Dawn of the Teenager

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The birth of the ‘teenage’ generation having a gas in 1940s America

 

Before Justin Bieber, One Direction and  Gossip Girl, the carefree teens of the early 1940s sipped milkshakes, listened  to records and went on their first dates – usually to the movies to catch a  flick.

The stunning images by photographer Nina  Leen, captured daily life of the American teenager as the country emerged from  the Great Depression and World War II was waged abroad.

The photos highlighted a Life Magazine  article published in 1944 about the  birth of the so-called ‘teenage’ generation, which was marked by its own  fashion, music and shoulder-length hairstyle.

A little help: A gaggle of teens try to push their broken down model T down the street in this image featured in Life magazine in 1944
A gaggle of teens try to push their  broken down model T down the street in this image featured in Life magazine in  1944

 

Flirting: A young women flaunts her charm while sipping a milkshake with some teenage boys
A young women flaunts her charm while sipping  a milkshake with some teenage boys

 

Gathering: If alive today, the women featured in the photographs would be between 83 and 85 years old
 If alive today, the women featured in the  photographs would be between 83 and 85 years old

One image shows a group of teens working  together to push a Ford model T down the street after it wouldn’t start. Another  shows a group of girls huddled around a record player, likely listening to Bing  Crosby, the top artist of 1944.

An adolescent boy puts his arm around his  date during a trip to the movies in one of Leen’s photos, as 1944 was a popular  year for films. Casablanca won the best picture Oscar that year.

The young women of the day emerged as a  distinctive generation between childhood and adulthood in post-Depression  America.

As the feature in Life magazine put it:  ‘There is a time in the life of every American girl when the most important  thing in the world is to be one of a crowd of other girls and to act and speak  and dress exactly as they do. This is the teen age.

Dining out: A group of teens enjoy some fruit, cake and milk in one of Leen's images from 1944
 A group of teens enjoy some fruit, cake and  milk in one of Leen’s images from 1944

 

Time Life
Time Life
 Top, women listen to a record as two  boys glance at a magazine. Bottom, a young couple gets romantic  as they take  in a movie
Fashion firsts: The so-called 'teenage' generation, which was marked by its own style, music and shoulder-length hairstyle
The so-called ‘teenage’ generation,  which was marked by its own style, music and shoulder-length hairstyle

‘Some 6,000,000 U.S. teen-age girls live in a  world all their own – a lovely, gay, enthusiastic, funny and blissful society  almost untouched by the war. It is a world of sweaters and skirts and bobby sox  and loafers, of hair worn long, of eye-glass rims painted red with nail polish,  of high school boys [not] yet gone to war.’

For the story, Leen followed around a group  of 12 teenage girls in Webster Groves, Missouri, snapping various pictures as  they hung out together, dressed alike and met up with boys at local sweet shops  and movie theaters.

If alive today, the women would be between 83  and 85 years old.

Carefree: The women of 1940s America had little to worry about while World War II was waged overseas
 The women of 1940s America had little to worry  about while World War II was waged overseas
Dawn of a new age: The young women of the day emerged as a distinctive generation between childhood and adulthood in post-Depression America
 The young women of the day emerged as  a distinctive generation between childhood and adulthood in post-Depression  America

Attribution: Thomas Durante, Daily Mail, LIFE

About the Common Constitutionalist

Brent, aka The Common Constitutionalist, is a Constitutional Conservative, and advocates for first principles, founders original intent and enemy of progressives. He is former Navy, Martial Arts expert. As well as publisher of the Common Constitutionalist blog, he also is a contributing writer for Political Outcast, Godfather Politics, Minute Men News (Liberty Alliance), Freedom Outpost, the Daily Caller, Vision To America and Free Republic. He also writes an exclusive weekly column for World Net Daily (WND).

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