Dance like a flapper

The 1920s, an era of flappers, prohibition, and the Ku Klux Klan. A time when women fought for the right to vote, Babe Ruth became a legend, and the stock market crash led to The Great Depression.

Maude Hines, an English professor at PSU, teaches an American Studies class that offers students a look into the past of the United States.

Hines, who has a doctorate in literature with a focus on American studies, brings a background of literary expertise to the class. Along with covering readings like “The Great Gastby,” Hines says the class also covers historical events like the Spokes Monkey Trial, Harlem slang, and gangsters like Al Capone.

According to the class website,, “students explore resources from music, art, film, dance, literature, architecture, history, and law.”

Hines expresses excitement, a desire to work with her students needs, and highly stresses collaboration in her class. She worked with Sarah Margot and Julie Andrews, the government information librarian at PSU, when first creating the class.

Assignments are also formulated with the collaboration from people from the required field.

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For example, Hines worked with Carl Abbot, a professor in Urban Studies and Planning, for an assignment titled “Neighborhood Worksheet.” Using the 1930s Oregon and U.S. censuses, as well as Sanborn fire insurance maps, students get to research their neighborhoods in the ’20s.

Students uncover details like where people in their neighborhood came from, looking at identity or racial categories in the 1930s census, what kind of jobs the residents had, and the percentage of households that contained working women.

Last year a dance instructor came from Seattle to teach the students the Lindy Hop, a 1920s dance craze that became known as the Jitterbug. Students also look at architecture in Portland, looking at buildings constructed during the twenties.

John Shulick, a former student, wrote about The Hollywood Theatre, located in Portland on Northeast Sandy Boulevard, which opened on July 17, 1926.

According to, the first movie shown was a silent picture accompanied by music, since sound did not come to the screen until 1927.

Shulick writes, ” The Hollywood Theater is a tribute to the art deco style of architecture of the 1920s. The theater is the tallest building in the area with the Art Deco facade towering even higher. The towering facade of the building acts as a beacon to the community to come together for a cultural experience, that of an entertaining movie.”

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Coming together for a cultural experience is the basis of what Maude Hines’ class is about, her motto for teaching, “Lets make it as fun for everyone as possible.” Class will be taught twice next Winter term.