HONR 269J The Beat Begins: America in the 1950s

Online Resources

Listed below are some websites relevant to themes discussed in HONR 269J. If you know of other sites that should be added, or if you find links that need updating, send e-mail to Peter Losin.

Updated: 3/17/2012

General resources
Literary and artistic
Music and musicians
Movies, TV, and radio
Science and technology
Consumer culture

General resources 17 links
The Fifties Web
A good starting point, with pointers to lots of information about the music, TV, and culture of the 1950s.
The Literature and Culture of the American 1950s
The website for Alan Filreis's course at the University of Pennsylvania.
The Cold War Files
Brought to you by the The Cold War International History Project, a joint venture of the Woodrow Wilson Center and George Washington University. An excellent source of Cold War documents, media files, and other resources.
Cold War Links
A nice -- but very outdated ("Last modified May 4, 1998") -- compendium of links, maintained by David Price at St. Martin's University.
The Cold War
An excellent introduction from the Smithsonian Institution's Soviet Archives Exhibition.
The Papers of Dwight David Eisenhower
"The Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission, in collaboration with the Johns Hopkins University Press, is honored to announce universal electronic access to one of the most important collections of twentieth-century personal presidential papers."
White House Tapes
Maintained by the Presidential Recordings Program at the University of Virginia's Miller Center of Public Affairs, with hundreds of hours of taped meetings, telephone conversations, etc. from Presidents Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon.
The Korean War Project
An extensive site devoted to all aspects of the Korean War.
The Age of McCarthyism
Links to several chapters of Ellen Schrecker's influential book.
Levittown Historical Society
The official site of the Levittown Historical Society, with a brief history of America's most famous suburban development.
Levittown: Documents of an Ideal American Suburb
Maintained by Peter Bacon Hales, an eminent art historian and cultural historian. With many excellent photographs.
Levittown, PA: Building the Suburban Dream
From the State Museum of Pennsylvania: "In honor of its 50th anniversary, this exhibit explores the early history of Levittown from the perspective of those who built and lived the suburban dream."
UT Austin Now and Then: 1950s
A virtual tour of the University of Texas campus in the 1950s. (Compare it to the 80s!)
Santa Clara Valley in the 1950s
Links to paintings by Mike Carroll, Jr.: "Growing up in the area during the fifties, I would like to give historic attribute to The Santa Clara Valley of a period between 1952-1964. I've used brush, canvas and computer graphics to take you back to a time that has inspired such Hollywood greats as American Graffiti and Back to the Future."
Bettie Page
The official website of one of the pin-up legends of the 1950s. With links to photos, interviews, etc.
League of Women Voters History
From the League of Women Voters website, a look back over the 80+ year history of an important grassroots organization.

Literary and artistic 16 links
The Beat Generation Resource Page
Some basic links, courtesy of USA People Search.
The Beat Page
A RookNet project maintianed by Kenneth Rumsey, with lots of information about the beat culture, poetry, religion, etc.
Maintained by the Allen Ginsberg Trust: "where you can explore published as well as never-before-published text, photos, hand-written documents and audio and video materials representing Allen's life-work."
Tribute to Allen Ginsberg
A collection of posts from BEAT-L, a 1990s listserv mailing list dedicated to the discussion of Beat literature.
English 88: Modern and Contemporary American Poetry
A course by Alan Filreis at the University of Pennsylvania, with lots of online texts by Ginsberg and others.
Literary Kicks
An interesting site devoted to the poetry and writing inspired by the Beats.
Hotel Boheme: Beat Poetry
A nice site with lots of information about the New York and San Francisco scenes.
Empty Mirror Arts and Literary Magazine
Specializing in modern poetry, the Beat Generation, and the work of Michael McClure.
Larry Keenan Beat Generation and Counterculture Gallery
Famed photographer Larry Keenan's gallery of over 250 photos of Beat Generation and counterculture subjects, 1964-present. A visual tour through the past 40 years of American culture.
Michael McClure Official Website
News and events, poems, essays, biography, bibliography, audio clips, and information on McClure's collaboration with Ray Manzarek. Also includes writings by poets such as Gary Snyder, Diane di Prima, Joanne Kyger, and Jerome Rothenberg.
Allen Ginsberg's FBI file
From Herbert Mitgang, Dangerous dossiers: Exposing the Secret War Against America's Greatest Authors (New York: D.I. Fine, 1988).
Rebels: Painters and Poets of the 1950s
The web site for a Fall 1996 exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.
Jack Kerouac at CMG
The "official" Kerouac web site, from the Jack Kerouac Foundation and CMG Worldwide.
1-800-KER-OUAC: Beat Generation Catalog
A web site for Fog City Facts and Fiction, "the ultimate source for all your Beat Generation needs."
Some materials on Ralph Ellison
Some reviews, essays, and other stuff, mostly on Invisible Man.

Music and musicians 9 links
Jazz links
Links to jazz resources, including many focused on the 1950s.
Billie Holiday
Peter de Mooy's excellent site, with biography, discography, lyrics, pictures, etc.
The Playboy Interview: Miles Davis
Alex Haley's interview with Miles Davis, Playboy magazine, September 1962.
The Misty Miss Christy Page
Jim Smith's tribute to June Christy, beginning with her first recordings with the Stan Kenton band.
The Fabulous Four Freshmen
Chaz Cone's tribute to the Four Freshmen, with discography, biographical information, sound clips, etc.
Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame and Museum
Lots of good pointers here.
Here it is, kids: "Your One Stop Elvis Shop -- At Our Site, You Will Find Many RARE And Some MEGA-RARE ELVIS COLLECTIBLES. You'll Also Find Some Interesting Information About These Collectibles."
Fifties Tunes
A good introduction to the varieties of popular music in the 1950s.

Movies, TV, and radio 18 links
Hollywood and the Movies in the 1950s: A Bibliography
A comprehensive bibliography maintained by the Media Resources Center at UC-Berkeley. They also maintain videographies on the 1950s, the beat generation, popular culture, among other topics.
Media History Timeline: 1950s
A nice summary of the breaking stories of the 1950s from the Media History Project at the University of Minnesota.
Broadcast Pioneers: Library of American Broadcasting
A good place to look for information, including sound, film, and video recordings of programs and advertisements from the 1950s, and it's right here on campus at Hornbake Library!
The "official" Marilyn Monroe home page
From the estate of Marilyn Monroe and CMG Worldwide. With biography, filmography, pictures, and marketing come-ons.
The Marilyn Pages
One woman's tribute to Marilyn Monroe.
James Dean
The "official" James Dean web site.
The Hitchcock Page
A tribute to the great director.
TV in the Fifties
A good introduction to the shows of the 1950s.
The Twilight Zone
An excellent (searchable) site with lots of information about one of the landmark TV shows of the late 50s. The host ISP bandwidth limits are often exceeded, so visit early in the month.
The Outer Limits
Although a bit later than the 1950s (1963-66), the attitudes towards technology expressed by many episodes of the original series are quintessentially 50s.
Antique Radios Online
A nice starting point for exploring the history of radio.
Old-Time Radio
An informative site with sound, pictures, links to other sites, etc.
The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit
From Wikipedia, a good account of the Sloan Wilson novel and the 1956 movie starring Gregory Peck and Jennifer Jones.
The Seven Year Itch
From Wikipedia, a good account of the 1955 movie starring Marilyn Monroe and Tom Ewell.
The Day the Earth Stood Still
From Wikipedia, a good account of the 1951 movie statting Michael Rennie.
The Day the Earth Stood Still from the Washington Post
A review of the movie with an account of local details, comparisons between 1950s and current sci-fi, etc.
Rebel Without a Cause
From Wikipedia, a good account of the 1955 movie starring James Dean, Natalie Wood, and Sal Mineo.

Science and technology 40 links
Academic Info: The Nuclear Age
"A Directory of Internet Resources on The Bomb, Nuclear Weapons, and the Atomic Age."
Alsos Digital Library for Nuclear Issues
"Provides a broad, balanced range of annotated references for the study of nuclear issues. This searchable collection includes books, articles, films, CD-ROMs, and websites. All annotations have been reviewed by members of the library’s prestigious National Advisory Board."
Argonne Highlights: 1950-1959
From the Argonne National Laboratory's account of its history.
Atomic Archive
"This site explores the complex history surrounding the invention of the atomic bomb - a crucial turning point for all mankind. AJ Software & Multimedia presents this site as an online companion to its latest CD-ROM, Atomic Archive: Enhanced Edition."
Atomic Bomb Decision: Documents on the Decision to Use Atomic Bombs on the Cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Maintained by Gene Dannen. These are unclassified documents, most of the originals are in the National Archives.
Atomic Heritage Foundation
A non-profit organization "dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of the Manhattan Project and the Atomic Age." Includes a nice section on "Atomic History."
The National Atomic Museum
"The nation's only congressionally chartered museum of nuclear science and history." There's a brief section on the Manhattan Project.
Avalon Project: "In the Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer"
Documents and letters concerning Oppenheimer's security clearance, from Yale University's Avalon Project.
Avalon Project: The Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
A report from the Manhattan Engineer District, June 29, 1946. Another set of primary sources from the Avalon Project.
Brotherhood of the Bomb
The companion website to Gregg Herken's fine book, Brotherhood of the Bomb: The Tangled Lives and Loyalties of Robert Oppenheimer, Ernest Lawrence, and Edward Teller (New York: Henry Holt, 2002).
The Bureau of Atomic Tourism
"Dedicated to the promotion of tourist locations around the world that have either been the site of atomic explosions, display exhibits on the development of atomic devices, or contain vehicles that were designed to deliver atomic weapons."
Civil Defense Museum
A virtual museum is dedicated to the Civil Defense and emergency workers of the United States who worked throughout the Cold War to try to protect the public from nuclear attack.
The Cold War Museum
"In 1996, Francis Gary Powers, Jr. and John C. Welch founded the Cold War Museum to preserve Cold War history and honor Cold War Veterans." Nice photos and accounts.
Cold War Science and Technology Studies
An valuable resource from Carnegie Mellon University's history department. Their aim is "to contribute to scholarly understanding of science and technology during the Cold War." They maintain an excellent set of links to other Cold War websites, and some good topical bibliographies.
"CONELRAD is a site devoted to ATOMIC CULTURE past and present but without all the distracting and pedantic polemics." This is an extensive and fascinating site -- one of the best parts is The CONELRAD 100, "a highly specialized and, in some cases downright obscure, round-up by and for the Atomic film connoisseur."
The Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962
A nice introduction to the Cuban Missile Crisis, with chronology, photographs, transcripts, and audio clips.
Federation of American Scientists
Founded by members of the Manhattan Project in 1945 as the Federation of Atomic Scientists, and known in the 1950s as "the scientists' lobby," the group has a lot to say about science and public policy issues.
The Manhattan Project
From the University of Chicago's Physics Department.
"Fifty Years from Trinity"
"Science reporter Bill Dietrich and photographer Alan Berner detail the history, impacts and future of atomic weapons and nuclear power." From the Seattle Times.
Hanford Operations
Formerly (1943-1987) a site devoted to producing plutonium for atomic bombs, now a 586-square mile environmental cleanup project.
Lawrence Livermore Laboratory: History
A brief account of the LLNL's history.
Los Alamos History
From the Los Alamos National Laboratory's website.
National Security Administration: Nuclear History
An introduction to some of the NSA's collections (published and unpublished) concerned with nuclear weapons issues. Many of the documents were previously classified.
The Nuclear Age Timeline
From the Department of Energy; there's a nice section on the 1950s.
The Nuclear Files Project
Maintained by the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, "a website devoted to the history of the Nuclear Age." With a lot of primary documents, biographies, etc. Beware: there are a LOT of broken links on this site!
Nuclear Regulatory Commission: Short History
The history of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission from 1946 until the present.
The Nuclear Weapons Archive
A clearinghouse with lots of links to sites with information about nuclear weapons from the 1940 to the present.
The Nuclear History Site
An excellent website devoted to the history of nuclear energy in the United States, both for military and civilian purposes. Maintained by Leah Fretwell.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory: The Fifties, Glory Days
From the Oak Ridge National Laboratory's "Swords into Plowshares" history site.
J. Robert Oppenheimer Centennial at Berkeley
A website commemorating the 100th anniversary of Oppenheimer's birth. Maintained by the Office for History of Science and Technology, University of California, Berkeley. There is a nice online exhibit, Oppenheimer: A Life (April 22, 1904 - February 18, 1967).
The Ruin of J. Robert Oppenheimer and the Birth of the Modern Arms Race
The website for Priscilla McMillan's book by the same title, with links to primary sources, etc.
American Prometheus
The website for Kai Bird and Martin Sherwin's Pulitzer-Prize winning biography of Oppenheimer.
Brotherhood of the Bomb
The website for Gregg Herken's 2002 book on Oppenheimer, Edward Teller, and Ernest Lawrence.
Leo Szilard Online
A site devoted to one of moving forces behind the atomic bomb.
Documentation and Diagrams of the Atomic Bomb
Hosted at UC-Berkeley. But be warned: "Should a layperson attempt to build a device such as this, chances are s/he would probably kill his/herself not by a nuclear detonation, but rather through radiation exposure."
The Space Race Exhibition
An extensive exhibition at the National Air and Space Museum; for the purposes of a course on the 1950s, the section "The Race Begins" is especially relevant.
Space Policy Project
From the Federation of American Scientists.
Bell Laboratories History
Hostory of Bell Laboratories, where in the 50s pioneering work was done on lasers, digitized music, and solar cells, among much else.
Tom Van Vleck Home Page
This guy has nice accounts of working with early IBM computers, e.g. the IBM 7094 and CTSS and the IBM 7070.

Consumer culture 3 links
The Atomic Warehouse
Physically located in Harrisburg PA, devoted to "Mission, Art Deco, Mid-Century Modern, Retro, Vintage Interior Design."
James Lileks
A terrific compilation of popular culture from the past (not just the 1950s). A good starting point is the Index of Official Cheer, with links to cookbooks, men's magazines, cigarette ads, etc.

HONR 269J Home Search inforM UM home page inforM home page Phone Directory