Modernity, tradition, and American identity in advertisements, 1918-1929

Binah Palmer


From 1918 to 1929, the cultural discourse on American national identity revolved around the interplay between modernity and tradition. Advertisements are significant sites of cultural construction, and in the 1920s American lifestyles, identities, and ideals depicted in ads consistently capture this interplay between modernity and tradition. Ads promoted modernity through consumerism and consumption of specific portraits of America while simultaneously validating perceptions of American traditions.