Photograph courtesy of Security Pacific National Bank Collection, Los Angeles Public Library

Photograph courtesy of Security Pacific National Bank Collection, Los Angeles Public Library

The softly glowing dial of a radio receiver illuminated nearly every middle-class living room in 1920s Los Angeles. Crooners and dance bands came over the airwaves. So did exercise routines and household hints. Recorded concerts played on weekday evenings. Sunday mornings were set aside for local pastors whose sermons were a little dull, like the ones that listeners had heard “back home.”

“Back home” was still very real for the majority of Angeleños. Nearly half a million new residents had arrived in the decade of the 1920s, almost doubling the city’s population. It had already doubled in the previous decade. Many of the newcomers were the chronically ill or retirees from the Midwest cashing in on the prosperity that the post-World War I boom had brought them. These new Angeleños would be described later, somewhat unfairly, as lonely and troubled. A better description would have been unsettled. More