Levittown’s Lanes

1. I selected the Levittown Thousand Lanes magazine because of my fascination with history and the idea of home in the latter part of the nineteen hundreds. This magazine showcased the literal ideal home and how to run it. It had decorating tips and which companies to use in order to frequently renovate.
2. The object is a magazine printed especially for the people of Levittown and how to best accessorize and update their home.
3. I want to analyze how this object dictates to the people of Levittown about how to keep up their homes in a suitable fashion, and how the magazine shaped the outward look of the community.
4. The magazine is fairly thick compared to current magazines and slightly weathered. The pages are also thicker and an off-white color, perhaps due to age. The magazine is littered with pictures, illustrations and advertisements in black and white. Only the cover is colored in. The rest of the pages are filled in with descriptions of decorating the home and captions to the pictures.
5. The magazine comes from Long Island in the 1950s and 1960s. The first issue was published in November of 1951. The issues came out every season from 1951-1963, each with vivid details and pictures of how to decorate the Levitt home to best accentuate the season. The subject in these magazines are the homes and people of Levittown, who are constantly on display. The magazine highlighted specific houses and exceptional people in the community every issues.
6. This object was meant to be public and even shared beyond the borders of Levittown, I believe, in order to create a picturesque portrait of Levittown.
7. The magazine suggest home was not as we know it now. Home in Levittown, in the 1950s and 1960s, was dictated and pre-selected for the townspeople. The home was constantly under scrutiny and judgement from the neighborhood. Every house had to be a showcase for the “perfect” lifestyle and home. The people of Levittown were trapped in the perfect suburbia and their cookie-cutter homes that was anything but personal. Home now is considered a sanctuary and privacy. The magazines prove that Levittown residents had little respite from the outside world as now the homes were under constant display. The residents of Levittown had to fit into the model of a white nuclear family.
8. These magazines are truly fascinating, by just immortalizing people’s homes in the neighborhood by publishing pictures and articles. The magazine pushed a certain agenda of renovation onto the reader, by “suggesting” decorating patterns like this family or displaying add-ons built by that family. Whatever the magazine had in its pages was the new standard for living in Levittown which is such a strange concept. Now, every home is completely different, but at the same time television networks like Home and Gardening TV do much of the same things.
9. This magazine was a way to control the neighborhood and keep the town in-line with societal norms. The magazine came into many people’s homes and decided what was or wasn’t worth publishing. The magazine set the style for the whole neighborhood and pleasantly urged the people of Levittown to keep up. But the magazine did this behind the ruse of “individual creation” and helpful tips. The magazine created a fixed cage in which the people had to live in, which is closely related to how I always thought of my home, as an anti-home of sorts. My home was very constricting which pushed me away, like I would assume many were turned off by the harsh social contract in which they were entering.
10. Encountering this magazine only bolstered my disdain for the idea of home. This magazine shows that the home can be very impersonal and an unreal fixture. I’m sure many families made great memories in these houses but the “feeling of home” from all the creative details and decorations was all manufactured from this magazine. Home can be a fantastic place but for me, home was much like the homes of Levittown.

11.

 

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