Daily Life in 1950s America
by Nancy Hendricks
February 2019, 282pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Greenwood

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-6441-4
$70, £54, 61€, A96
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-6442-1
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

In a country that prided itself on “rugged individualism,” why was it dangerous not to conform in America during the 1950s?

Placing the era firmly within the American experience, this reference illuminates what daily life was really like in the 1950s, including for people from the “Other America”—those outside the prosperous, white middle class.

Daily Life in 1950s America shows that the era was anything but uneventful. Apart from revolutionary changes during the decade itself, it was in the 1950s that the seeds took root for the social turmoil of the 1960s and the technological world of today. The book’s interdisciplinary format looks at the domestic, economic, intellectual, material, political, recreational, and religious life of average Americans. Readers can look at sections separately according to their interests or classroom assignment, or can read them as an ongoing narrative. By entering the homes of average Americans, far from the corridors of power, we can make sense of the 1950s and see how the headlines of the era translated into their daily lives.

This readable and informative book is ideal for anyone interested in this formative decade in American life. Well-researched factual material is presented in an engaging way, along with lively sidebars to humanize each section. It is unique in blending the history, popular culture, and sociology of American daily life, including those of Americans who were not white, middle class, and prosperous.


  • Illustrates how a seemingly uneventful decade defined today’s world
  • Includes helpful historical overview for each section by placing it in context
  • Contains academic references and suggestions for further reading in each section
  • Illuminates the era’s tastes through appendices of 1950s slang, award-winners, and best-sellers
  • Leads readers toward other works to broaden their understanding in a bibliography
Nancy Hendricks, PhD, is an award-winning author whose book Senator Hattie Caraway: An Arkansas Legacy takes a fresh look at the first woman elected and re-elected to the U.S. Senate. Recent books for ABC-CLIO include America’s First Ladies: The Remarkable Women of the White House. She is a major contributing author for the Encyclopedia of Arkansas and has received the Pryor Award for Arkansas Women’s History, the Arkansas Governor’s Arts Award, the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution Women in History Award, and the White House Millennium Award.


"A great source book for classes on this time period in American history."—ARBA, April 1, 2019

Daily Life

What was life really like for ordinary people in other cultures throughout history? How did they raise their children? What did they do for fun? From sexual mores in ancient Egypt to resistance music in modern Latin America, and from the fashion sense of the Mongols to the importance of film in modern India, the world comes alive in the indispensable hands-on volumes of this award-winning series. A truly interdisciplinary resource, the Daily Life series covers arts; religion; food; literature; language; romance; rites of passage and coming of age; marriage customs; social and government structure; sickness and cures; warfare; sports and games; holidays; festivals; and more. Supported by the most current research, these authoritative volumes provide an in-depth exploration of daily life throughout history.

Each volume provides:
• An exploration of complex eras in history on a level accessible to students and general readers
• Authoritative coverage stemming from the most current scholarship and recent discoveries
• A focus on social rather than political history in key curricular areas, providing an in-depth understanding of the nuts and bolts of daily life
• Interactive, exciting details such as recipes, sheet music, rules for games, song lyrics, and more
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