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Community Read: The Great Gatsby: Scavenger Hunt

Let's all read The Great Gatsby!

Game Rules / Prize

Sign up individually or with a team of people! Each day we will add new items to our scavenger hunt. Teams may consist of students, instructors and staff.

Bring your collected items to the Ron E. Lewis Library on Monday, March 2nd between 4 and 5PM and chat with your fellow scavenger hunters over refreshments. Prizes for completing the hunt will be Sonic gift cards.


President Warren G. Harding "I have no trouble with my enemies...but my friends...they're the ones that keep me walking the floor nights.” President Harding appointed many of his friends, the Ohio Gang” to important positions in the government and to his cabinet. Unfortunately many of them were later discovered taking bribes. One of the most notorious of the government scandals involved the Secretary of the Interior. 

What was the name the newspapers gave the event and provide a two or three sentence explanation?

America began her love affair with the automobile during the 1920s.  What American industrialist and automobile manufacturer lead the way, by producing and selling nearly 15,500,000 cars in the United States alone. This man did not invent the automobile but he developed a process that made the car affordable for the multitudes. Making the automobile available to the masses heralds the beginning of the Motor Age; the car evolved from luxury item for the well-to-do to essential transportation for the ordinary man.

Bring in a newspaper or magazine ad from the car company or bring in a brochure from our local dealership.  

The method of buying large ticket items with a small deposit and installment payment plan was a feature of the 1920's. Previously only the wealthy could afford to pay cash for items like pianos, phonographs, radios, refrigerators, vacuum cleaners, and washing machines. Most people who aspired to owning their own home saved up the full price in cash over many frugal years, so they had no money left over for luxuries. Manufacturers realized they could expand their profits if they could grow their markets and so installment selling was introduced. The increased production volumes reduced the unit cost of items, making them more affordable, and easy terms made for easy sales. Two strategies that were used by advertisers to drive sales were largely targeted at stay-at-home wives. The first was the time-saving factor of new appliances. Advertisers appealed to housewives to free themselves up from the drudgery of housework and have more leisure time by using mechanical devices to speed up labor-intensive tasks. The second was that savings in costs from using new and improved products would leave more disposable income which could then be spent on life’s luxuries. Processed food advertisements also stressed the time saved in food preparation.  What most people were seeking was instant pleasure or gratification. The joy of use now, pay later, turned out to be an overwhelming burden of debt for many 1920's consumers as it has for consumers today.

Bring in a current newspaper or magazine advertisement that encourages consumers to buy now and pay later.

Bonus: What earth shattering economic event happened at the end of the 1920s that resulted in bankruptcy for many wealthy people and jumping out of windows for many because they owed too much money?  

Improved Food Production, Storage, and Availability

The public's eating habits changed as Americans ate fewer starches (like bread and potatoes) and increased consumption of fruit and sugar. However, the most striking development was the shift toward processed foods. Where housewives had previously prepared food from scratch at home (peeling potatoes, shelling peas, plucking chickens, or grinding coffee beans) an increasing number of Americans purchased foods that were ready-to-cook. World War I brought about new methods of food processing as manufacturers streamlined production methods of canned and frozen foods. Processed foods reduced the enormous amounts of time that had previously been taken up in peeling, grinding, and cutting. (

  1. A prize can be found inside every box of this tasty popcorn snack.
  1. Snap, Crackle, Pop is the slogan for this morning meal developed in the 1920s.
  1. There is controversy about a candy bar being named after a baseball legend of the 1920s. This American baseball legend was known as “Bambino” by his legion of fans.  Check out Snopes to see if the Urban Legend is true or false.

Bring in a box or bar of each of these tasty snacks. All food items collected will go to Orange Christian Services.

In 1920, an inventor developed and commercialized a method for quick-freezing food products in convenient packages and without altering the original taste.  In September 1922, he formed his own company. In 1923, with an investment of $7 for an electric fan, buckets of brine, and cakes of ice, he invented and later perfected a system of packing fresh food into waxed cardboard boxes and flash-freezing under high pressure. The Goldman-Sachs Trading Corporation and the Postum Company (later the General Foods Corporation) bought his patents and trademarks in 1929 for $22 million. When we crave fresh fruits and vegetables in the middle of winter, we can thank this inventor for the next best thing, frozen foods.

 Who was this inventor?  Bring in an item that still carries his name. (the bag maybe empty)

This famous cartoon character was 'born' in 1928. The cartoon ‘Steamboat Willie’ was the first time the world was introduced to this beloved cartoon character.  He is considered the most recognizable character in the world. It is the most reproduced image in the world. Over 7,500 items bear the likeness. Jesus is number two, and Elvis is number three.

 Bring in a picture of this character.

In the 1920s this game was imported to the United States.  In 1920 Abercrombie and Fitch started selling the first game sets in U.S. It became a huge sensation in New York, and the owner of the company named Ezra Fitch, sent ambassadors to Chinese villages to buy and bring home every set of the game they could find there. Abercrombie and Fitch made total sales of 12,000 sets. The game is still popular today, except it is now played online.

What is the name of this game?

Passed by congress on June 4, 1919 and ratified on August 8, 1920, the 19th. Amendment guarantees the right to vote to what group?  Achieving this milestone required a lengthy and difficult struggle; victory too decades of agitation and protest. Beginning in the mid-19th century, several generations of suffrage supporters lectured, wrote, marched, lobbied, and practiced civil disobedience to achieve what many Americans considered a radical change of the Constitution. Few early supporters lived to see the final victory in 1920.

Who received the right to vote? Bring in a “Vote” sign, a voter registration form or a voter registration card.

“They Shoot Horses Don’t They?” is the title of a novel by Horace McCoy and a movie produce in 1969. The story is set within a dance craze that was popular during the 1920s “Jazz Age.”

What was the dance craze? Bring in a picture to illustrate the popular craze.

The Tramp (also known as The Little Tramp) was a British actor’s memorable on-screen character and an icon in world cinema during the era of silent films.  Who was this star?

Bring in a picture of this actor.

The year was 1927, and the film industry would never be the same. Warner Bros. studio came out with The Jazz Singer starring Al Jolson. What was so special about this movie? It happened to be the very first "Talkie." Warner Bros. had successfully found a way to get spoken word onto the silver screen. The whole process very simple. All you had to do was play a phonograph of the sound of the movie and play it with the movie itself. It just had to be exact or the movie looked off. Warner Bros. owned the company that developed the first sound process, and many other companies tried to duplicate the process to churn out their own talkies. By May 1928, Electric Research Product Incorporated had a monopoly on sound distribution. In the years after, sound quality and techniques greatly improved.

What company developed the original sound process?

Bonus: What 1952 movie comically portrayed the difficulties of the silent film actor and the new “talkies?”

Modern radio broadcasting was not born; it evolved from the use of radios by ham operators.  From Guglielmo Marconi’s earliest successful radio demonstrations, which consisted of point-to-point sending of telegraph signals in Morse code, it was clear to many that radio should be a broadcast medium. That is, rather than two people using it to talk back and forth like a telephone, one person could send out a signal that could be heard by many, like an actor speaking lines in a big auditorium. On Christmas Eve 1906, Reginald Fessenden broadcast a program with speech and music to an audience of amateurs and ship radio operators who had been previously alerted to tune in. Subsequently, many amateurs would broadcast entertainment and news, either by telling their friends in advance or just sending it out on the airwaves and letting it find whoever happened to tune in.

The sophistication of radio equipment and the number of amateur operators grew rapidly. One of these amateurs was Frank Conrad, an engineer in Pittsburgh with particularly sophisticated equipment, thanks to his technical background, and with the call sign 8XK. When Conrad began to transmit music played from phonograph records he got so many individual questions and requests, that he announced he would broadcast on a regular schedule. The response was so positive that the local merchant who was selling          him the records agreed to supply them for free if Conrad would mention his store on the air. A local department store learned about the popularity of this program and started advertising radio receivers not to be used for point to point “ham” radio, but for listening to Conrad.

Then the manufacturer of the radio receivers, Westinghouse, which happened to be located in Pittsburgh, heard what was going on. They decided to build a broadcast station at their plant and operate it every night with an advertised program. They thought it would increase the sales of their receivers and be good publicity for their brand name. On 27 October 1920 they were granted the very first US broadcasting license to operate the station. It was just like a regular ham license, but given to a corporation rather than an individual. The concept of the commercial broadcast station did not exist yet, but it soon would. On 2 November 1920, presidential election returns were telephoned from the office of the Pittsburgh Post to KDKA. Someone from the Westinghouse information office read them into a microphone; in between, music from a phonograph was played into the microphone. Large numbers of people tuned in.

What was the call sign of thE first radio station? 

Who won the election?

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