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The Library of Congress > Teachers > Classroom Materials > Collection Connections > Prosperity and Thrift

[Detail] Vacuum cleaners on display at the J.C. Harding & Co.

One can use Prosperity and Thrift to enhance one's understanding of literature by drawing connections between the collection and major literary works and social commentaries of the 1920s. The collection also affords users the opportunity to examine techniques of writing and oration, and selections from the collection may be used as a springboard for writing activities.


Studying Prosperity and Thrift in conjunction with literature and social commentaries about the 1920s will bring the age of flappers and Fords to life. This context will help you to better understand the meaning and relevance of these works. Literature that may be enhanced by the study of this collection includes Sinclair Lewis’ Babbitt (1922), F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby (1925), and Theodore Dreiser’s Tragic America (1931). Pertinent social commentaries include H.L. Mencken’s critical appraisal of political leaders and economic policies in The American Mercury, and Richard Wright’s The Ethics of Jim Crow: An Autobiographical Sketch. Consider the following questions as you compare the literature with the collection:

  • How does the work reflect the economic and social policies of the 1920s?
  • What areas of society doesn't the work address? Why?