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July 11, 2021

35 Found Photos Show Lifestyle of the ’50s American Teenagers

The 1950s was a decade of dramatic shift in the way Americans grew up and the activities that they were involved in. During the ’50s teenagers saw responsibilities shrink and free time increase. During this time parents who had survived WII felt an increase in desire to have their children have a better life.

The availability of social interaction between teenagers saw a surge in the creation of slang terms covering everything from dating, music to general descriptions of those events themselves. Also, as teenagers became more independent of their parents conflict between the desires of the parents and the teenagers increased and eventually caused the term “generation gap” to enter into American English during the 1960s.

The one major cultural shift that occurred during the 1950s centered around music and the creation of Rock and Roll. Previous generations had gathered around the radio to listen to music. However, with the invention of the record things got a little crazy. Teenagers could now buy and play music they wanted to listen to. They also began attending rock concerts instead of just dances.

Another large part of teenage culture were cars.

These found photos from Steve Martin show what lifestyle of American teenagers looked like in the 1950s.

A group of teenage girls take a spin in a red convertible

A teenage girl performs a headstand while a couple other watch

Brunette girl with bangs

Girl appearing to be using a transistor radio

Girl at car

Girl by wagon wheel

Girl in shorts and crop top holding a book

Girl in swimsuit and hat posing on beach

Girl is washing a Ford

Girl posing by tree and fruit boxes

Girl sitting in chair with dog

Girl sitting on doorstep

Girls are wearing shorts

Girls in rolled jeans and saddle shoes

Girls shovel ice on rink

Group of teenage boys

Group of teenage girls with lolipops

High school play

Note on back reads "Gypsy Dance, 5/24/53, Recital Day."

Note on back reads "Karen Tomasouic's and Carolyn Hoch's 'Come as you are party'. November 31, 1954. 9-00 A.M. to 2-30 P.M."

Teen girls on railroad tracks

Teenage girl on motor scooter

Teenage girl posing on couch

Teenage girl posing on table outside

Teenage girl posing outside

Teenage girls at bowling alley

Teenage girls of a slumber party in pajamas pose

Teens hanging out at park

Three boys, likely brothers

Two girls in dresses pose

Two girls pose in plaid slacks

Two girls wear Hawaiian shirts, rolled jeans and are barefoot, and a shopping cart with a bag full of more products are behind them

Two teen girls pose on lawn

Two teenage girls by large shrub

Two young women on rock by beach


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