• The Interior

    Aside from Elaine’s modern bedroom, the Wormser’s apartment was decorated in styles referencing the past. Elaine recalled the apartment as featuring a mix of eighteenth-century English furnishings and “Grand Rapids-1910″ style—likely referring to the furniture produced in historical styles in Grand Rapids, Michigan, a nearby furniture manufacturing center. Linenfold paneling lined the living room walls, […]

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  • City Life

    By 1920, more Americans lived in cities than rural areas for the first time in history. With soaring buildings, bustling factories, electric lighting, and crowds of people, the modern city epitomized significant changes in American life. As centers of commerce and cultural vibrancy, cities like Chicago offered recreation to all social classes. Electrified streetcars, elevated […]

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  • The Jazz Age

    After World War I, a new musical form developed by Black musicians in New Orleans erupted in popularity across the country.

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  • The Machine Age

    Much as people today are aware of the internet shaping their daily lives, Americans in the 1920s and ‘30s noted the strong influence of machines on society.

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  • The Great Depression

    The American stock market crashed on October 29, 1929, plunging the U.S. and most of the Western world into a deep economic depression.

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  • The Wormser Household

    Get to know the Wormser Family and their household workers. Hear their stories of living and working in the Drake Tower penthouse.

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  • Joseph Urban

    Urban introduced European modernism to America through his designs for opera, theater and film sets, buildings, and products ranging from furniture to cars.

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  • Craftspeople and Collaborators

    Many talented people worked with Joseph Urban to bring his modernist designs for the Wormser Bedroom to life.

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  • European Influences

    In Europe, towards the end of the nineteenth century, modern design movements emerged in Scotland, Austria, Germany, and France, responding to the effects of mass production and the degradation of historical styles. The output and philosophies of designers exploring new modes were diverse. Some focused on luxurious craft production for a wealthy clientele, while others […]

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  • Modern Materials

    Synthetic materials were considered signs of technological progress.

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