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Americana artifacts are related to the
history History (derived ) is the systematic study and the documentation of the human activity. The time period of event before the invention of writing systems is considered prehistory. "History" is an umbrella term comprising past events as well ...
,
geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia''. Combination of Greek words ‘Geo’ (The Earth) and ‘Graphien’ (to describe), literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, an ...
,
folklore Folklore is shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the traditions common to that culture, subculture or group. This includes oral traditions such as tales, legends, proverbs and jokes. They include material culture, ranging f ...
, and cultural heritage of the United States of America. Americana is any collection of materials and things concerning or characteristic of the United States or of the
American people Americans are the citizens and nationals of the United States of America.; ; Although direct citizens and nationals make up the majority of Americans, many dual citizens, expatriates, and permanent residents could also legally claim Ame ...
, and is representative or even stereotypical of
American culture The culture of the United States of America is primarily of Western, and European origin, yet its influences includes the cultures of Asian American, African American, Latin American, and Native American peoples and their cultures. The U ...
as a whole. What is and is not considered Americana is heavily influenced by
national identity National identity is a person's identity or sense of belonging to one or more states or to one or more nations. It is the sense of "a nation as a cohesive whole, as represented by distinctive traditions, culture, and language". National identity ...
, historical context,
patriotism Patriotism is the feeling of love, devotion, and sense of attachment to one's country. This attachment can be a combination of many different feelings, language relating to one's own homeland, including ethnic, cultural, political or histor ...
and
nostalgia Nostalgia is a sentimentality for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations. The word ''nostalgia'' is a learned formation of a Greek compound, consisting of (''nóstos''), meaning "homecoming", a Homeric word ...
. The
ethos Ethos ( or ) is a Greek word meaning "character" that is used to describe the guiding beliefs or ideals that characterize a community, nation, or ideology; and the balance between caution, and passion. The Greeks also used this word to refer to ...
or guiding beliefs or ideals which have come to characterize America, such as The American Dream, are central to the idea. Americana encompasses not only material objects but also people, places, concepts and historical eras which are popularly identified with American culture. The name ''Americana'' also refers to Americana music, a genre of contemporary music that incorporates elements of various American music styles, including
country A country is a distinct part of the world, such as a state, nation, or other political entity. It may be a sovereign state or make up one part of a larger state. For example, the country of Japan is an independent, sovereign state, whil ...
,
roots rock Roots rock is a genre of rock music that looks back to rock's origins in folk, blues and country music. It is particularly associated with the creation of hybrid subgenres from the later 1960s, including blues rock, country rock, Southern rock, ...
,
folk Folk or Folks may refer to: Sociology *Nation *People * Folklore ** Folk art ** Folk dance ** Folk hero ** Folk music *** Folk metal *** Folk punk *** Folk rock ** Folk religion * Folk taxonomy Arts, entertainment, and media * Folk Plus or Fo ...
, bluegrass, and
blues Blues is a music genre and musical form which originated in the Deep South of the United States around the 1860s. Blues incorporated spirituals, work songs, field hollers, shouts, chants, and rhymed simple narrative ballads from the Afric ...
, resulting in a distinctive roots-oriented sound.


As nostalgia

From the mid to late 20th century, Americana was largely conceptualized as a nostalgia for an idealized life in small towns and cities in the United States around the turn of the century, roughly in the period between 1880 and the
First World War World War I (28 July 1914 11 November 1918), often abbreviated as WWI, was one of the deadliest global conflicts in history. Belligerents included much of Europe, the Russian Empire, the United States, and the Ottoman Empire, with fighti ...
, popularly considered "The Good Old Days". It was believed that much of the structure of 20th-century American life and culture had been cemented in that time and place. American author Henry Seidel Canby wrote: American historian Hampton Sides wrote in '' Americana: Dispatches from the New Frontier'' (2004): Many kinds of cultural artifacts fall within the definition of Americana: the things involved need not be old, but are usually associated with some quintessential element of the American experience. Each period of United States history is reflected by the advertising and marketing of the time, and the various types of antiques, collectibles, memorabilia and vintage items from these time periods are typical of what is popularly considered Americana. ''
The Atlantic ''The Atlantic'' is an American magazine and multi-platform publisher. It features articles in the fields of politics, foreign affairs, business and the economy, culture and the arts, technology, and science. It was founded in 1857 in Boston, ...
'' described the term as "slang for the comforting, middle-class ephemera at your average antique store—things like needle-pointed pillows,
Civil War A civil war or intrastate war is a war between organized groups within the same state (or country). The aim of one side may be to take control of the country or a region, to achieve independence for a region, or to change government policie ...
daguerreotype Daguerreotype (; french: daguerréotype) was the first publicly available photographic process; it was widely used during the 1840s and 1850s. "Daguerreotype" also refers to an image created through this process. Invented by Louis Daguerre a ...
s, and engraved silverware sets". The nostalgia for this period was based on a remembrance of confidence in American life that had emerged during the period due to such factors as a sense that the
frontier A frontier is the political and geographical area near or beyond a boundary. A frontier can also be referred to as a "front". The term came from French in the 15th century, with the meaning "borderland"—the region of a country that fronts ...
had finally been "conquered", with the
U.S. Census Bureau The United States Census Bureau (USCB), officially the Bureau of the Census, is a principal agency of the U.S. Federal Statistical System, responsible for producing data about the American people and economy. The Census Bureau is part of the ...
's declaration that it was "closed" in 1890, as well as the recent victory in the
Spanish–American War , partof = the Philippine Revolution, the decolonization of the Americas, and the Cuban War of Independence , image = Collage infobox for Spanish-American War.jpg , image_size = 300px , caption = (clo ...
. By 1912, the contiguous United States was at last fully politically incorporated, and the idea of the nation as a single, solid unity could begin to take hold. As Canby put it, On growing up
Italian-American Italian Americans ( it, italoamericani or ''italo-americani'', ) are Americans who have full or partial Italian ancestry. The largest concentrations of Italian Americans are in the urban Northeast and industrial Midwestern metropolitan areas, ...
, novelist
Don DeLillo Donald Richard DeLillo (born November 20, 1936) is an American novelist, short story writer, playwright, screenwriter and essayist. His works have covered subjects as diverse as television, nuclear war, sports, the complexities of language, per ...
stated: The
zeitgeist In 18th- and 19th-century German philosophy, a ''Zeitgeist'' () ("spirit of the age") is an invisible agent, force or Daemon dominating the characteristics of a given epoch in world history. Now, the term is usually associated with Georg W. ...
of this idealized period is captured in the
Disneyland Disneyland is a theme park in Anaheim, California. Opened in 1955, it was the first theme park opened by The Walt Disney Company and the only one designed and constructed under the direct supervision of Walt Disney. Disney initially envision ...
theme park's Main Street, U.S.A. section (which was inspired by both
Walt Disney Walter Elias Disney (; December 5, 1901December 15, 1966) was an American animator, film producer and entrepreneur. A pioneer of the American animation industry, he introduced several developments in the production of cartoons. As a film p ...
's hometown of Marceline, Missouri and Harper Goff's childhood home of
Fort Collins, Colorado Fort Collins is a List of municipalities in Colorado#Home rule municipality, home rule municipality that is the county seat and the List of municipalities in Colorado, most populous municipality of Larimer County, Colorado, United States. The ci ...
), as well as the musical and movie ''
The Music Man ''The Music Man'' is a musical with book, music, and lyrics by Meredith Willson, based on a story by Willson and Franklin Lacey. The plot concerns con man Harold Hill, who poses as a boys' band organizer and leader and sells band instruments a ...
'' and
Thornton Wilder Thornton Niven Wilder (April 17, 1897 – December 7, 1975) was an American playwright and novelist. He won three Pulitzer Prizes — for the novel '' The Bridge of San Luis Rey'' and for the plays '' Our Town'' and '' The Skin of Our Teeth'' ...
's stage play ''
Our Town ''Our Town'' is a 1938 metatheatrical three-act play by American playwright Thornton Wilder which won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The play tells the story of the fictional American small town of Grover's Corners between 1901 and 1913 thro ...
''. Especially revered in nostalgic Americana are small-town institutions like the barber shop, drug store, soda fountain and ice cream parlor; some of these were eventually resurrected by mid-twentieth century nostalgia for the time period in businesses like the
Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour was an American ice cream parlor and sandwich chain that was founded in Portland, Oregon, in 1963. The chain became defunct following the closure of its last location in Brea, California, in 2019. History Farrell's ...
chain, with its 1890s theme.


Examples


Cultural symbols

*
American football American football (referred to simply as football in the United States and Canada), also known as gridiron, is a team sport played by two teams of eleven players on a rectangular field with goalposts at each end. The offense, the team wit ...
*
Baseball Baseball is a bat-and-ball sport played between two teams of nine players each, taking turns batting and fielding. The game occurs over the course of several plays, with each play generally beginning when a player on the fielding t ...
* Blue jeans * Camp meeting *
Cowboy A cowboy is an animal herder who tends cattle on ranches in North America, traditionally on horseback, and often performs a multitude of other ranch-related tasks. The historic American cowboy of the late 19th century arose from the ''vaquero ...
*
Flag of the United States The national flag of the United States of America, often referred to as the ''American flag'' or the ''U.S. flag'', consists of thirteen equal horizontal stripes of red (top and bottom) alternating with white, with a blue rectangle in the ...
*
Fourth of July Independence Day (colloquially the Fourth of July) is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the Declaration of Independence, which was ratified by the Second Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, establishing the United States ...
* Mount Rushmore * Route 66 * Small town *
Statue of Liberty The Statue of Liberty (''Liberty Enlightening the World''; French: ''La Liberté éclairant le monde'') is a colossal neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbor in New York City, in the United States. The copper statue, ...
* Tent revival *
Thanksgiving Thanksgiving is a national holiday celebrated on various dates in the United States, Canada, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Liberia, and unofficially in countries like Brazil and Philippines. It is also observed in the Netherlander town of Leiden an ...
* White picket fence *
Wild West The American frontier, also known as the Old West or the Wild West, encompasses the geography, history, folklore, and culture associated with the forward wave of American expansion in mainland North America that began with European colonial ...


Food

* Apple pie *
Barbecue Barbecue or barbeque (informally BBQ in the UK, US, and Canada, barbie in Australia and braai in South Africa) is a term used with significant regional and national variations to describe various cooking methods that use live fire and smoke ...
* Bubble gum * Buffalo wing *
Hamburger A hamburger, or simply burger, is a food consisting of fillings—usually a patty of ground meat, typically beef—placed inside a sliced bun or bread roll. Hamburgers are often served with cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, bacon, or ...
*
Hot dog A hot dog (uncommonly spelled hotdog) is a food consisting of a grilled or steamed sausage served in the slit of a partially sliced bun. The term hot dog can refer to the sausage itself. The sausage used is a wiener ( Vienna sausage) or a f ...
*
Fried chicken Fried chicken, also known as Southern fried chicken, is a dish consisting of chicken pieces that have been coated with seasoned flour or batter and pan-fried, deep fried, pressure fried, or air fried. The breading adds a crisp coating o ...
* Milkshake *
Pizza Pizza (, ) is a dish of Italian origin consisting of a usually round, flat base of leavened wheat-based dough topped with tomatoes, cheese, and often various other ingredients (such as various types of sausage, anchovies, mushrooms, on ...


Music

*
Blues Blues is a music genre and musical form which originated in the Deep South of the United States around the 1860s. Blues incorporated spirituals, work songs, field hollers, shouts, chants, and rhymed simple narrative ballads from the Afric ...
*
Country A country is a distinct part of the world, such as a state, nation, or other political entity. It may be a sovereign state or make up one part of a larger state. For example, the country of Japan is an independent, sovereign state, whil ...
*
Jazz Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American communities of New Orleans, Louisiana in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with its roots in blues and ragtime. Since the 1920s Jazz Age, it has been recognized as a major ...
*
Rock and roll Rock and roll (often written as rock & roll, rock 'n' roll, or rock 'n roll) is a genre of popular music that evolved in the United States during the late 1940s and early 1950s. It originated from African-American music such as jazz, rhythm ...
* " The Star-Spangled Banner"


Brand names

* Budweiser *
Chevrolet Chevrolet ( ), colloquially referred to as Chevy and formally the Chevrolet Motor Division of General Motors Company, is an American automobile division of the American manufacturer General Motors (GM). Louis Chevrolet (1878–1941) and ou ...
*
Coca-Cola Coca-Cola, or Coke, is a carbonated soft drink manufactured by the Coca-Cola Company. Originally marketed as a temperance drink and intended as a patent medicine, it was invented in the late 19th century by John Stith Pemberton in Atlan ...
* Ford *
Harley-Davidson Harley-Davidson, Inc. (H-D, or simply Harley) is an American motorcycle manufacturer headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States. Founded in 1903, it is one of two major American motorcycle manufacturers to survive the Great Depress ...
*
Jack Daniel's Jack Daniel's is a brand of Tennessee whiskey. It is produced in Lynchburg, Tennessee, by the Jack Daniel Distillery, which has been owned by the Brown–Forman Corporation since 1956. Packaged in square bottles, Jack Daniel's "Black Label" T ...
*
Jim Beam Jim Beam is an American brand of bourbon whiskey produced in Clermont, Kentucky, by Beam Suntory. It is one of the best-selling brands of bourbon in the world. Since 1795 (interrupted by Prohibition in the United States, Prohibition), seven gene ...
* Levi's blue jeans, especially Levi's 501s * Marlboro * Nike


See also

* History of immigration to the United States * Culture of the United States *
Folklore of the United States American folklore encompasses the folklores that have evolved in the present-day United States since Europeans arrived in the 16th century. While it contains much in the way of Native American tradition, it is not wholly identical to the tribal ...
*
History of the United States The history of the lands that became the United States began with the arrival of the first people in the Americas around 15,000 BC. Numerous indigenous cultures formed, and many saw transformations in the 16th century away from more densely ...
*
American studies American studies or American civilization is an interdisciplinary field of scholarship that examines American literature, history, society, and culture. It traditionally incorporates literary criticism, historiography and critical theory. Sch ...
*
Transcendentalism Transcendentalism is a philosophical movement that developed in the late 1820s and 1830s in New England. "Transcendentalism is an American literary, political, and philosophical movement of the early nineteenth century, centered around Ralph Wald ...
*
Romanticism Romanticism (also known as the Romantic movement or Romantic era) was an artistic, literary, musical, and intellectual movement that originated in Europe towards the end of the 18th century, and in most areas was at its peak in the approximate ...
* Black Americana


Similar concepts

*
Australiana Australiana includes the items, people, places, flora, fauna and events of Australian origins. Anything pertaining to Australian culture, society, geography and ecology can fall under the term Australiana, especially if it is endemic to Austra ...
, for cultural artifacts from
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands. With an area of , Australia is the largest country b ...
*
Canadiana Canadiana is a term used to describe things (e.g., books, historical documents, and artifacts), ideas, or activities that concern or are distinctive of Canada, its people, and/or its culture, especially works of literature and other cultural pro ...
, for cultural artifacts from
Canada Canada is a country in North America. Its ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering over , making it the world's second-largest country by tot ...
* Communist nostalgia, a similar concept in former or currently communist countries * Floridiana, artifacts relating to the state of
Florida Florida is a state located in the Southeastern region of the United States. Florida is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the northwest by Alabama, to the north by Georgia, to the east by the Bahamas and Atlantic Ocean, and to ...
. * Hawaiiana, Native Hawaiian cultural artifacts from the U.S. state of
Hawaii Hawaii ( ; haw, Hawaii or ) is a state in the Western United States, located in the Pacific Ocean about from the U.S. mainland. It is the only U.S. state outside North America, the only state that is an archipelago, and the only s ...
. *
Kiwiana Kiwiana are certain items and icons from New Zealand's heritage, especially from around the middle of the 20th century, that are seen as representing iconic New Zealand elements. These "quirky things that contribute to a sense of nationhood" in ...
, for cultural artifacts from
New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ) is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It consists of two main landmasses—the North Island () and the South Island ()—and over 700 smaller islands. It is the sixth-largest island countr ...
* Ostalgie, a similar concept in
East Germany East Germany, officially the German Democratic Republic (GDR; german: Deutsche Demokratische Republik, , DDR, ), was a country that existed from its creation on 7 October 1949 until German reunification, its dissolution on 3 October 1990. In t ...
* PRL nostalgia, a similar concept in
Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 administrative provinces called voivodeships, covering an area of . Poland has a population of over 38 million and is the fifth-most populou ...
* Rhodesiana, a similar concept in
Zimbabwe Zimbabwe (), officially the Republic of Zimbabwe, is a landlocked country located in Southeast Africa, between the Zambezi and Limpopo Rivers, bordered by South Africa to the south, Botswana to the south-west, Zambia to the north, and M ...
relating to items made in its colonial (
Rhodesia Rhodesia (, ), officially from 1970 the Republic of Rhodesia, was an unrecognised state in Southern Africa from 1965 to 1979, equivalent in territory to modern Zimbabwe. Rhodesia was the ''de facto'' Succession of states, successor state to th ...
) era * Soviet nostalgia, a similar concept in the former
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a List of former transcontinental countries#Since 1700, transcontinental country that spanned much of Eurasia from 1922 to 1991. A flagship communist state, ...
* Yugo-nostalgia, a similar concept in the former Yugoslav states


References


External links


Merriam-Webster definition of "Americana"
{{United States topics Nostalgia in the United States