Perhaps no period in history of our country has seen so many and such far-ranging changes as the early years of the twentieth century. Immigration transformed society; electricity revolutionized both business and daily life; and America confronted its destiny and left its innocence behind in the shattering experience of the First World War. "The Bronx in the Innocent Years" offers the moving and eloquent testimony of a community that experienced this era firsthand, living through its joys and its disruptions, its daily miracles that never failed to remind that a way of life was disappearing. "The Bronx in the Innocent Years, 1890-1925" is the result of a project sponsored by The Bronx County Historical Society. For the past several years the Society has been at work on an informal history of the borough. In 1979 the first page of the series, "The Beautiful Bronx, 1920-1950, was published with great success. With this new volume, the focus shifts to a period that saw the transformation of The Bronx from a group of small rural villages to an urban center as vital as its neighboring boroughs. These were the decades when a pail of draft beer cost a dime; when Bronx residents could earn $2 working as extras in D.W. Griffith's local studio; when a vacation could be spent at Orchard Beach, a tent colony that was built and dismantled each summer; when The Bronx was the "piano hub" of the country; when pigs and rabid dogs roamed the streets and malaria was still a powerful threat. The colorful history of these times is presented in a series of first-person accounts of Bronxites who grew up in the innocent years and who now share their fond reminiscences of the fields and farms, the beer gardens and trolleys of a bygone age. Complementing the text is a gallery of rare photographs from archives of The Bronx County Historical Society that offer a vivid and beautiful glimpse into the past. A splendid work of social history, "The Bronx in the Innocent Years" is an engaging portrait not only of New York City but also America at a turning point in its passage from innocence to the events that brought it to the forefront of the nations of the world.
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