Popular Culture in the 19th Century
During the Nineteenth Century there were several kinds of popular culture that became increasingly popular. I will discuss some of the types commercial entertainment that helped the people of this time have other options to relieve some of the pressures of everyday life.
Realistic Theater becomes popular and the invention of the magic lanterns which was an early slide show projectors, which could have been found in dime theaters. Minstrelsy an art form, which emerges from relationships with African slaves and the Europeans, becomes increasingly popular. Silent films become very popular during this time, which help people relate to what, they see happening in the film. Photography begins to be refined for portraits, and also the invention of wet plate photography, which allowed making several prints from having one negative. The rise in photography also led to the first war in history to be photographed, which was the Civil War.
Another break through of this time was the invention of the camera; a man by the name of George Eastman founded the Kodak camera back in Rochester N.Y. This camera was only a one-time use camera you were able to take 100 pictures, but would not be able to reuse the camera you had to send it in and get the pictures developed. The Brownie camera came shortly after which now allowed us to use the camera more than once and now just had to buy film instead of another camera.
One of the biggest and most popular types of culture that we saw in the
Nineteenth century was the coming of world fairs; these became increasingly popular and were used as a form of entertainment for the middle and upper class to escape from the pressures of their daily lives. The working class people could not afford to attend these fairs. The first American park to evolve was called the Midway. These fairs were displays of people from different cultures and also served as a way for White Americans to feel superior. Movies, projectors, nickelodeons were all a part of the amusement park scenes, you could go into the dime theaters and watch a movie, ride on some rides, eat and drink and laugh at all the types of entertainment that surrounded you. These fairs are usually easily accessible like at the end of subway lines or bus routes, this allowed people to attend. The world fairs were thought to be as something that is educational, even though they may not be, people still like to believe that they were indeed educational. Coney island was one of the main Amusement Parks in New York City, this park was located at the foot of Brooklyn, and it was referred to as, the National Playground. This did allow segregation to occur however; African Americans were only allowed to attend Island on designated days of the week that the upper class would not attend.
Commercial entertainment in the antebellum period differed from commercial entertainment in the 1900+s in ways that we began to make technological advances in the way of films/movies, cameras, and amusement parks. These advances allowed us to move ahead in society and it also allowed the people of the upper class to add more means of entertainment to their lives. From the Antebellum period to the 1900’s commercial entertainment began to flourish, things were made better and more modern as the time changed. An example of this would be that we were able to make history visible and memorable, for example we were able to get pictures of the civil war, the first war ever photographed. We did not have pictures of other wars that took place before this time period. As time went on the differences in entertainment also changed tremendously, but I feel that it was made possible because of the simple concepts that started during the earlier part of the century as a blueprint that had been added to and changed as society began to change.