Forensic Fashion
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>Costume Studies
>>1934 Public Enemy
Subject: "public enemy" outlaw
Culture: Depression-era American
Setting: Great Depression / Dust Bowl, America 1930s





Context

* Wallace 2003 p9-10
"[H]ardly had the smoke cleared from the gun battles of the 1920s when a new breed of misanthrope stepped into the existing socioeconomic climate.  These were not the pseudo-business types possessed of the boardroom brilliance of Capone, Accardo or Luciano.  Most were the ill-educated sons (and daughters) of farmers and hillbillies.  Unlike their big-city counterparts, these criminals had not honed their skills through youthful (yet profitable) extortion and protection rackets.  Rather, they embarked on their lawless pursuits with reckless abandon, taking their cue from the outlaws of the Old West.
    "With the Depression at its height, these back-road bandits, driven by hunger and desperation, set out on robbery and kidnapping sprees that saw them emerge from the plains of Indiana, the dust bowl of Oklahoma, the hills of the Ozarks, and the open fields of Texas.  They moved swiftly and hit without mercy.  In 1933, the country recorded 12,000 murders, 50,000 robberies and 3000 kidnappings."





* Wallace 2003 p10
"They truly were modern-day cowboys, although advanced in the tools of their trade.  Thompson submachine guns capable of dispensing 550 slugs a minute replaced the Winchester rifle."