176 – Home Life 1920, 1921

The Rock House, 219 Kansas Street, Larned, Kansas

Ralph and Chleo made their home with Chleo’s mother, Anna Webb. They lived in the Rock House.

Ralph was working out of town most weeks but came home to Larned on weekends. He and Chleo enjoyed social life when they could.

During the week, Chleo and Anna were working at the Ideal Steam Laundry.

There were lots of Chleo’s relatives nearby for visiting. Whether crocheting, sewing, or just visiting, life was small-town Larned.

On weekends, Ralph had time for social activities too. He played on Larned’s American Legion football team.

Larned Chronoscope – October 28, 1920

A son is born

Melvin Leroy Jarvis was born at 5 pm Friday, April 29, 1921 to Ralph and Chleo Jarvis at the Rock House in Larned.

In 1921, Ralph was age 27 and Chleo was 21.

Melvin Leroy Jarvis and mother Chleo – c 1921

What’s in a name?

Melvin Leroy Jarvis.

Melvin Jarvis 1887-1908

The first name Melvin may have come from Ralph’s cousin Melvin Jarvis, who was 8 years older than Ralph and had died at age 21 in Rising Sun, Indiana.

I think the middle name Leroy may have come from Nathan Jones’ middle name Leroy.

Neither Melvin nor Leroy were the most popular baby names of 1921. Honors went to Mary and John.

Melvin was No. 53 – Leroy was No. 55
Top 10 baby names for 1921

Nibbles Extra Credit – The Roaring Twenties

Fashion and styles

In the 1920s, women could be arrested and fined for exposing too much skin.

Atlantic City police officer measures the distance to hem

The Flapper

The Flapper,” F.A. Leyendecker, LIFE Magazine, February 1922

Before the Roaring Twenties, women wore floor-length dresses. Waists were cinched. Arms and legs were covered. Corsets were standard. Hair was long.

The History of the Flapper

The 20s changed all that. The “new woman” of the 1920s, typically white and middle- or upper-class, rejected those Victorian norms.

“Where There’s Smoke There’s Fire” – Russell Patterson

Labeled “flappers” for their shockingly short skirts and shifts, these women wore makeup and sheer pantyhose. They exposed arms and legs. They threw away their corsets. They danced and drank and smoked. They voted.

Evening dress

The dress length went from floor to knee length, becoming bold and seductive.

The fashion for women was all about getting loose. Women wore dresses all day, every day. Day dresses had a drop waist, which was a sash or belt around the low waist or hip and a skirt that hung anywhere from the ankle on up to the knee.

1920s In Western Fashion
Georges Lepape, Vogue Cover, July 1929

The flapper dress was a mixture of wearable, comfortable, and elegant. It was designed for an active and independent lifestyle.

A First Lady’s dress

A dress worn by First Lady Grace Coolidge in the collections of the National Museum of American History.  (NMAH, gift of Lillian Rogers Parks)


Rayon was the miracle fabric of the day. Made from cellulose fiber, rayon became the rage in 1920s fashion. Artificial silk, rayon could be used to simulate silk, but was much more affordable. It could be silky, shiny, or shimmery.

Rayon fashion clothing – 1920s


The hairstyle of choice was the “bob,” which had several variations.

The “bob” haircut

No one chronicled life in the Roaring ՚20s quite like writer F. Scott Fitzgerald. Escalating the popularity of the cropped-hair flapper look for modern women was his short story “Bernice Bobs Her Hair,” which appeared in the Saturday Evening Post in 1920. 

The May 1, 1920, issue of The Saturday Evening Post was the first time Fitzgerald’s name appeared on the cover. “Bernice Bobs Her Hair “appeared in this issue.


Norma Talmadge, actress – 1920

Before the 20s, cosmetics were associated with prostitution. But in the 1920s makeup became quite popular.

Clara Bowe, actress – 1927


Together with the trousers, flapper dresses, and bobbed hair came high-heeled shoes, hats, and fancy jewelry. Various shoes were fashionable such as the low-heeled “finale hopper” shoes and the high overshoes, as well as galoshes.

What Was It Like in the Roaring Twenties in Art and Fashion?
Putting it all together – flapper dresses, shoes, hats, jewelry, makeup, and attitude

Timeline – 1921


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