Angus Trumble’s 1929 In Retrospect


“Mohandas K. Gandhi was arrested in Calcutta for burning foreign cloth, tried before the British chief presidency magistrate, and (wisely) fined only one rupee. The flag of India was unfurled in Lahore and an early date set for ‘independence.’ Rudy Vallee achieved enormous popularity as a ‘crooner.’ The concepts of ‘the Memphis blues’ and ‘boogie-woogie’ emerged, for which the innovations of popular artists such as Cow Cow Davenport, Roosevelt Sykes, and Clarence ‘Pine Top’ Smith are now thought to have been responsible....“

The year 1929 saw the global economy collapse, but our resident chronologist reveals that performers, perfumers, princes, and protesters mostly went about business as usual.

Angus Trumble (1964–2022) was the director of the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra, Australia. He was also a senior research fellow at the National Museum of Australia, as well as a curator at the Yale Center for British Art and the Art Gallery of South Australia. Trumble wrote several books, including A Brief History of the Smile (Basic Books, 2004) and The Finger: A Handbook (Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2010). In 2015, he was named a fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. In 2022, he was made an honorary fellow of his alma mater, Trinity College, Melbourne.