolitical nature of Marsh's paintings in his Reginald Marsh (New York: Abrams, 1972), p. 44. [BACK]

6. In his interview with me, December 30, 1982, Goodrich claimed that Marsh never believed an artist could make art that was both comprehensible to the working classes and instrumental in the class struggle without sacrificing the demands of art. [BACK]

7. For the discussion of "cultural satire," see Chapter 3 and Masteller, "We, the People? " pp. 45-65. [BACK]

8. Cohen, "Reginald Marsh: An Interpretation," p. 170. [BACK]

9. Cohen, "Reginald Marsh: An Interpretation," pp. 176, 179-193. [BACK]

10. Rosemary Betterton, "How Do Women Look? The Female Nude in the Work of Suzanne Valadon," in Looking On: Images of Femininity in the Visual Arts and Media , ed. Rosemary Betterton (London and New York: Pandora Press, 1987), p. 218. [BACK]

11. Laura Mulvey, "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema," in Brian Wallis, ed., Art After Modernism: Rethinking Representation (New York and Boston: New Museum of Contemporary Art, in association with Godine, 1984), pp. 361-373. Mulvey's work as well as that of Rosalind Coward, Female Desire: Women's Sexuality Today (London: Paladin, 1974), p. 78, is discussed in Betterton, "How Do Women Look?" pp. 219-222. [BACK]

12. Laura Mulvey, "Afterthoughts on 'Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema' Inspired by Duel in the Sun " in Feminism and Film Theory , ed. Constance Penley (London and New York: Routledge, 2988), pp. 69-79; Betterton, "How Do Women Look?" p. 222. [BACK]

13. Teresa de Lauretis, Technologies of Gender: Essays on Theory, Film, and Fiction (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2987), pp. 4-5. [BACK]

14. De Lauretis, Technologies of Gender , p. 2. In this introduction to the book, de Lauretis explores the limits of gender as "sexual difference." For an excellent discussion of why it is important to retain the idea of sexual difference, why gender (a social difference imposed on a sexed body) is a different kind of difference, and what results from the psychic

construction of sexual difference, see Constance Penley, The Future of an Illusion: Film, Feminism, and Psychoanalysis (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1989), pp. xi-xx. [BACK]

15. See Chapter 6 for a discussion of the Siren's image in the role of working girl. [BACK]

16. Edward Laning, East Side, West Side, All Around the Town (Tucson: University of Arizona Museum of Art, 1969), pp. 96-97. Laning believes that Marsh found this woman at the burlesque. Marsh did not create the Siren stereotype (as Charles Dana Gibson created the Gibson girl), but the Marsh girl is a distinctive type, fueled by the contemporaneous Siren stereotype. [BACK]

17. In January 1931, there were 22,731 motion picture theaters in America, seating an audience of 11 million. The industry developed rapidly following the introduction of sound in 1926. J. F. Steiner, "Recreation and Leisure Time Activities," in Recent Social Trends in the United States: Report of the President's Research Committee on Social Trends (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1934), pp. 940-941. [BACK]

18. Cover page slogans from Modern Screen , all months, 1933. [BACK]

19. European traits of the Siren are discussed in Mildred Adams, "Now the Siren Eclipses the Flapper," New York Times , July 28, 1929, sec. 5, pp. 4-5, and in Alexander Walker, The Celluloid Sacrifice: Aspects of Sex in the Movies (New York: Hawthorn Books, 1966), chapter 5, "The Fugitive Kind: Garbo," pp. 93-112. [BACK]

20. Forbes Watson, a major critic of the 1930s, felt that Marsh's paintings were like photographically seen bits, pasted together without an overriding compositional order. Forbes Watson, "Innocent Bystander," American Magazine of Art 28 (January 1935), p. 62. [BACK]

21. Although I have not located either Antoine's at 20 East Fourteenth Street or the Modern Beauty School, at 7 East Fourteenth Street (see Fig. 3.19; Plate 3), it was Marsh's practice to be documentary. [BACK]

22. Edward Laning, "Reginald Marsh," Demcourier 13 (June 1943), p. 7; and Watson, "Innocent Bystander," p. 62. Marilyn Cohen, Reginald Marsh's New York: Paintings, Drawings, Prints, and Photographs (New York: Whitney Museum of American Art in association with Dover, 1983), p. 2; and Thomas H. Garver, Reginald Marsh: A Retrospective Exhibition (Newport Beach, Ca.: Newport Harbor Art Museum, 1972), refer to the Marsh girl as a fantasy. [BACK]

23. Matthew Baigell, The American Scene: American Painting of the 1930s (New York: Praeger, 1974), p. 146. According to Edward Laning ("Reginald Marsh," p. 7), Kenneth Hayes Miller observed that Marsh's work looked best when viewed as a sequence. Marilyn Cohen, Reginald Marsh's New York , p. 12, has observed that Marsh's working process was cinematic: he liked to paste contacts of photographs into his album in long rows and also worked on several paintings at once. [BACK]

24. Malcolm M. Willey," 'Identification' and the Inculcation of Social Values," Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 160 (March 1932), pp. 103-109. [BACK]

25. Marsh's 1912 diary, entries dated January 26, October 22, November 19 and 26, and December 25. Reginald Marsh Papers, Archives of American Art, Washington, D.C. [BACK]

26. Lloyd Goodrich, Reginald Marsh , p. 295. Between 1926 and 1930 both movie attendance and the rate of capital investment doubled, in part because of the installation of sound equipment in three-fourths of the new theaters. See J. F. Steiner, "Recreation and Leisure Time Activities," in Recent Social Trends , pp. 940-941. [BACK]

27. Lloyd Goodrich suggested Marsh's fondness for both German films and newsreels in our interview, December 30, 1982. With Felicia, Marsh attended several operas; he also began to record his attendance at symphonies and plays in his diaries. He participated more often in museum and gallery openings and went to more parties. In 1932, Marsh accepted

new institutional responsibilities with the vice-presidency of the Art Students League's Board of Control. By 1935 he was teaching regularly in the summer. With the commencement of the Treasury Section's program for decorating public buildings, Marsh received two commissions for murals. Beginning in May 1935 he spent most of his time preparing his murals for the Post Office Department Building in Washington, D.C., and in 1937 he executed his murals for the Customs House in New York. The summary of movies and events in Marsh's

life is culled from his diaries at the Archives of American Art. [BACK]

28. Laning, "Reginald Marsh," p. 7. [BACK]

29. Goodrich, Reginald Marsh , p. 6. Many of the letters from performers and viewers in the burlesque shows that Marsh reviewed can be found in the Marsh papers at the Archives of American Art. [BACK]

30. Benton initially paid Marsh $100 per month and then increased the payment to $150. Cohen, "Reginald Marsh: An Interpretation," p. 83 n. 6. [BACK]

31. Roland Marchand, Advertising the American Dream: Making Way for Modernity, 1920-1940 (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1985), p. 310; and Studs Terkel, Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression (New York: Washington Square Press, 1970), p. 80. [BACK]

32. Terkel, Hard Times, p . 81. [BACK]

33. Kenneth Brooks Haas, Adventures in Buysmanship (Ann Arbor, Mich.: Edwards Brothers, 1937), p.13. [BACK]

34. Mildred Adams, "Now the Siren Eclipses the Flapper." I do not know whether Marsh read the New York Times or if he would have seen this particular piece, a feature article in the Sunday supplement. [BACK]

35. All quotations here from Adams, p. 4. Greta Garbo and Theda Bara are two Sirens often cited. For additional discussions of the Siren, see Lois Banner, American Beauty (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1983), p. 280. [BACK]

36. Adams, "Now the Siren Eclipses the Flapper," p. 5. [BACK]

37. Adams, p. 5. [BACK]

38. Dorothy Dunbar Bromley, "Feminist—New Style," Harper's Monthly Magazine 155 (October 1927), pp. 552-560; Lillian Symes, "The New Masculinism," Harper's Monthly Magazine 161 (June 1930), pp. 98-107; and Symes, "Still a Man's Game: Reflections of a Slightly Tired Feminist," Harper's Monthly Magazine 158 (May 1929), pp. 678-686. [BACK]

39. Cohen, Reginald Marsh's New York , p. 27. [BACK]

40. Pamela Neal Warford, "The Social Origins of Female Iconography: Selected Images of Women in American Popular Culture, 1890-1945," Ph.D. diss., Washington University, St. Louis, 1979, pp. 78-80. [BACK]

41. Adams, "Now the Siren Eclipses the Flapper," pp. 4-5. [BACK]

42. Modern Screen , December 1933, pp. 14-16. [BACK]

43. Modern Screen , June 1933, p. 52. Following a brief postwar baby boom, the birth rate had been in decline since about 1926, and there was some concern about the ultimate long-range effects of the decline. P. K. Whelpton, "The Population of the Nation," in Recent Social Trends in the United States: Report of the President's Research Committee on Social Trends (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1934), p. 39. See also Recent Social Trends for statistics on marriage and childbearing in the Depression. In the early 1980s Time magazine's cover story "The New Baby Bloom" featured "Charlie's Angels" star Jaclyn Smith as its prime example of a successful woman in her thirties turning away from a career to home and motherhood. The cover featured a radiantly pregnant Smith surrounded, like a Madonna,

by a glow of light. The article failed to mention the reality for mothers who continued to work from economic need. Time , February 22, 1982, pp. 52-58. [BACK]

44. Modern Screen , April 1933, p. 4 for all quotations. [BACK]

45. Occasionally, magazines and stories documented the darker side of Hollywood. One article in Modern Screen (ironically placed near a regular feature entitled "You Can Be Anything You Want"), citing statistics to show the near impossibility of Hollywood hopefuls' finding jobs, urged parents to keep their boys and girls at home. Jack Jamison, "Hollywood's Lost Children," Modern Screen , September 1934, pp. 62 -63 . In The Day of the Locust , published in 1939, Nathanael West painted a grim picture of Hollywood's failures, one of them an aspiring Siren. [BACK]

46. Robert Sklar, Movie-Made America: A Social History of American Movies (New York: Random House, 1975), writes of three movies, all from 1932, in which this type appears Blonde Venus (Marlene Dietrich), Red Dust (Jean Harlow), and Back Street (Irene Dunn). He observes that although Hollywood used this type to cater to prurient interests, these films also implied "that there was no room in the marketplace for women other than on stage or in bed" (p. 178). See also, Warford, "The Social Origins of Female Iconography," pp. 73-75. [BACK]

47. Adams, "Now the Siren Eclipses the Flapper," p. 5; and Warford, p. 79. [BACK]

48. Andrew Bergman, We're in the Money: Depression American and Its Films (New York: New York University Press, 1971), p. 51. See also Warford, p. 24 n. 11. [BACK]

49. Doss, "Images of American Women in the 1930s," pp. 2-3. Much of Doss's analysis is based on Marjorie Rosen, Popcorn Venus: Women, Movies, and the American Dream (New York: Coward, McCann and Geoghegan, 1973). [BACK]

50. Lois W. Banner, American Beauty , pp. 280-282. [BACK]

51. A 1920s Listerine mouthwash advertisement that pictured a woman looking at a photograph of her husband read,

Why had he changed so in his attentions? The thing was simply beyond her. She couldn't puzzle it out. And every moment it preyed on her mind and was almost breaking her heart.

He had been the most attentive lover and husband imaginable. But of late some strange something seemed to have come between them. Now he was so changed.

Was it some other woman? No, she told herself—it couldn't be! Yet why wasn't he the way he used to be toward her?

The ad then went on to assure the anxious reader that halitosis could indeed be cured with frequent use of Listerine. [BACK]

52. Modern Screen , September 1933, p. 89. [BACK]

53. Modern Screen , April 1933, p. 91. [BACK]

54. My historical analysis is based on Lois Banner's argument in American Beauty , pp. 202-208, 218. [BACK]

55. In 1920 there were 5,000 beauty parlors in the United States; by 1925 the number had grown to 25,000, and by 1930, to 40,000. In 1930, cosmetic sales reached $180 million, more than was allocated nationally to either education or social services. Banner, American Beauty , pp. 271-272. [BACK]

56. Banner, American Beauty , p. 208. [BACK]

57. Marchand, Advertising the American Dream , pp. 52-60. [BACK]

58. Marchand, p. 62. Much of Marchand's material on advertisers' feelings about audi-

ence is drawn from the discussions in trade publications like Printers' Ink and agencies' inhouse newsletters. Marchand demonstrates how in the 1920s advertising men were brought up short by the popularity of the tabloids and True Story magazine. Although they initially resisted the lower standards of the confessional advertisement, by the end of the decade it had become a popular form, even in magazines targeting a middle- to upper-middle-class audience. [BACK]

59. Marchand, pp. 66-69. [BACK]

60. Marchand, pp. 300-301. [BACK]

61. Advertising Age , March 22, 1937, p. 50, as quoted in Marchand, p. 68. [BACK]

62. "Cynic's Progress," newspaper clipping of an undated review of Marsh's one-man exhibition at the Rehn Gallery when he was thirty-four; from scrapbook no. 4, frontispiece to Cohen, Reginald Marsh's New York . [BACK]

63. Marchand, Advertising the American Dream , pp. 48-50, 86-87. [BACK]

64. Adolph Dehn, "My Friend, Reggie," Demcourier 13 (June 1943), p. 11. [BACK]

65. Marsh's explanation of why his pictures didn't sell in the 1930s, in William Benton, "Reginald Marsh As I Remember Him," mimeographed essay, quoted in Cohen, "Reginald Marsh: An Interpretation," p. 27. [BACK]

66. My discussion of the Siren stereotype's function is based on Pamela Warford's analysis in "The Social Origins of Female Iconography." Warford (p. viii) suggests that women have been instructed in numerous roles, often through a stereotypical model of womanhood like the Gibson girl, the flapper, and the Siren. She argues further that people in the media have recognized that a particular image at a given time was "culturally functional or economically advantageous," even if it was disadvantageous to the American woman. She assumes that the media generate and control "needs" in a given era. [BACK]

67. Sumiko Higashi, "Cinderella vs. Statistics: The Silent Movie Heroine as Jazz-Age Working Girl," in Mary Kelly, ed., Woman's Being, Woman's Place: Female Identity and Vocation in American History (Boston: G. K. Hall, 1979). [BACK]

68. Stuart Ewen and Elizabeth Ewen, Channels of Desire: Mass Images and the Shaping of American Consciousness (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1982). [BACK]

69. Laning, East Side, West Side, p . 97. [BACK]

70. Cohen, Reginald Marsh's New York , p. 21. [BACK]

71. Haas, Adventures in Buysmanship , pp. 12-13. Haas observed that advertisers used slogans and stereotypes because we symbolize in precisely the same way. For a discussion of the way stereotypes work—and the way they are both simple and complex like ideology— see T. E. Perkins, "Rethinking Stereotypes," in Michele Barrett et al., Ideology and Cultural Production (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1979), pp. 135-139. [BACK]

72. T. J. Jackson Lears, "From Salvation to Self-Realization: Advertising and the Therapeutic Roots of the Consumer Culture, 1880-1930," in The Culture of Consumption , ed. Richard Wightman Fox and T. J. Jackson Lears (New York: Pantheon Books, 1983), pp. 3-5. Lears argues that advertising became effective as middle-class people became increasingly preoccupied with finding health and well-being (selfhood and autonomy) in secular rather than in religious or moral frameworks. This "modern therapeutic ethos," with its central goal of regenerating selfhood and autonomy, became a central modern preoccupation and fueled advertising strategies throughout the first third of the century. I borrow the terms autonomy and selfhood from Lears's discussions throughout my analysis since they apply to the Siren and the shopping crowd as Marsh depicts them. [BACK]

73. Edward Laning, The Sketchbooks of Reginald Marsh (Greenwich, Conn.: New York Graphic Society, 1973), p. 136. [BACK]

74. Sklar, Movie-Made America , pp. 173-174, 176. Sklar observes that between 1930

and 1934 Hollywood films were preoccupied with sex, violence, and political melodrama. Although such themes tied into social realism in general, Sklar suggests that subjects were chosen for reasons of "crassest expediency." Producers deliberately sought exaggerated forms of stimulation, appealing to prurient interest to lure audiences and reverse plummeting theater revenues in the early years of the Depression (one-third of the nation's movie theaters had shut down by 1933). [BACK]

75. Erica Doss identifies this woman as a working women in "Images of American Women in the 1930s," p. 3. [BACK]

76. I would like to thank Rebecca Zurier for her helpful suggestions on Marsh's "sketchiness" and his use of tempera. In fact, as Lloyd Goodrich has argued, Marsh had problems learning to handle the oil painting medium; tempera came closer to his natural way of working as a draftsman. Goodrich, Reginald Marsh , pp. 162-163. [BACK]

77. One of the most fruitful of these studies is Herbert Blumer, Movies and Conduct (New York: Macmillan, 1933), part of a twelve-book series on motion pictures and youth that gives some indication of the concern about film's role in shaping values. Sponsored by the Committee on Educational Research of the Payne Fund as requested by the National Committee for the Study of Social Values in Motion Pictures—by 1933 renamed The Motion Picture Research Council—the series included the following titles: Getting Ideas from the Movies; Motion Pictures and the Social Attitudes of Children; The Social Conduct and Attitudes of Movie Fans; Motion Pictures and Standards of Morality; Movies, Delinquency, and Crime ; and Boys, Movies, and City Streets . [BACK]

78. This is discussed below, and documented in Ewen and Ewen, Channels of Desire , pp. 52-55. [BACK]

79. Haas, Adventures in Buysmanship . The sociologist David Park at the University of Chicago was one of the major scholars to discuss individual behavior in the crowd during this period. [BACK]

80. Willey, "'Identification' and the Inculcation of Social Values," p. 108. [BACK]

81. Willey, p. 109. [BACK]

82. Willey, pp. 109-110. [BACK]

83. Blumer, Movies and Conduct , p. 34. [BACK]

84. Blumer, pp. 41-42. In Advertising the American Dream , p. 96, Marchand illustrates an advertisement featuring a testimonial by Nazimova for Lucky Strike cigarettes. European stars who were undaunted by America's prohibitions against "lady" smokers were frequently employed by the tobacco industry to promote its products. [BACK]

85. Blumer, Movies and Conduct , p. 48. [BACK]

86. These other models include Eleanor Roosevelt, Amelia Earhart, and Marian Anderson. [BACK]

87. Blumer, Movies and Conduct , pp. 194-195. [BACK]

88. Ewen and Ewen, Channels of Desire ; Elizabeth Ewen, Immigrant Women in the Land of Dollars (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1985); Richard Wightman Fox and T. J. Jackson Lears, eds., The Culture of Consumption (New York: Pantheon Books, 1983, introduction; Joanne Meyerowitz, "Sexual Geography and Gender Economy: The Furnished Room Districts of Chicago, 1890-1930," Gender and History z (Autumn 1990), pp. 274-296; and Kathy Peiss, Cheap Amusements: Working Women and Leisure in Turn-of-the-Century New York (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1986). [BACK]

89. Robert S. Lynd, "The People as Consumers," in Recent Social Trends in the United States: Report of the President's Research Committee on Social Trends (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1934), pp. 877-878; Sally Stein, "The Graphic Ordering of Desire: Modernization of a Middle-Class Woman's Magazine," Heresies 5 (1985), pp. 7-16. Lynd observed,

Fifteen years ago a manufacturer was safe in preparing for volume sale models that were fashionable in Fifth Avenue shops the year before. Today it is frequently less than a week after a model has been shown in the window of one of the exclusive couturiers of 57th street or Fifth Avenue that it appears at $6.95 or $3.95 in the 14th-Street serve-yourself stores. (p. 878) [BACK]

90. Modern Screen , January 1934, pp. 70-71. [BACK]

91. Willey," 'Identification' and the Inculcation of Social Values," p. 108. [BACK]

92. Blumer, Movies and Conduct , pp. 197-198. [BACK]

93. Ewen and Ewen, Channels of Desire . The Ewens write from a Marxist perspective and assume that working-class Americans are exploited and directed by institutions of culture run by the ruling class. Their assumption that "it is the agencies of communication that provide the mechanisms for social order" rests on a belief that the individual has no will or choice. Their analyses of immigrant women's acceptance of movies and advertising as models for a way of life help to interpret Marsh's image of the voluptuous shopper as a consumer automaton on Fourteenth Street. For a more extensive analysis of immigrant women in the New World, see Elizabeth Ewen, Immigrant Women in the Land of Dollars . [BACK]

94. Louis Palmer, "The World in Motion," Survey 11 (1909), p. 357, as quoted in Ewen and Ewen, Channels of Desire , p. 88. [BACK]

95. Ewen and Ewen, p. 87. [BACK]

96. All quotations are from Ewen and Ewen, p. 87. [BACK]

97. Caroline F. Ware, Greenwich Village, 1920-1930: A Comment on American Civilization in the Post-War Years (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1935), pp. 129, 167. Ware detected these patterns among immigrant women in Greenwich Village. [BACK]

98. The Immigration Act of 1917 included a literacy requirement and excluded peoples from much of Asia and the Pacific Islands. The Quota Act of 1921 (following the height of the Red scare and the Palmer raids of 1920) added numerical limitations to U.S. immigration laws. The Immigration Act of 1924 (the Johnson-Reed Act) reduced the annual quota for each nationality to z percent of the number of persons of the national origin in the United States in 1890. This reduced the number of immigrants from eastern and southern Europe. Cynthia Jaffee McCabe and Daniel J. Boorstin, The Golden Door: Artist Immigrants of America, 1876-1976 (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press for the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, 1976), pp. 66-72; Ewen and Ewen, Channels of Desire , pp. 43-44; 98-101; and Higashi, "Cinderella vs. Statistics," pp. 112-113. [BACK]

99. Edgar D. Furniss, Labor Problems (Boston, 1925), p. 176, as quoted in Ewen and Ewen, p. 52. [BACK]

100. Ewen and Ewen, pp. 53-54. [BACK]

101. For an excellent discussion of assimilation and new mass-culture amusements, see John Kasson, Amusing the Million: Coney Island at the Turn of the Century (New York: Hill and Wang, 1978). [BACK]

102. Lears, "From Salvation to Self-Realization," pp. 19-20. [BACK]

103. Lynd, "The People as Consumers," especially the section on consumer literacy, pp. 881-889. [BACK]

104. Marchand, Advertising the American Dream , pp. 312-318. [BACK]

105. Kay Austin, What Do You Want for $1.98? A Guide to Intelligent Shopping (New York: Carrick and Evans, 1938); Ruth Brindze, How to Spend Money: Everybody's Practical Guide to Buying (New York: Vanguard Press, 1935); Jessie Vee Coles, The Consumer-Buyer and the Market (New York: Wiley, 1938); and Haas, Adventures in Buysmanship . [BACK]

106. Stuart Chase and F. J. Schlink, Your Money's Worth: A Study in the Waste of the

Consumer's Dollar (New York: Macmillan, 1927), p. 2. [BACK]

107. Lynd discussed "puffing," the practice of distorting claims about products, in "The People as Consumers," p. 873. See also Peter E. Samson, "The Emergence of a Consumer Interest in America, 1870-1930," Ph.D. diss., University of Chicago, 1980. Haas, Adventures in Buysmanship , pp. 12-21. [BACK]

108. Richard Wightman Fox, "Epitaph for Middletown," in The Culture of Consumption , ed. Richard Wightman Fox and T. J. Jackson Lears (New York: Pantheon Books, 1983), p. 123. Fox traces a historical shift from a belief in the individual's power to resist the consumer environment to an acceptance of the consumer's inherent irrationality. He locates this shift in the thinking and underlying value system of the social scientist Robert Lynd. [BACK]

109. Fox, "Epitaph for Middletown," pp. 125-128. Lynd's early thinking was founded in John Dewey's Progressive Era belief in the common man. Like Dewey, Lynd believed that re-education in the processes of a new culture occurred with the agency of the individual. Community change also originated with the individual. Lynd's thinking in his earlier works represented a conscious challenge to the influential Chicago school of sociologists headed by David Park, who argued that urbanization was an impersonal, natural process with a life of its own, and that individuals played no determining role. [BACK]

110. Lynd, "The People as Consumers," p. 866. In a roughly contemporary piece, "Family Members as Consumers," Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 160 (March 1932), Lynd voiced similar concerns but placed even greater emphasis on tensions in consumer culture and demonstrated his mistrust of big business.

Living as a husband or wife or boy or girl in these 1930s is a nerve-racking affair under the most favorable circumstances. Impelled from within by the need for security in the most emotionally insecure culture in which any recent generation of Americans has lived, beset on every hand by a public philosophy that puts not the quality of family living but the health of business first, untrained in the backward art of spending to live, buttressed by his government only against a few of the grossest abuses of his efforts to buy an effective living, the consumer faces a trying dilemma. (p. 92)

111. Haas, Adventures in Buysmanship , p. 21. [BACK]

112. Fox, "Epitaph for Middletown," p. 139. [BACK]

113. See Rockwell Kent's autobiography, It's Me, O Lord (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1955), as quoted in Lincoln Rothschild, To Keep Art Alive: The Effort of Kenneth Hayes Miller, American Painter (1876-1952 ) (Philadelphia: Art Alliance Press, 1974), p. 34. See Chapter z, n. 57, for a discussion of Marsh's analysis. [BACK]

114. T. J. Jackson Lears, a historian of consumer culture, has demonstrated that Marsh's anxieties were widely felt among members of the middle to upper-middle class. Lears shows that by the last decades of the nineteenth century middle-class individuals began to lose their sense of autonomy in the face of an economic system based increasingly on consumption rather than individual production. This loss of autonomy resulted in a demand for more vigorous behavior, a new "quest for real life"—the cult of the strenuous life, with its emphasis on athletic achievement, preached throughout Marsh's boyhood by President Theodore Roosevelt. Lears summarizes the causes of the dilemma:

In all, the modern sense of unreality stemmed from extraordinarily various sources and generated complex effects. Technological change isolated the urban bourgeoisie from the hardness of life on the land; an interdependent and increasingly corporate economy

circumscribed autonomous will and choice; a softening Protestant theology undermined commitments and blurred ethical distinctions. Yet a production ethos persisted; self-control became merely a tool for secular achievement; success began to occur in a moral and spiritual void.

In his work on advertising and the therapeutic roots of consumer culture, Lears traces the mutual relationship between what he calls the feeling of unreality, which "helped to generate longings for bodily vigor, emotional intensity and a revitalized sense of selfhood," and advertising strategies that helped satisfy these longings and ultimately advanced the culture of consumption. Lears, "From Salvation to Self-Realization," pp. 7-10, and Lears, No Place of Grace: Antimodernism and the Transformation of American Culture, 1880-1920 (New York: Pantheon Books, 1981), p. 222. [BACK]

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