Home Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Teacher’s Section
Maps and Cityscapes
People and the Humanities

Introduction

1957. The postwar baby boom
peaks, and a baby is born every
seven seconds in the U.S.
Seattle Times.

January 1955 Life Magazine
cover of shopping cart
(1940s innovation) with baby seat.

This week we look at the changes that occurred in society in the postwar decade. In the Lecture, Professor Mayer focuses on changes to the economy and education, as well as the effects of suburbanization, the baby boom, and the space race.

Maps & Cityscapes deals with pre- and postwar population changes in regional states and cities, and also presents photographs showing changing skylines. Tribal Perspectives features the flooding of Celilo Falls fishing sites when the Dalles dam was completed.

In People and the Humanities, we discuss writers Dorothy Johnson and Mildred Walker and the different visions of America presented by the musicals The Music Man and West Side Story. The Research section presents our top reading and viewing picks for this week’s topics.

Assignment suggestions for this week’s content include:

  • How do changes to living conditions (in this case, the move to the suburbs) change lives? What did the migration out of the cities mean to the children born in the 1950s and to their parents?
  • Why are the 1950s viewed as a "boring" decade? Is this view correct? If not, why not? What other eras are misunderstood or misrepresented in the public’s mind? Where did these misrepresentations come from?