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The “Luckiest Generation” Got Started in the 1940s

Teens in the 1940s were doing all kinds of new-fangled things like hanging out and developing their own culture of music, dance, fashion, and cars. The youth culture of these kids would evolve into the carefree teen society of the 1950s (who have been called The Luckiest Generation).

Girls were wearing shorter skirts and teen fashion was becoming a trendy way to express which age group you were part of. It was during this time that dating, parking, school dances, and after school jobs all started to become acceptable parts of being an American teen.

“The labor of the young agricultural worker is contracted, but their spare time is wasted.” 1940. Via/ U.S. National Archives

Benny Goodman concert in Oakland, California, 1940. Via/ U.S. National Archives

Kids crowd to get a closer look at Benny Goodman and his orchestra, 1940. Via/ U.S. National Archives

“High school boys in jalopy. Genoa, Nevada,” 1940. Via/ Library of Congress

“Motorcycle and Hill Climb Recreation. His first hill climb. The fellow on the left is fixing the gear shift for him while the other is explaining how to take the bumps.” 1940. Via/ U.S. National Archives

Teenager window shopping, 1940. Via/ U.S. National Archives

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