A hand-made prom dress
1960s Prom Dress
Although prom night has become a major rite of passage for American teenagers, proms did not become universally popular until the 1930s. In the 19th century, high school was primarily a privilege of the middle and upper classes, but in the early 20th century, more and more working class families began sending their children to high school in hopes of giving them a better life. School administrators saw school clubs and dances as one way to socialize working-class teenagers to white middle-class values. High school attendance increased dramatically during the Depression as high unemployment left few jobs open to teenagers. This prom dress was hand-made by Marti Hall in 1966 for her prom at Madison's West High.