You would be quite wrong.
In his book, The American Flapper: A Biography, James C. Corbett has produced a definitive study of the flapper of that time period.
The book is the result of decades of research: Corbett traveled around the country interviewing dozens of flappers to uncover their lives and their style, including Flapper Alice, Mimi Bess and Gertrude Stein. He also spent several years researching their personalities and habits to get a general picture of their lives.
Corbett writes, “There was one woman in her 60s who was the most important person in my search—she was a flapper who, over the course of several decades, had become the most successful and famous flapper in the 1930s. I met her for the first time over the holidays, during the late 1940s, and found her to have the personality of a shy and thoughtful person who was deeply loved by her fans and whose popularity transcended cultural boundaries.”
The biography, written with such passion, beauty and clarity that you almost feel the author’s hand in the pages, tells the story of a glamorous woman living from hand to mouth and working as a hotel maid, a housekeeper, a barber and a waitress. Her fame, wealth and accomplishments were so great she was often called “Rosa Parks” for her civil rights activism in the 1920s. And she wasn’t just a social person; she loved to travel, took in the great outdoors, and was a devoted family woman who doted on her young children.
In fact, there were many pictures of Rosa Parks in Corbett’s book. Corbett said “I wanted images of her in motion. I took photographs of her in a number of places. For example, she was photographed at the New York Museum of Modern Art in 1938 holding a bouquet of flowers in a small garden on the roof of the building. She took her children to the zoo at the Bronx Zoo.”
But Rosa Parks wasn’t just a flapper; she was one of the most successful and well-known actresses working during that era. In Corbett’s book, she writes, “She was an extraordinarily talented and accomplished actress. I found her to be a brilliant performer who was extremely self-possessed and self-assured. Her portrayal in three films, The Wild Little Girl, The Wreck of the Mary Rose, and The Wannabe actress was so well suited to her personality. Rosa was
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