Saturday Evening Post Time Capsule: September 1920 

In 1920, in order to cope with the grief over those lost to war and disease, many Americans turned to the spirit world.

1920s photo of people attempting to communicate with spirits
(Everett Collection / Shutterstock)

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The Flapper, 1920 (Selznick Pictures Corporation, via Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license)
Oliver Lodge (Lafayette Ltd. via the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license)
Arthur Conan Doyle spirit photograph and poster (The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia)
Music: Wyoming Lullaby by Mayfair Dance Orchestra, 1920

Featured image: Everett Collection / Shutterstock

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  1. I’m not surprised September 1920 wasn’t a happy time, Jeff. How could it be following the only recently ended World War I and the world wide pandemic? So much death in such a short amount of time. Alcohol was on its way out (legally) as a coping mechanism. I wonder if that was when opium dens were on their way in?

    Having esteemed men like Arthur Conan Doyle and Oliver Lodge giving lectures of reassurance of a happy afterlife, was surely soothing to millions of Americans. It undoubtedly helped pave the way for all those seances taking place in those parlors by people trying to reach the loved ones they lost.

    Realizing the only way to get there was to take that step to the other side of life, or at least try. Dorothy Parker’s words at the end summed things up simply and perfectly, even though the reality was far more complicated.


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