Youth Culture in the 1940s

For those who are curious, the topic discussed here is relevant to the purposes of Part II of “The Secret Deployments.”

One Last Dance at the Excelsior

A post by Catherine McCann

During our group meeting the volunteers at St. Cecilia’s Hall often wonder how the youth culture of the 1940s compares to the one we know today. Did young people get dressed up like we do? Did girls carry two pairs of shoes with them when they went dancing? Did most people listen to same kinds of music or did different places cater for different tastes? A good place to start would be to understand a bit more about the youth culture in the 1940s.

If we look to historians to help us, historians such as David Fowler argues that the term ‘teenager’ was not coined until the late 1950s. This means that the young people that would have danced at St. Cecilia’s Hall were neither children nor adults. Youth culture, then, was caught in limbo between childhood and adulthood until the late 1950s. Youths had…

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