We are no longer updating these pages, so some links may not work.If you have any questions, please contact us at Kingwood.LRC-Ref@LoneStar.eduEnd of 1960s

Lone Star College - Kingwood

American Cultural History

1960 - 1969

1900 1910 1920 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990

 

FACTS about this decade. 
  • Population 177,830,000
  • Unemployment 3,852,000
  • National Debt 286.3 Billion
  • Average Salary $4,743
  • Teacher's Salary $5,174
  • Minimum Wage $1.00
  • Life Expectancy:  Males 66.6 years, Females 73.1 years
  • Auto deaths 21.3 per 100,000
  • An estimated 850,000 "war baby" freshmen enter college; emergency living quarters are set up in dorm lounges, hotels and trailer camps.

1960 - 1969

The sixties were the age of youth, as
70 million children from the post-war baby boom became teenagers and young adults.  The
movement away from the conservative fifties continued and eventually resulted in revolutionary ways of thinking and real change in the cultural fabric of American life.  No longer content to be images of the generation ahead of them, young people wanted change. The changes affected education, values, lifestyles, laws, and entertainment.  Many of the revolutionary ideas which began in the sixties are continuing to evolve today


Brad and Susan in the 60s. The purpose of this web and library guide is to help the user gain a broad understanding and appreciation for the culture and history of the 1960s.   In a very small way, this is a bibliographic essay.  While there is no way we can link to everything, we have attempted to find areas of special interest and to select information that we hold dear today - movies we watch, songs we sing, events that move us, people we admire.

To see the whole picture, we encourage users to browse all the way through this page and then visit the suggested links for more information on the decade.  We feel the best way to immerse oneself in a topic is to use both Internet and the library.  The real depth of  information is best read in books.  More photographs, more information, more depth.   Then, there is information that will be found only on the Internet; a journal from someone, photographs like those on our pages.  If you can add a valuable site or information to this page, we invite you to write.   Thanks for the visit.  ENJOY!


ART & ARCHITECTURE: Library of Congress browsing areas are: N-NX

ARCHITECTURE

modern architecture Architecture in the sixties was undergoing  a refinement of Modernism and a move to an even more streamlined contemporary look. Tall buildings or skyscrapers created a distinctly American structural type.  Architects such as Philip Johnson, and  John Burgee, of Johnson & Burgee  (Kline Biological Tower), are some of the architects who designed office buildings which helped create a different look for the skylines of large cities.  Architects used light and space, for example the Cleo Rogers Memorial Library by I.M. Pei , to create buildings which were adapted for the activities which took place in them.  The influence of space and futuristic design was apparent in some public buildings like the  NASA complex at Houston, Texas .  Eero Saarinen created the  Memorial Arch in St. Louis, Missouri  in 1965.   Walter Gropius  designed the  Pan Am Building  (now called the Met Life Building) in 1963 with Pietro Belluschi and Emery Rothe & Sons.  Louis I. Kahn in his Kimbell Art Museum  of Ft. Worth and other buildings brought a feeling of austerity to American architecture.   Robert Venturi wrote  Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture  in 1966 and called for a change in the reductive simplicity of Modernism, beginning a protest in the late 60's. Perhaps one of the most well known and influential architects whose career began to rise in the sixties is  I. M. Pei Peter Eisenman and  Frank O. Gehry  are architects who have become world famous for their distinctive designs and who began making names for themselves during this timeDesigners like Herman Miller left their mark on furnishings.    Sleek contemporary  styles like those by Verner Panton have translated  well into future decades of furniture.

ART

As in the fifties, art in America of the sixties was influenced by the desire to move into the modern age or future which the space age seemed to forecast.  Major works by  Alexander Calder  (mobiles and sculpture) or Helen Frankenthaler  (non-representational art) showed a desire to escape from  details to interpret.  Artists wanted to inspire the viewer to leap into the unknown and experience art in their own way. A new artist who appeared was  Andy Warhol, a leading name in pop art.  Other forms evolving during this time were  assemblage artop art (or optical art) (ex. Vasarely ), or kinetic abstraction  (ex.  Marcel Duchamp ), environmental art   (ex. Robert Smithson ), and  pop art , (ex. David Hockney ).
 
BOOKS ON ART AND ARCHITECTURE:



BOOKS & LITERATURE

Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak Literature also reflected what was happening in the political arenas and social issues of America in the sixties. A book which described some of the turmoil of race relations as they affected people in America,  Harper Lee's Pulitzer prize winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird is a story about a small southern town and social distinctions between races.  Writing about race and gender, women of color like Gwendolyn Brooks, Maya Angelou  and Margaret Walker Alexander helped create new insights on feminism as it developed in America. Sylvia Plath   (The Bell Jar), and Mary McCarthy  (The Group) spoke of women in roles outside those of the happy wife and mother of the fifties.  Women like Betty Friedan, author of  The Feminine Mystique , and Gloria Steinem , led the way for many women.  Disillusionment with the system was the theme of books like Catch-22 and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

Marshall McLuhan, author of books on communications and the scope of the "global village," popularized his belief that mass communications were a driving force in the development of modern society in works like The Gutenberg Galaxy  and  Understanding Media .  The Peter Principle, by Laurence Peter, came to epitomize incompetence. In 1963, Maurice Sendak  published Where the Wild Things Are, about a boy named Max who must face some of his childhood fears.  This controversial book with its illustrations, also by  Sendak, won the Caldecott Medal in 1964 and has become a classic in children's literature.

LINKS

 The Sixties Project

BOOKS: Library of Congress browsing areas include:  PS -  American Literature; Z - Books and Libraries

Books that define the time:

Books about books:

Children's Book Award Winners of the 60's
Newbery Award Winners - Began in 1922 (awarded to the most distinguished children's book of the previous year)

1960: Onion John by Joseph Krumgold
1961: Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell 
1962: The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare
1963: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Wojciechowska 
1964: It's Like This, Cat by Emily Neville 
1965: Shadow of a Bull by Maia
1966: I, Juan de Pareja by Elizabeth Borton de Trevino 
1967: Up a Road Slowly by Irene Hunt 
1968: From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg 
1969: The High King by Lloyd Alexander

Caldecott Award Winners - Began in 1938 (awarded to the most distinguished children's picture book of the previous year)

1960: Nine Days to Christmas, illustrated by Marie Hall Ets; text: Marie Hall Ets and Aurora Labastida
1961: Baboushka and the Three Kings, illustrated by Nicolas Sidjakov; text: Ruth Robbins 
1962: Once a Mouse, retold and illustrated by Marcia Brown 
1963: The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats  
1964: Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak 
1965: May I Bring a Friend? illustrated by Beni Montresor; text: Beatrice Schenk de Regniers
1966: Always Room for One More, illustrated by Nonny Hogrogian; text: Sorche Nic Leodhas, pseud. [Leclair Alger]
1967: Sam, Bangs & Moonshine by Evaline Ness
1968: Drummer Hoff, illustrated by Ed Emberley; text: adapted by Barbara Emberley
1969: The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship, illustrated by Uri Shulevitz; text: retold by Arthur Ransome



EDUCATION

Peggy Whitley with her 2nd grade class, Ross Elementary School, 1968, During the sixties, college campuses became centers of debate and scenes of protest more than ever before.  Great numbers (statistics)  of young adults, baby boomers, reaching military draft age (selective service) and not yet voting age (minimum voting age did not become 18 until 1971), caused a struggle which played out on many campuses as the country became more involved  (timeline) in the Vietnam War. The generation gap became a growing phenomenon.

In 1966, James S. Coleman, commissioned by the government, published Equality of Educational Opportunity, a landmark study that led the way to forced integration and busing in the 1970s.

Problems in secondary schools, discovered in the fifties, were being addressed in books such as James B. Conant's The American High School Today.  A return to the teaching of basic thinking skills was seen to be part of the solution.  In grade schools across the nation, phonics made a come back as reading specialists try to fix what went wrong in American education in the fifties.

The picture to the right shows the first teacher allowed to teach pregnant (and showing) in Clear Creek School District.  It was the end of 1968.

LINKS

BOOKS

 


FADS & FASHION

FADS

Barbie doll Youth predominated the culture of the 1960's.  The post World War II Baby Boom had created 70 million teenagers for the sixties, and these youth swayed the fashion, the fads and the politics of the decade. California surfers took to skateboards as a way to stay fit out of season, and by 1963, the fad had spread across the country.   Barbie dolls, introduced by Mattel in 1959, became a huge success in the sixties, so much so that rival toy manufacturer Hasbro came up with G. I. Joe, 12 inches tall and the first action figure for boys.  Another doll, the troll or Dammit doll (named for it's creator, Thomas Dam) was a good luck symbol for all ages.   Slot cars overtook toy trains in popularity.


COSTUMES / FASHION

Susan with the big 60s hair! The 1960's began with crew cuts on men and bouffant hairstyles on women.  Men's casual  shirts were often plaid and buttoned down the front, while knee-length dresses were Polyester Leisure suit required wear for women in most public places.  By mid-decade, miniskirts or  hot pants, often worn with go-go boots, were revealing legs, bodywear was revealing curves, and women's hair was either very short or long and lanky.  Men's hair became longer and wider, with beards and moustaches.  Men's wear had a renaissance.  Bright colors, double-breasted sports jackets, polyester pants suits with Nehru jackets, and turtlenecks were in vogue.  By the end of the decade, ties, when worn, were up to 5" wide, patterned even when worn with stripes.  Women wore peasant skirts or granny dresses and chunky shoes.  Unisex dressing was popular, featuring bell bottomed jeans, love beads, and embellished t-shirts.  Clothing was as likely to be purchased at surplus stores as boutiques.  Blacks of both genders wore their hair in an afro.


 LINKS

BOOKS on art
 BOOKS on fashion

HISTORIC EVENTS AND TECHNOLOGY

Dinner at the Neiburger 's - Susan's family - in 1968. The Civil Rights movement made great changes in society in the 1960's.  The movement began peacefully, with Martin Luther King and Stokely Carmichael leading sit-ins and peaceful protests, joined by whites, particularly Jews. Malcolm X preached about Black Nationalism.  After his assassination, the Black Panthers were formed to continue his mission.  In 1965, the Watts riots broke out in Los Angeles.  The term "blacks" became socially acceptable, replacing "Negroes." 

The number of Hispanic Americans tripled during the decade and became recognized as an oppressed minority.  Cesar Chavez organized Hispanics in the United Farm Workers AssociationAmerican Indians, facing unemployment rates of 50% and a life expectancy only two-thirds that of whites, began to assert themselves in the courts and in violent protests. 

The Presidential Commission of the Status of Women (1963) presented disturbing facts about women's place in our society.   Betty FriedanPauli Murray and Gloria Steinem,  (National Organization for Women) questioned the unequal treatment of women, gave birth to Women's Lib, and disclosed the "glass ceiling."  The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was amended to include gender.  The birth control pill became widely available and abortion for cause was legalized in Colorado in 1967.  In 1967, both abortion and artificial insemination became legal in some states.

Woodstock Festival Remembered The Supreme Court decided in Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421, 1962, that prayer in the public schools was unconstitutional.  As the 1960's progressed, many young people turned from mainstream Protestant religions to mystic eastern religions such as Transcendental Meditation (Maharishi Mahesh Yogi) or Zen Buddhism.  Respect for authority declined among the youth, and crime rates soared to nine times the rate of the 1950's.  Marijuana use soared.  Well known Harvard psychologist Timothy Leary encouraged the use of LSD as a mind-opening drug.  The hippie movement endorsed drugs, rock music, mystic religions and sexual freedom.  They opposed violence.  The Woodstock Festival at which 400,000 young people gathered in a spirit of love and sharing, represents the pinnacle of the hippie movement.  Many hippies moved to Haight Ashbury in San Francisco, East Village in New York City, or lived in communes.

When Fidel Castro, soon after overtaking Cuba, declared that he was a communist, the United States broke off diplomatic relations.  Castro seized American property.  The CIA attacked Cuba in an ill-fated mission at the Bay of Pigs.  In 1962, a spy plane identified long range missiles in Cuba.  President John F. Kennedy  readied troops to invade Cuba, and the Soviet Union prepared to fire at US cities if we made a move.

Vietnamese Soldier on Bike in Da Nang John F. Kennedy was young and charismatic, and his brief reign as president was often called Camelot.  He was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald in 1963. His Vice President, Lyndon B. Johnson became president, and was reelected the following year.  To prevent communist North Vietnam from overtaking South Vietnam, the United States sent military advisors and then soldiers.  It was largely a secret war until 1965, when massive troop buildups were ordered to put an end to the conflict.  The draft was accelerated and anti-war sentiment grew in the US.  College students organized anti-war protestsdraft dodgers fled to Canada, and there were reports of soldiers reflected the growing disrespect for authority, shooting their officers rather than follow orders.  Johnson, blamed by many for the war and the racial unrest in the country, did not run for reelection in 1968.  John Kennedy's brother, Robert campaigned for the nomination for President and he, too was killed. Malcolm X was assassinated in 1965 and Martin Luther King was assassinated in 1968.
Long hair was popular for both young men and young women.  (John and Gail Williams)
The Space Race, begun by the Soviets in 1957, was highlighted by Alan Shepard, the first American in space in 1961.  In 1963, John Glenn was the first American to orbit the earth.  Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, in Apollo XI, were the first men to walk on the moon in 1969.  The surgeon general determined that smoking was a health hazard, and in 1965 required cigarette manufacturers to place warnings on all packages and in all ads.  The first clone of a vertebrate, a South African tree frog, was produced in 1967.  Dr. Denton Cooley implanted the first artificial heart in a human, and it kept the patient alive for three days until a human heart could be transplanted.

People became more concerned with their health and their environment.   Rachel Carson's Silent Spring awakened the environmental movement and the Sierra Club gained a following.  Ralph Nader's book, Unsafe at any Speed, led to the consumer movement.

Important Historic and Cultural Events
1961 - Peace Corps created by Pres. Kennedy
1963 - Martin Luther King delivers his I have a dream speech
1963 - Pres. John F. Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas, Texas
1963 - Lyndon Johnson becomes President of the United States

3 veterinarians checking bomb sniffing dogs for viruses. LINKS



BOOKS 
Library of Congress browsing areas : E -F - U.S. History   [ Remember, history covers all areas of the library.]
  FINDING PEOPLE IN BOOKS
Adam's photograph of the Beatles In 1960, Elvis returned to the music scene from the US Army, joining the other white male vocalists at the top of the charts; Bobby DarinNeil SedakaJerry Lee Lewis,  Paul Anka,   Del Shannon and Frankie Avalon. America, however, was ready for a change.  The Tamla Motown Record Company came on the scene, specializing in black rhythm and blues, aided in the emergence of female groups such as Gladys Knight and the Pips, Martha and the Vandellas, the Supremes, and Aretha Franklin, as well as some black men, including Smokey Robinson, James Brown, Jimi Hendrix, and the  Temptations.   Bob Dylan helped bring about a folk music revival, along with Joan Baez and Peter, Paul & Mary.  The Beach Boys began recording music that appealed to high schoolers.  The Beatles, from England, burst into popularity with innovative rock music that appealed to all ages.  The Righteous Brothers were a popular white duo who used African American styling to create a distinctive sound.

There was a major change in popular music in the mid-1960's, caused in part by the drug scene.  Acid Rock, highly amplified and improvisational, and the more mellow psychedelic rock gained prominence.  When the Beatles turned to acid rock, their audience narrowed to the young. Jefferson Airplane  and the Grateful Dead grew out of the counterculture in 1967.  The musical phenomena of the decade was  Woodstock, a three day music festival that drew 400,000 hippies and featured peace, love, and happiness...and LSD.   Folk music contributed to the counterculture.

The modular synthesizer (aka moog synthesizer), developed in 1960 by Robert Moog and Donald Buchla, marked a major change in serious music.  Innovative composers were already experimenting with electro-acoustic music.  Now they were able to go further with John Cage's 0'0 (Zero Silence) to be performed by anyone in anyway; Morton Subotnik's Silver Apples of the MoonRobert Ashley's Wolfman.  In 1967, Alvin Lucier, one of the co-founders of the Sonic Arts Union, created "Music for a Solo Performer," in which electrodes were attached to the performer's scalp.  His alpha waves, controlled by his concentration, resonated from loudspeakers, accompanied by occasional percussion.  Computers were used in music composition and sound synthesis, notably Max Mathews' Music IV and Music V.  By the end of the decade, popular music was also using synthesizers and other electronic devices.

LINKS
BOOKS  Library ofCongress browsing areas:  M-ML

THEATER, FILM, RADIO, and TELEVISION

Live broadcast at the Michigan State station By 1960, Broadway productions had become prohibitively expensive for adventurous offerings, and producers resorted to musicals and works proven elsewhere.  It was a great decade for musicals, including Camelot, Hello DollyOliverMan of La ManchaHair,  and  Funny Girl.  Even Off-Broadway was feeling the economic pinch. leading to the advent of  off-off-Broadway, where innovative shows and new writers could get a start.  Theater expanded outside New York City, and by 1966 for the first time, more actors were employed outside New York City than in it.  The most prestigious playwright of the sixties is Edward Albee, who wrote Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf.

Musicals that proved popular on Broadway were made into movies, including Sound of Music and My Fair Lady.  After Marilyn Monroe died, Audrey Hepburn, star of My Fair Lady and Wait until Dark, was the idol of young girls.  Disney offered family entertainment in 101 Dalmatians and Pinocchio.  Movies became more political, commenting on the arms race as in Dr. Strangelove.  Sex became more explicit, and occasionally nontraditional,  as in Midnight CowboyBob and Carol and Ted and Alice,  and  The Graduate.  Six James Bond Movies, including Dr. No, From Russia With Love, and Goldfinger, combined sex and violence and were enormously popular.  Previous taboos on sex, violence and language, were ignored, resulting in the need for a new film code by the MPAA.

Radio continued to be the primary means of listening to music.  The major development was a change from primarily AM to FM  .  Radio was supplemented by American Bandstand, watched by teens from coast to coast.  They not only learned the latest music, but how to dance to it.  When Chubby Checker introduced the twist on the show in 1961, a new craze was born, and dancing became an individual activity.  The Mashed Potato, the Swim, the Watusi, the Monkey and the Jerk followed the Twist, mimicking their namesakes.  Each new dance often lasted for just a song or two before the next one came along.  Eventually the names and stylized mimicry ceased and the dancers just moved however they wanted.  For those who preferred watching the dancers, Go-go girls, on stages or in bird cages, danced above the crowd.

Fred Flintstone Television offered the second prime time cartoon show,  the Flintstones , in 1960.  (The first was Rocky and his Friends in 1959.)  It appealed to both children and adults and set off a trend that included  Alvin & the Chipmunks , the Jetsons , and Mr. Magoo.  The  Andy Griffith Show  was the epitome of prime time family television, and ran for most of the decade.  The Beverly Hillbillies  was another popular sitcom.  The supernatural and science fiction blended in many of the popular shows, including  Bewitched, The Addams FamilyMy Favorite Martian , I Dream of Jeannie, Star Trek, the Outer Limits , and the Twilight Zone.   In the late 60's, humor was revived in a show called Rowan and Martin's Laugh In, where many regular performers and guests became part of a show biz classic.

LINKS
 

BOOKS Library of Congress browsing areas for theatre and drama: PN

The list below represents only a beginning of what was happening in the cinema industry.  New ground was broken with each new film.   Books may be the best means of learning more on this topic.

Year and Title of Film:
1964 - Dr. Strangelove or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Bomb  - a satire on the dangers of atomic weapons
1968 - The Graduate - a film showing how the generation gap affects communications
1969 -  Midnight Cowboy  - an example a films with a more mature theme


SPORTS

Three Olympic Games were held during the sixties.  In 1960, the winter games were held in Squaw Valley, the summer games were held in Rome.  Some of the outstanding athletes in the 1960 games were, David Jenkins, gold in figure skating and Carol Heiss, gold in figure skating.  The US ice hockey team also won the gold medal in these winter olympics.  In Rome during the1960 games, among the US gold medalists were: world record setting Otis Davis, 400m, and olympic record setting Glenn Davis, 400m hurdles, William Nieder, shot put, and Al Oerter, discus. Wilma Rudolph with Olympic medals Wilma Rudoph won gold in both the 100m and 200m runs.  Muhammad Ali becomes the world heavyweight boxing championMuhammad Ali won gold as a light heavyweight boxer.  The women's 400m relay and the men's basketball team won gold, too.  In 1964, the winter games were held in Innsbruck, Austria, and the summer games were held in Tokyo.  Highlights for the US team were at the summer games where medalists included world records for Bob Hayes, 100m,  olympic records for Henry Carr, 200m, Billy Mills, 10,000m, Dallas Long, shot put, and Al Oerter, discus.   Wyomia Tyus, 100m, and Edith McGuire, 200m, were gold medal women athletes.  Once again the men's basketball team won gold and the men's 400m relay team set a world record.  Don Schollander won two gold medals in the 100m and 400m freestyle swim.  In 1968, the winter games were held in Grenoble France and the summer games were held in Mexico City.   Figure skating champion Peggy Fleming won gold for her performance in Grenoble.  In Mexico City, the men's track and field efforts were rewarded with world records for Jim Hines, 100m, Tommie Smith, 200m, Lee Evans, 400m, and the men's 400m relay team.   Al Oerter set a third olympic record in the discus throw.  Wyomia Tyus set a world record in the 100m run, and the women 's 400m relay team set a world record.   Debbie Meyer won 3 golds for 200, 400 and 800m freestyle swimming events.

In professional sports, pitcher Sandy Koufax, National League,  won the Cy Young award in baseball in 1963, 1965,  and 1966.  Other baseball greats included Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente, and Bob Gibson.  Star football players included Abner Haynes, Dallas, 1960, Jim Nance, Boston, 1966, and Joe Namath, New York Jets, 1968.    Basketball greats included Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Elvin Hayes and Elgin BaylorArthur Ashe became the first black man to win the U.S. Tennis Championship  title in 1968.   Arnold Palmer dominated golf in the 1960's.  His chief rival, Jack Nicklaus, came along to begin his own great golf career.

BOOKS    Library of Congress browsing area for sports is GV.  
  • REF GV 697 .A1P32 - Sports Stars, published by Gale Research.  This 2 vol. set contains photos of the athletes.
  • REF GV 704 .S663 - Sports: Complete Virtual Reference, pub. by Firefly Books, information on sports, equipment and athletes.
  • REF GV 709 .I58 - International Encyclopedia of Women and Sports, pub. by Gale, female athletes from around the world.
  • REF GV 741 .S768 - Sports Illustrated Sports Almanac, lists past athletes by sport.
  • REF GV 741 .I58 - ESPN Sports Almanac, similar to the Sports Illustrated Almanac, lists of athletes by sport.

CITE THIS PAGE

MLA Style
Goodwin, Susan and Becky Bradley . "1960-1969." American Cultural History. Lone Star
    College-Kingwood Library, 1999. Web. 7 Feb. 2011.
Chicago Style

Goodwin, Susan and Becky Bradley. "1960-1969." American Cultural History.
    Lone Star College-Kingwood Library. Last modified July 2010.
     http://wwwappskc.lonestar.edu/popculture/decade60.html.
APA Style 
Goodwin, S. and Bradley, B . (1999). 1960-1969. American Cultural History.
    Lone Star College-Kingwood Library, Kingwood, TX. Retrieved from
    http://wwwappskc.lonestar.edu/popculture/decade60.html

Copyright © 1999 [Lone Star College- Kingwood Library]
Design by: Peggy Whitley, Written by: Susan Goodwin and >Becky Bradley.  Updated: 6/2011 BB.


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