The picture above probably doesn’t scream library to you, but as evidenced by that round “County Library” sign almost lost among the ads for Dr. Pepper and Nehi, this is one of the library stations that were part of Harris County Public Library’s evolution into the library system we enjoy 100 years later. Very soon you'll be able to learn more about the early days of the library through a digital exhibit that will showcase photos and records from the Harris County Archives.
Back in 1921 phonographs (early record players) and radios weren’t common household appliances, but that changed by the end of the decade. According to this article from University of Houston’s Digital History resource, “phonograph production rose from just 190,000 in 1923 to 5 million in 1929”. I’m sure it would be hard to imagine that 100 years later we’d carry music around on phones that fit in our pockets! Now you can cross the old with the new by listening to Bessie Smith sing the blues, stomping away with Fletcher Henderson and more all with Freegal and your HCPL library card. Not sure how Freegal works? Read more about it here.
Most of the 1920s is considered to be part of the silent film era, but as cinema made technical advances, like recorded musical scores synchronized with the film instead of played by a live orchestra, by the end of the decade the era of the “talkies” was in its early stages. You can enjoy the antics of Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin or experience Metropolis and other hits of 1920s cinema from your couch by checking out our collection of films on Kanopy. Never used Kanopy before? Click here for information on how to get started.
I would say no technology is required to read a book, but from the 15th century invention of the printing press to our eBooks of today, that wouldn’t be entirely true! Unfortunately, we haven't been able to find records of which books Harris County residents were checking out during the 1920s, but you can check out our Overdrive collection of titles popular during the 1920s around the U.S. and also titles set in the 1920s. If you're new to Overdrive, you can read more about getting started with the Libby app here. Maybe you’ll find mentions of the music or movies you’ve been enjoying on Freegal and Kanopy!
Come back in February as we move to the 1930s and March for the 1940s, you see where I’m going here, right?