Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
Some stories can't just be told. They must be experienced. Main Navigation Teachers
CHRONOLOGICAL: 1901 - 1925:

1901  |   1911  |   1918  |   1922

Ansel Adams

Ansel Adams (1902-1984)
The legendary photographer who captured America's wild beauty.
More InformationLaunch Web SiteBuy the VideoTeachers GuideWatch the Promo

From the day that a 14-year-old Ansel Adams first saw the transcendent beauty of the Yosemite Valley, his life was, in his words, "colored and modulated by the great earth-gesture of the Sierra." Few American photographers have reached a wider audience than Adams, and none has had more impact on how Americans grasp the majesty of their continent. In this elegant, moving and lyrical portrait of the most eloquent and quintessentially American of photographers, producer Ric Burns seeks to explore the meaning and legacy of Adams' life and work. At the heart of the film are the great themes that absorbed Adams throughout his career: the beauty and fragility of "the American earth," the inseparable bond of man and nature, and the moral obligation the present owes to the future.
Public Enemy #1

Public Enemy #1 (1903-1935)
The legendary outlaw John Dillinger.
More InformationLaunch Web SiteBuy the VideoTeachers GuideWatch the Promo

From 1933 to 1934, America was thrilled and terrorized by John Dillinger, a desperado, a bank robber, a bad man no jail could hold. His reputation grew until he was named the country's first Public Enemy #1 and hunted by virtually every cop in America.Operating during a time of great hardship, Dillinger became a mythic figure who struggled against authority and garnered the support of many ordinary Americans, particularly those hardest hit by the Great Depression. Dillinger finally met his match in J. Edgar Hoover, who used the outlaw's celebrity to burnish his own reputation and that of his national law enforcement agency, the FBI. Hoover won the day making sure in the process that the moral of Dillinger's tale was "crime doesn't pay."
Seabiscuit

Seabiscuit (1903-1958)
The long shot horse that captured America's heart.
More InformationLaunch Web SiteBuy the VideoTeachers GuideWatch the Promo

He was boxy, with stumpy legs that wouldn't completely straighten, a short straggly tail and an ungainly gait, but though he didn't look the part, Seabiscuit was one of the most remarkable thoroughbred racehorses in history.In the 1930s, when Americans longed to escape the grim realities of Depression-era life, four men turned Seabiscuit into a national hero. They were fabulously wealthy owner Charles Howard, silent and stubborn trainer Tom Smith, and the two hard-bitten, gifted jockeys who rode him to glory. By following the paths that brought these four together and in telling the story of Seabiscuit's unlikely career, this film illuminates the precarious economic conditions that defined America in the 1930s and explores the fascinating behind-the-scenes world of thoroughbred racing.
The Fight

The Fight (1905-1992)
Joe Louis and Max Schmeling fought for their people, and for their nations on the brink of war. Most of all, they fought for themselves.
More InformationLaunch Web SiteBuy the VideoTeachers GuideWatch the Promo

On June 22, 1938, 70,000 fans crammed into Yankee Stadium to watch what some observers have since called "the most important sporting event in history." Millions more tuned in to hear a blow-by-blow description on the radio.The rematch between the African American heavyweight Joe Louis and his German opponent Max Schmeling was riveting -- "one hundred and twenty-four seconds of murder," as one newspaper put it. But for most spectators the fight was much more than a boxing match; it was an historic event freighted with symbolic significance, both a harbinger of the civil rights movement and a prelude to World War II.In this first feature-length documentary about the momentous encounter, American Experience captures the anticipation the bout generated, the swirl of events leading up to it, the impact Louis's victory had on black America and its significance for Jews on both sides of the Atlantic.

Battle for Wilderness (1906)
(no website available)
The first major battle for wilderness preservation.
More Information

The first major battle for wilderness preservation erupted over the building of Hetch Hetchy Dam in Yosemite National Park in 1906. On the one side were the purists who argued that wildlands were to be left as God made them; on the other, those who believed in the wise management of natural resources. President Roosevelt, an ardent conservationist, was caught between the two.
The Great San Francisco Earthquake

The Great San Francisco Earthquake (1906)
Vivid memories of those trapped in the terrifying event of 1906.
More InformationLaunch Web SiteBuy the VideoTeachers GuideWatch the Promo

From Enrico Caruso to the ordinary San Franciscan, vivid memories of those trapped in the terrifying event of 1906; 480 square blocks were reduced to rubble; thousands were killed, tens of thousands left homeless. Then the heroic struggle to rebuild a city from the ashes began.
Murder of the Century

Murder of the Century (1906)
Two notorious men loved Evelyn Nesbit -- one survived.
More InformationLaunch Web SiteBuy the VideoTeachers GuideWatch the Promo

In 1906, the murder of Stanford White, New York architect and man-about-town, by Harry K. Thaw, heir to a Pittsburgh railroad fortune, was reported "to the ends of the civilized globe;" much of the focus however was on Evelyn Nesbit, the beautiful showgirl in the center of the love triangle. A sensational murder story that had everything: money, power, class, love, rage, lust and revenge.
Tupperware!

Tupperware! (1907-1992)
The plastic food container that became a phenomenally successful business -- and an American cultural icon.
More InformationLaunch Web SiteBuy the VideoTeachers GuideWatch the Promo

Tupperware is a household word not just in America, but around the world. This one-hour film looks at why a plastic food container has become not only one of the world's most ubiquitous products but a cultural icon. At the center of the narrative are two dynamic, quirky characters: the ambitious but reclusive Earl Tupper, who invented Tupperware, and his flamboyant female business associate, Brownie Wise, who figured out how to sell it. Working side by side, Tupper and Wise built an empire, creating a business model that has since been copied by all well-known direct sales companies.Using interviews with Tupperware executives and dealers from the early days and wonderful, little-seen company footage of Tupperware Jubilees, this funny, probing program re-examines assumptions about American culture in the 1950s.
Mr. Miami Beach

Mr. Miami Beach (1908-1929)
Carl Fisher, the man who invented Miami Beach.
More InformationLaunch Web SiteTeachers Guide

In 1925, Miami Beach was the hottest spot in America, a magical playground by the sea with luxurious hotels, golf courses, swimming pavilions and Beautiful People. Yet just ten years earlier, none of it existed -- not even the sand. Everything was the creation of Carl Fisher, a fast-living dreamer and master promoter from Indiana. A self-made millionaire who built the Indianapolis Speedway, Fisher saw his tropical paradise boom -- until a hurricane, the Crash of 1929, and his own demons brought it all crashing down.
Rescue at Sea

Rescue at Sea (1909)
Wireless telegraphy is used in 1909 to rescue more than 1,500 lives after two ships collide in dense fog.
More InformationLaunch Web SiteBuy the VideoTeachers Guide

On January 23, 1909, two ships -- one carrying Italian immigrants to New York City, the other, American tourists to Europe -- collided in dense fog off Nantucket Island. In a moment, more than 1,500 lives became dependent on a new technology, wireless telegraphy, and on Jack Binns, a twenty-six-year-old wireless operator on board one of the ships. A story of courage, luck, and heroism at sea. Produced by Ben Loeterman.

Eudora Welty -- One Writer's Beginnings (1909-1989)
(no website available)
A writer's Southern childhood and the development of her art.
More Information

Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Eudora Welty narrates the story of her own Southern childhood and early artistic development in Jackson, Mississippi. Based on her best-selling book of the same title.

Midnight Ramble (1910-1940)
(no website available)
The little-known story of a black independent film industry.
More InformationBuy the Video

The little-known story of a black independent film industry that thrived outside of Hollywood and produced close to 500 feature movies for African American audiences between 1910 and 1940. Many race movies tackled some of the difficult social issues that confronted black urban society: alcoholism, crime, morality, class conflict, even racism and lynching, setting the stage for today's independent black cinema movement.
Partners of the Heart

Partners of the Heart (1910-1985)
At the height of segregation in the United States, an unlikely alliance between a black medical genius and a white surgeon led to some of the 20th century's pioneering medical breakthroughs.
More InformationLaunch Web SiteBuy the VideoTeachers GuideWatch the Promo

In 1944, two men at Johns Hopkins University Hospital pioneered a groundbreaking procedure that would save thousands of so-called blue babies' lives. One of them, Alfred Blalock, was a prominent white surgeon. The other, Vivien Thomas, was an African American with a high school education. Partners of the Heart tells the inspiring, little-known story of their collaboration. Blalock recognized Thomas' talents when the younger man came inquiring after a hospital janitor's job. But though Blalock came to treat Thomas with tremendous respect in the lab, the two men were rarely treated as equals in the outside world. Over time, Thomas would go on to train two generations of the country's premier heart surgeons. In 1976, more than three decades after the first blue baby's life had been saved, Johns Hopkins finally formally recognized Thomas' extraordinary achievements, awarding him an honorary doctorate.
CHRONOLOGICAL: 1901 - 1925:

1901  |   1911  |   1918  |   1922

Who We Are Schedule Archives Kids Teachers Contact Us Shop