For some reason, I’ve been feeling a lot of '90s nostalgia lately. The music, the movies, the fashion ... for me it was the decade of youthful freedom, so it is no wonder I would look back with longing. Luckily for me I have NYPL’s catalog at my disposal, which provides a huge amount of '90s books, movies, music, and resources to help me relive my glory years.
For the sake of this post, I’ve chosen the year 1991, exactly 20 years ago and a particularly fond year in my memory. The following list that I have compiled is by no means comprehensive, rather it reflects some of the highlights of the year and items that the Library owns. What would you like to add to the list? What were your favorite books? Movies? Bands? Fashions? Need help jogging your memory? Here’s a little background:
Back in 1991, the 1989 recession officially ended, but layoffs, bankruptcies, and dismal economic forecasts were still the norm. The three big automakers, Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors, lost $5 billion that year. GM alone announced the closing of more than 20 plants. One of the top issues leading up to the following year’s election was the $4 trillion deficit. (Sound familiar?) This was also the year that we saw the Soviet Union dissolve, a bloody conflict in what was then Yugoslavia begin, and the end of the Gulf War. Gas prices were spiking but were still at their lowest since 1947, pretax and adjusting for inflation, even with recent increases in state and federal taxes. That year in prices, the postage stamp went from $0.25 to $0.29. Bread was a mere $0.73 per pound, milk $1.39 per 1/2 gallon, sugar $0.44 per pound, and butter $1.94. A VCR could set you back $399 and a digital pager cost $7.95/month.
To find out what people were listening to in 1991, check out Grammy Winners and Billboard chart archives (to choose another date, use the calendar feature). Here are some of the winners and top sellers:
To see what movies were popular in 1991, check out the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) and Box Office Mojo for the top grossing films of the year. Here are some that the Library has:
See what was big in television that year from Time Magazine best of 1991 Television. Also check out the Nielsen television ratings. Here are some of the top shows for the '91-'92 season:
Check out the year's best selling novels (as ranked by Bowker's Annual/Publisher's Weekly):
Another place to look for what books were notable that year is in the New York Times (pdf).
New York Times Recommendations:
Award Winning children's books:
Fashion and Style
Check out what people were wearing back in 1991 by reading Fashions of a Decade: The 1990s and by exploring the Berg Fashion Library using the "Explore by Time" feature. Also check out magazine issues from 1991, like Cosmopolitan, Elle, Vogue, and Seventeen.
Find out how people were decorating their homes by checking out books on interior decoration from 1991.