Creating a suburban escape : class, race, and gender in post-World War II Levittown

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Gribble, Lexi (Student at Ball State University)
Connolly, James J., 1962-
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Thesis (B.?)
Honors College
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Most Americans now live in suburban places. While suburbs are common throughout the country today, they were not always prevalent. They developed slowly before experiencing a major boom following the end of the Second World War. Factors such as economic growth, housing shortages, and federal programs helped developers create suburbs across the country. One particular developer, Levitt and Sons, profited greatly off of the demand for housing by creating suburbs that not only provided people with a place to live, but with a middle-class way of life. Suburban developers such as the Levitts created a distinct set of expectations for the residents of their communities. They showcased these ideals in their advertisements. This paper will explore how advertisements sold the Levittown life, and how class, race, and gender were major factors in the marketing of suburbs. By setting certain expectations around class, race, and gender, Levittown set itself apart as the suburb idolized during the postwar period.